Written by Calvin Schneider
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Kota’s team, stating that there was a new project Kota was working on that was dropping soon. Having recently met the young rapper, I knew I had to hear whatever he had in the works. Kota caught my eye a few years back when he was doing his series Lyrics to go. The jazzy beats and his prolific bars combined with his consistency has made him a force to be reckoned with in hip hop. Now at age 26, Kota has been rapidly growing and now boasts a calm 2 million monthly listeners on his Spotify account. After dropping his debut studio album FOTO this time last year, Kota is back for more. EVERYTHING is out now, featuring artists KYLE, tobi lou, Joey Badass, Braxton Cook, and more! Read below what Kota had to say about the album, being a father, and quarantine life, and be sure to stream the album available now on all streaming platforms.
Whats your daily routine like?
quarantine is never that big a deal to me because I spend a lot of time by myself anyway, making music or just chillen. But now I think the toughest part about it is finding a way to spend time with my son with everything going on. Keeping him safe and keeping him entertained, cuz he’s three years old so you constantly have to be creating to ways to have fun. Other than than just finalizing the project and waiting on a couple features
How’s your son? You guys are very cute you seem like a great dad
Being a father is great, I prioritize it above everything else in my life. Everyday I’m learning new things about him, and he’s becoming a whole little boy, ya know? And It’s just beautiful. A couple of days ago when I was putting him to bed he was like “ Dad, you’re my best friend” and I was like *Hold heart to chest* “Thats Crazy”. And Its cool that someone loves you so much that they will constantly pour out their soul to you because that’s how they feel ya know?
How did the collaboration with Lakeith Stanfield come about and can you tell me about his role?
He’s someone that, ever since I saw him on the screen, I think the first thing I ever saw him on was Atlanta, he always seemed like a person with profound Ideas ya know? And a really individualistic person. So I got him on it, I don’t want to say in what capacity [The album is out now] but he’s doing his thing. He’s really giving what he gives to the world and to the acting world, he’s put the same thing on to my album.
Have you been compared to any Chicago artists? Do you draw influence from artists like Saba or Kweku Collins?
I think that it’s something that mashed up. Not necessarily that I was drawing from that, I think I still draw from a lot of New York sounds. But when I discovered Saba I remember being drawn to it and saying “yo this is dope” you know what I mean? I think I relate to what they’re doing because its so musical ya know? Before I discovered Saba the only Chicago artists that I would listen to from time to time was Chance [The Rapper]. And I just came across Saba’s music when I was making Foto and that’s why I got him on the album. but as I learn more about what was going on, cuz I never listen to anything ya know? I never listen to music that wasn’t my own or like old music. Diving in to new music I then found out about Saba and Noname and other people. And now the artists coming out of Chicago, the fact they’re really helping each other out and putting each other on i think that makes room to create more buzz, that’s why i think their sound has gotten so big and it reached so far that it got to me.
How do you think New York has shaped your sound?
I really can’t thank new york enough for the sound that I have. My favorite artist growing up was Jay Z, he’s still my favorite artist. Even dropping 444 i still marvel over that album, because he pretty much created an album after all the greatness that he’s created over the years, he then makes 444 and now its one of my favorite albums period. And the fact that he can still do that after so long really inspires me. He grew up 10 blocks away from where I grew up. But its not just him I used to binge on Nas, Biggie, Fab. Listening to New York radio in the 2000s, it always inspired us. We were always watching 106 & Park and BET and back then, New york was taking the game, so I think its just in me ya know? The musicality, the flows, the accent, everything is just in me. I owe my whole career to growing up in NYC and being apart of the culture here.
Who’s someone you worked with on this album that you were really excited about?
Everybody on this album is new, i’ve never worked with them. Other than one person, Hello Oshay, he’s one of my best friends from junior high school. We worked on previous projects together, and he’s on this one because I want him on every single thing that I do cause he’s dope. I’m hype about the Tobi Lou feature, he’s one of my favorites and he’s from Chicago too, I connect with the fact that they’re doing what they want, for me that makes me happy. They’re doing what they want and not just what’s on the radio. I think that’s how we connect, whoever’s doing what they want, I appreciate it.
Then I got Joey and Bas on the project and those are two dope New York artists that have been doing their thing for some years. To me, they still need to get more light shined on them, especially Bas who’s from queens, but nobody really knows he’s from queens. I feel like new york has to show him more love. I wanted to that track because, I know he’s saying what new york sounds like, I know you’re on hot 97 saying new york sounds like this and that, but this is what new york also sounds like so that’s what I wanted to get across with that track. I want to keep the rest of the project on the low, but we got some dope vocalists on it, Braxton Cook on saxophone, this girl named Alex that I met when I was in Chicago for a day and got her on some songs. We’re still waiting on a couple of features so I can’t really say much.