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Organic As F***: Meet Kota The Friend

“I’m appreciating everything that’s happening … I appreciate this very moment.”–Kota The Friend [dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you haven’t yet heard of Kota…

“I’m appreciating everything that’s happening … I appreciate this very moment.”–Kota The Friend

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you haven’t yet heard of Kota The Friend, you can be forgiven. After all, his debut release Palm Tree Liquor is just over a year old; he’s the equivalent of discovering a new show right as the second season premiere. That second in this case is his new EP Paloma Beach, which has been heralded by all who have come across it. The rapper’s sound is jazzy and as New York, as it gets — without overtly mimicking the golden era — and he has this commanding, yet relaxed tone that makes his music a pleasure to digest.

As of late, he’s been picking up a ton of steam — culminating in a 2017 A3C mainstage performance on a bill that included Nas. A one-time cinematographer (having worked on videos for acts like Asher Roth and Blu), one of the most intriguing about him is his visual aura. “Every visual that you’ve ever seen was — conceptually — something that I cooked up,” Kota told AAHH. “Most of the time, I just prop up my camera, and I just record a lot of what you see … one hundred percent of that is me.”

The conceptual consistency is especially apparent in his Lyrics To Go series — beginning with episode 3 — which features him (often solo) staring directly at the camera, as it slowly closes in, while the lyrics are displayed along the bottom. In the episodes that feature others, they either remain unaware or also just stare hauntingly into the camera. It’s an insanely intimate visual treatment that is adding to his overall schtick. He’s an odd mixture of Chance The Rapper, Isaiah Rashad, and (regarding his overall peaceful likeability) Lil B; he’s easy to become a big fan of.

“I feel like it’s just the musical content and the lyrical content,” he says when asked what he thinks make him stand out. “I feel like I’m saying a lot of stuff that people aren’t saying … I’m just being really honest and digging deep into who I am. It’s just a reflecting style.” This is the mantra of his new project, which navigates themes rooted in mental health. “I’m reflecting on my life, and I’m trying to dig deeper than anybody has ever done, so that’s kind of what I’m going for. At the same time, I’m trying to bring back this jazzy feel to the music, well, to Hip-Hop [really]. I’m trying to bring a jazzy feel to the mainstream.”

Kota is independent — like really independent. Not “fake indie” a phenomenon that seems to be all the rage right now; but, that doesn’t mean he won’t entertain the idea of branching out to a major. “I’m willing to do whatever is best for my career right now — and for my team,” he says. “It’s never just my decision but we are trying to figure out what’s good for us right now and the indie route is allowing us to do a lot of things and have a lot of freedom. If a label came along with a deal and a good opportunity, though, we would take it.”

His most recent releases have been the trilogy of visuals for “Her,” which is a song that appeared on his debut. “I just decided to bring it back and give it some new life; I feel like there are a lot of songs on the old project that didn’t get a lot of love because I didn’t have a lot of popularity at the time. So, I’m trying to breathe new life into that project as well as like give shine to the new project.”

While he has aspirations of one day reigniting his video production work, he’s keeping to his frenzied pace of music — in fact, he was speaking to us from the studio while in Atlanta [for A3C].

Mostly, he’s keeping active — and his love of what he’s doing is shining through. “I’m enjoying the ride. I’m enjoying where I’m at right now, [because] I know in a couple of years it’s not going to be the same … it’s going to be a completely different situation cause the way that we’re grinding is insane. There are a lot of people that are waking up, and I’m just happy to be exactly where I’m at right now.”

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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Filip Filipi (@FilipFilipi) – ‘Nine Roses’ (Hosted By Gucci Mane)

Today Canadian rapper Filip Filipi drops his mixtape hosted by Gucci Mane titled, Nine Roses. The project coincides with the…

Today Canadian rapper Filip Filipi drops his mixtape hosted by Gucci Mane titled, Nine Roses. The project coincides with the unveiling of his elaborate plans to build a high tech basketball court in Akron, Ohio, the home of LeBron James. The futuristic backtop is dedicated to Filipi’s former manager Kiza, their shared heritage, love for music and basketball.

“I grew up on basketball culture, I’m obsessed with basketball. If you ask me, ‘Who was the 12th man on the Celtics in 2004?’ I can tell you – I love basketball trivia. So the court was inspired by my former manager who passed away two years ago at the age of 33. It was very important for me to do something with a humanitarian aspect of my music and we decided on the proceeds of the music, the merch and with some donations, we were going to make the most high tech basketball court. It has Wifi, it has eco-friendly paint, it has solar-powered benches that have wi-fi and everything you would want. But it has an important political message that speaks on the media manipulation using motifs of Serbian art that show the area where we are from. I can’t wait to get started on it. I don’t care if I get 10 billion streams or 10 million or 10 hundred. The fact that people would come play here and contribute to the court in any way – I’m proud. It’s something for the community.”

While Filip Filipi is still building his buzz, he has been working on the craft of Hip-Hop for over a decade and has had his music placed on major nationwide television shows after his Sizzerb mixtape garnered widespread attention.

“In middle school around 10th grade, me and my friend were freestyling in class and we started recording on his computer mic at his parents’ house when we were like 15,” Filip Filipi said. “Back then, my thing was basketball, by the time I got to college I played a little bit of ball, and then I began to focus on rap. People were saying I could spit, so a few months after I started, DJ Vlad hosted my tape, and it sold like 11k physical copies. For me it was a really big deal because I’m from a small town in Canada and people were buying it in New York.”

Following up with a few more mixtapes, Filip Filipi found commercial success with his single “Boom” on the show So You Think You Can Dance. Stepping away from his more conceptual 90’s style, Filip Filipi was estranged from the rap he knew and he felt his story was becoming distorted.

“When I was coming up the sound was Dipset and that soul sample style on the beat, and every beat had the set of samples. We used to sample old Balkan and Serbian samples and really kind of made that the trademark of our production. There was a time when I started to not like the direction that Hip-Hop was taking toward Techno and EDM. To this day I listen to Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Lauren Hill, Bob Marley, The Fugees and that’s my gold standard of Hip-Hop and music. Like all the tracks remixed with the Backstreet Boys and other boy bands, that’s not Hip-Hop to me.”

Choosing to step away to focus on humanitarian work, Filip Filipi, recalls going on a hiatus from music after he felt local artists were attacking Drake on a chat group.

“I just had to step away and focus on humanitarian work. I’m from Canada, and I turned away from rap music in Canada at the worst time. Toronto was a black hole for music for a time and then Drake hit. He had been coming up with his Degrassi following but he just blew up and at that point it wasn’t really cool to blend Degrassi and rap. At one point, I remember on MSN messenger when everyone was dissing Drake and they started picking on him like a cybergang for like 30 minutes. At that time, my home country was going through a really rough time, so I was already thinking about trying to use my music to do something there. I guess that convo was the straw, because it made me focus completely on the humanitarian stuff, the organization, UN, all that. So I just exited that MSN convo and then The Weeknd, Drake and a whole bunch of other rappers broke big a month later.”

Now back for more Filip Filipi is merging the worlds of basketball and Hip-Hop in memory of his former manager. He hopes music, art and basketball will come together on the court in Akron to provide refuge for other young kids, like they had for him.

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Cameron Airborne – “No Cuffing ” ft. Jackboy

Today South Florida artist Cameron Airborne, drops the music video for his song “No Cuffin” featuring buzzing rapper Jackboy. In the Andrew Colton directed music video,…

Today South Florida artist Cameron Airborne, drops the music video for his song “No Cuffin” featuring buzzing rapper Jackboy. In the Andrew Colton directed music video, listeners get a hazy and psychedelic visual to go along with Cameron Airborne‘s catchy Summer bop. 

“The beat was a collaborative track with K.E. on the Track. He laced up the beat and I got Jackboy on there for the hook too. It’s just real catchy, we shot the video for the track and it just a had kind of club or pop vibe to it. It’s definitely a Summer song and its very upbeat and kind of fast paced, it def keeps the head nodding.”

Combing elements of guitar and singing, Cameron Airborne has found a lane doing his own thing combining it all with rap after performing in a band early on in his career.

“I play guitar because I had played in a band before and I ended up rapping. It gave me stage experience and the drive to want to do my own thing.” Cameron Airborne explained.  “I branched out and started doing my own music and I always wrote my own poetry so transitioning to rapping was natural. I can make trap music, I can make pop catchy sounding music and I can make real lyrical stuff too.  When I put out a projects I try to put out a little something for everyone to take something away from the project.”

Although most of the world has been shut down over the past few months with COVID-19, Cameron Airborne remains busy producing instrumentals and gearing up for his own studio where he will be able to record artists there. 

“Im just on the independent grind, I’m opening up my own studio and that way I can make money, just recording and doing sessions,” Cameron Airborne explained.   “I’ve been producing my own instrumentals and so I have a lot of music lined up and some big features tucked away for the right time to present them.”

 

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Dallas Rapper Fat Yunginn Signs with Cash Money Records

Recently Dallas, Texas rapper Fat Yunginn and Cash Money Records are happy to announce the Pleasant Grove rapper’s signing to their iconic rap label. Pictured above with Birdman and Ronald “Slim” Williams, this young upstart…

Recently Dallas, Texas rapper Fat Yunginn and Cash Money Records are happy to announce the Pleasant Grove rapper’s signing to their iconic rap label. Pictured above with Birdman and Ronald Slim” Williams, this young upstart has officially inked a deal with one of the most iconic Hip-Hop/Rap labels in the history of music. 

First getting notoriety for his song “Sack Up” in 2016, Fat Yunginn says he always wanted to sign with Cash Money Records and that it’s a “perfect match.”

“I grew up off Cash Money, I grew up listening to them. I ain’t gonna lie I always wanted to be on Cash Money and I always wanted to sign with them. I don’t really go off what other people say or what they do and say about Cash Money. Birdman came up talking about he was the #1 Stunna and if you listen to my flow you can hear my ooh flow fits with this brand. Sack Season / Cash Money Records. It’s a perfect match.”

Raised in Dallas’ Pleasant Grove, Fat Yunginn drew inspiration from his father’s passing and from there began to take off on the strip club scene in Dallas. 

“I’m from Dallas Texas, from a hood out there called Pleasant Grove. I started doing music once my Pops passed away and I just took to music and it was just going up from there. Once I dropped Sack Up it went crazy in the strip clubs and so after that I started taking it more seriously. One night I went in the strip club and tipped a couple of females and this big DJ in Dallas named DJ Hit That began spinning it.  It took off from there and I did my first paid show off that song,” Fat Yunginn said.   “As far as Dallas and the surrounding areas I was able to perform Sack Up out there and I was able to build up my brand. We’re called Sack Season Ent, but we call ourselves Sack Babies. Anything that has to do with a sack of money we about that. Thats basically how they know me around here.”

Going forward Fat Younginn is preparing for the release of his next single called, “Show My Ass” featuring fellow Dallas rapper Yella Beezy.

“I got another song called Show My Ass thats another club banger with Yella Beezy and we gonna release that one through Cash Money. I got the visual for my next track, it’s just to get my sound out there a little more and my ooh flow. Its my ad lib you can hear in a lot of my songs. Then I have another with Rylo Rodriguez and another one with Euro Gotti. I got a lot of unreleased music I can’t wait for the fans to hear it,” he added.  “I can get in there and start from scratch, the ooo flow, I have fun in the studio. When I came up with the ooh flow I was just playing around people have just been gravitating towards it.”

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Gabby and Madi Re-Imagine Classic with “Swing My Way”

This week  Gabby and Madi serves up their rendition of K.P. and Envyi’s classic hit “Swing My Way”, with a…

This week  Gabby and Madi serves up their rendition of K.P. and Envyi’s classic hit “Swing My Way”, with a 2020 spin by producer justdoitBRISK. The teen duo have been blazing new trails with young audiences, delivering single after single in recent months. Check out their latest, “Swing My Way” here.

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