KOTA The Friend Is Directing A New Blueprint For Brooklyn Hip-Hop (Video)
KOTA The Friend is a young MC who shares the same native borough as Brooklynites Mos Def, Skyzoo and Joey Bada$$. He’s branded himself as an internet savvy, forward-thinking creator with an obvious appreciation for steps made before him; his multi-framed Instagram post for Hip-Hop’s 45th birthday—in which he documented his own musical journey of self-reflection—is a hearty example of how the blossoming talent has grown exponentially by looking forwards and back. Citing Jimi Hendrix and Nas as inspirations, he’s been releasing robust, exploratory works like 2016’s Palm Tree Liquor (featuring Blu) and last year’s Paloma Beach.
For 2018’s Anything., a 10-track release featuring Sylvan LaCue, Childish Major, Chelsea Reject and others, KOTA implemented some of his budding brand’s keystone components: airy (but not weightless) production with lots of guitar, laid-back flow and inward-looking lyrics. These qualities have earned him the honorable distinction of being compared to A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets and PhonyPPL. “MYRTLE” is the half-way point between the EP’s beginning and end, a fitting placement for a song ostensibly titled after a main traffic artery and subway stop in his neighborhood stomping grounds (and a street famously shouted out in Mos Def’s “Mathematics”). The track explores the balance between BK-planted seeds and dreams of moving on, with lines like “I ain’t sh*t I’m just a dude / Grew up blocks away from Biggie” and “I hope I live to see the fall of Babylon / Maybe then we’ll get our freedom after all.” In the video, neighborhood snapshots are coupled with another KOTA signature, lyrics captioned on film.
KOTA has vowed to release new content every week remaining in 2018. Just this week, he released a new song in the form of “Brooklyn Bodega,” another hometown anthem which he called a “piece of art to clear up some misunderstandings about where I’m from.” His creative well runs deep beyond music, too; he’s also an avid cinematographer, having worked with Blu and others on video projects. This month, he became a freshly minted podcast host, launching KWALITY KONTROL, a series in which he’ll critique the media. Plus, he’s headed to South Africa and Europe.
About Ready Or Not: “Ready Or Not” is Ambrosia For Heads’s platform for showcasing new videos and having you, the people, decide whether they are ready for primetime. Each week, AFH will showcase music from artists on the verge, looking for their seat at the table among Hip-Hop’s elite.