For two years, a hidden gem of an album has been sitting on SoundCloud called Aktive.
"I was amazed by some of the response," Worthy says. "I'd be over at Kendrick's studio and Jay Rock would come in and be like, 'Ooh that shit hard.' And I'd just be like, 'What the fuck, how you know about this shit?' That project alone lead me to work with all the producers I've ever wanted to work with and pretty much all the rappers I've ever wanted to work with." He adds, "Aktive directly lead me to work with Cardo, Alchemist, Thundercat, Dâm-Funk, Jake One, and all these other producers and rappers."
Despite the hardcore following, the album has never seen a wide release. Aktive was initially planned to come out under ASAP Yams' record label after he took the duo under his wing, but it ended up dropping on SoundCloud through Fool's Gold. Now, finally, they're re-releasing a deluxe version of the album with nine additional songs on all streaming services. As Worthy puts it, "I feel like we're releasing the album for the first time ever."
One of Aktive's new songs is a remix of "Hop Out" featuring Curren$y, which came about when the duo discovered he was a fan of the original release. "He found the album on his own just recently," Worthy says. "I'd say like six months ago. That's all he was listening to. He was riding in his lowriders and that's all he'd be pumping." Along with the re-release of the deluxe edition of Aktive today, LNDN DRGS have unveiled a video for the "Hop Out" remix directed by DexStr8Dope.
Watch the new video below, find the deluxe edition of Aktive on all streaming platforms here (or at the bottom of the page), and continue for our full interview with LNDN DRGS.
One of the first songs you guys put out was “The Time Is Now,” and I know ASAP Yams became a big supporter around then. What role did he play for you guys?
Jay Worthy: I had met Yams previously before "The Time Is Now," but I don't think we had spoken for like a year. We put that out and he just hit me on Twitter. From there, he just tapped in and we became homies. I flew out to New York to go link up with him and spend a week with him and P On The Boards in the studio. Me and Sean were working on LNDN DRGS records. We hadn't even formed a name yet, but that's how early we were working on it. Yams really fucked with the sound. He just helped. I would always go to him for advice. We'd finish a song, send it in to him, and be like, "What do you think of this?" We were working with him really early on.
Aktive was originally supposed to release on Yams' label, right?
Worthy: More or less, yeah. He had kind of finished Yamborghini Records, but he was about to revamp something else and he had something going on at Sony. It's crazy because I've still got the messages from him on my Twitter about the whole situation and what he was going to do with us and Earl and Perico. It was a whole thing that was about to happen.
Who did you end up releasing it through instead?
Worthy: We kind of just put it out on SoundCloud for free and Fool's Gold got behind the project. I guess you can say it was a Fool's Gold release, but it just lived on SoundCloud. They got behind it and sponsored it and helped push it. That's why we're re-issuing this, though. It's never been on any streaming services or iTunes or anything. So for the first time, I feel like a lot of people will hear the album.
Sean House: Yeah, we'll probably find a brand new audience that hasn't even listened to it before. I don't know, it's hard to find things on SoundCloud sometimes. Especially when it's only on SoundCloud.
It's the two year anniversary of the album's original release. Why did now feel like the right time to do this deluxe release?
House: We've been talking about it for a while, but we had other projects lined up that we wanted to put out first. And right now we thought was a good time in between other stuff to get it out there finally.
Worthy: To me, the album always should have come out in the summertime, too. I feel like it's a real summertime album. Now we're right in time for the summer. Our knowledge of the game is much better now than it was then, too. That was our first release ever—just teaming up with a label and just really understanding how this shit works.
We've also been putting out a lot of collaborative EPs and I kind of wanted to put something out that's just us. We've still got a lot of collaborative EPs coming, but we thought we'd set the year off right now in the summertime with a LNDN DRGS project. Hit them with that, then follow up with other LNDN DRGS collab EPs. I feel like this is a great way to introduce it to people who might not know who LNDN DRGS is. Maybe they only know who Jay Worthy is, you know what I'm saying? I feel like we're releasing the album for the first time ever.
It's so crazy how far word of mouth and people sharing the album with each other has taken it.
This has nine new songs on it with a bunch of big features. Were these all leftovers from the original recordings? Or did you record these songs recently?
House: There are a couple songs that are older, but I'd say two thirds of them are new.
How’d you choose which new songs to put on this?
Worthy: For something like the "Hop Out" remix with Curren$y, it goes to show you people are still discovering Aktive, because he found the album on his own just recently. I'd say like six months ago. That's all he was listening to. He was riding in his lowriders and that's all he'd be pumping. The reason we had the idea to do the remix with him was because he loved that project. We also have an EP with him.
Because we're working on so many EPs and we're working with so many different people, we've got all these records all over the place. So we listened to the feel of the project and certain records just felt like they belonged on there. Like the Freddie Gibbs song just had the right feel.
I like the song with Cousin Stizz, too. How’d you connect with him?
Worthy: Yeah, this is another crazy thing. Cousin Stizz had hit me up awhile ago and was like, "Yo, you've got a wave out here in Boston and I fuck with you tough." Larry June was on tour with him and he was like, "I was in Boston and all those fools know all the words to Aktive." Stizz was just another person who really liked the project, so it only seemed right to put him on it.
What was the reception to Aktive's initial release in 2016 like? Did it opened any doors for you guys?
House: Yeah, I think it's crazy how many big rappers have reached out to us about it. Our profile was so low when we put it out. All the friendships that Worthy's made through the music is crazy. You'd be surprised by how many people have been like, "Oh yeah, I know all that shit." We're like, "How do you even know this?" It's so crazy how far word of mouth and people sharing the album with each other has taken it. That's what I was more impressed with than the amount of plays or whatever: Who has listened to it versus how many people have listened to it. That lead to a lot of friendships for Worthy and gave him opportunities to work with a lot of producers who are like legends to us. It's been crazy.
Worthy: Aktive directly lead me to work with Cardo, Alchemist, Thundercat, Dâm-Funk, Jake One, and all these other producers and rappers. This is all 100% from that LP. So this project is really important for me and Sean. It's kind of what people know us for. I don't want to call it a classic because I can't say that about my own work, but a lot of people look at it like that. Like Sean said, I was amazed by some of the response. I'd be over at Kendrick's studio and Jay Rock would come in and be like, "Ooh that shit hard." And I'd just be like, "What the fuck, how you know about this shit?" But yeah, that project alone lead me to work with all the producers I've ever wanted to work with and pretty much all the rappers I've ever wanted to work with.
this project is really important for me and Sean. It's kind of what people know us for.
Jay, I saw you’ve also done lots of video and film stuff, too. How’d you get into that side of things?
Worthy: Yeah, the Welcome to Fairfax thing was my early start because my brother is into film. He knew I was affiliated heavily with all the streetwear brands and people out there. So my friend Gavin—YG's creative director—and I captured some stuff in a little docu-series that kind of got my feet wet.
Yams had hit me and said VICE needed me to bring them through all these hoods and stuff like that. So that's how NOISEY Bompton came about. I was really hands-on with VICE and was like, "This is what we should do. This is what the story should be. This is the homie." As time went on, Kendrick got involved with it because I was involved with it. From then on, I produced a few different things with VICE. I ended up working with A&E. I worked with HBO. So that was cool. It kind of came out of nowhere and became a cool little side hustle.
You mentioned Kendrick and Jay Rock. How'd you get connected with those guys?
Worthy: Well, Kendrick's from my neighborhood, so that's how that goes.
You guys mentioned you're working on more LNDN DRGS stuff after this Aktive re-release. Can you talk about that at all?
House: Yeah, we have a bunch of collaborative EPs that we're going to put out next. We've got one with Left Brain and some guys from Odd Future. We've got one with Curren$y. We've got one with Larry June. And we've got a bunch of other ones lined up, too.
Worthy: I'm also kind of working on a Jay Worthy solo album and trying to piece the best songs together. We also have a LNDN DRGS solo album. There's just so much fuckin' shit we've got. It's kind of crazy.
House: There's a lot of music. We've got to figure out exactly what we want to keep and what we want to use for which project.