Content provided by Todays Hip Hop
by Jack Carenza for TodaysHipHop.com
There’s never been confusion as to the honesty of Brooklyn’s Kota the Friend, even when it comes in the form of swagger. On pristine new single ’96 Bulls, he claims in a potent final verse, (“I’m a unicorn in my industry”). This line reverberates with indisputable truth as Kota approaches the rap game with distinctive artistic humility, and allegorical commercial independence. The mythology of Kota grows each time he distances himself from the historically discriminatory and greedy clutches of record labels, each time his lyrics plainly edge a listener toward the crusade for simplicity, clarity, and inner peace. With Kota the Friend at the helm, internal serenity feels achievable. And what’s more is he provides palpable, relatable solutions for our everyday struggles: love and loyalty to family, finding peace through nature and personal space, self-reflection, embracing and subsequently discarding flaws.
“I think I often write things that I need to hear. Sometimes when I write I’m trying to manifest things into my life. I think it just comes out that way sometimes and sometimes it’s intentional.”
In the face of adversity, and injurious external forces, Kota has displayed remarkable maturity and poise, almost as if he has heeded the advice of his own music. Rather than display hate, or self-destruct, he has turned to his love for creation, his love for his son, his earnest mission to build a simple, safe, and comfortable life, to accumulate generational wealth. Self-control has only bolstered Kota’s shine and has provided a clear path for one of hip-hop’s most promising, endearing stars to create with trademark clarity, candor, and love. We had a chance to catch up with Kota to discuss his dynamic plans for 2021 and beyond:
What are you listening to lately? Any favorite record/album of 2021 to date?
The Vince Staples record is my favorite of 2021. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of soulful covers. I recently discovered a Sade and Neptune’s mash up of ‘By your Side’ and I can listen to it all day. Anything soulful and calm that makes me feel good.
Describe your writing process – do you generally write to a beat, or write lyrics and apply them to a beat where they fit?
I usually need to hear a beat that resonates with me in the moment. A lot of times I will revisit a beat that I Initially didn’t like and suddenly be inspired to write. Sometimes I just have a sample and a drum track and that’s enough for me to write an entire song. I’m heavily inspired by the music.