words by Isaac Javier
The influx and rise of alternative hip-hop certainly placed the genre in the most complex and diverse state it’s ever been. Now we’ve got hip-hop artists mixing in external influences and referencing different genres, ushering a new era of an evolving hip-hop sound. And this definitely leaves us wondering, what is even hip-hop anymore? We’ve got singers with rap beats, rappers rapping over RnB beats, gospel music infused with synthesisers, and trumpets as modern hip hop – a testimony to how far the genre has evolved. All the while, this helped expand the reach of the genre and introduced it to more people as the diversity and its medley of influences made it accessible to everyone – there is a piece of the hip-hop cake for everyone.
Columbus Ohio’s Kofee Atah is part of the new wave hip-hop artists who refuses to pigeonhole themselves to the sole genre. With a mix of neo-soul and a little bit of hip-hop, Kofee makes art for people to resonate with, appreciate, and feel. Versatile and innovative musicians like Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, and Chldish Gambino are some of the influences that can evidently be heard in his music. The nature of these established artists also appropriately echoes what he stands for and why he makes music. “I wanna change people’s perception of hip hop. It’s not just girls, guns, drugs and sex. There’s so much more than that, hip hop is beautiful and I wanna help more people come to see that.”. With this heavy and refreshing ethos as a hip-hop artist, a lot of his content are refreshing and relatable which makes it addictively engaging to the modern adolescent “Right now I’m in a really rough patch with girls. I guess the only good thing I get from not getting girls is the ability to write a dope song about not getting girls haha”. His song Russian skilfully and humorously expresses his difficulty with communicating with girls – a conundrum that lot of us males can resonate with. The track also showcases his outre vocals that perfectly reflects the insecurity and confusion that the track effectively portrays.
With such a refined track under his belt, it’s hard to comprehend that Kofee has only been making music for a year now. What inspired him to initially start was hearing Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. “Channel Orange really inspired me to start making music. His lyrics and voice comforted me when no one else really could, so I wanted to make something that could have the same effect on people.”.
When asked about what’s next, “I’m gonna be dropping a lot of singles soon, so look out for that, and I’m gonna be dropping a group project with my friends and band mates this spring called “The Forrest”. Right now, he’s just having fun with his music and his newfound form of expression.
special thanks to: Kofee Atah