This Month's Musical Artist in the Streetlight is Kosha Dillz. Kosha and I go back to the beginning of this century when he would dominate the freestyle circles in my dirty basement on Somerset St. at Rutgers University. 10 years later my dude is still freestyling, but no big deal, now he’s got Grammy award winning Macklemore beat-boxing for him. When you have skills like Dillz, you eventually blow up. It’s plain and simple. Well, actually it's not that simple at all. You actually can't blow up with just skills...you either need lightning bolt luck, or you need to work nonstop for years and never stop loving and believing in your own art. Enter Kosha:
In Kosha Dillz (aka Rami to us New Brunswick kids back then), we all can find the true meaning of artist success on an Independent level. I believe it was 2002 when Kosha left Rutgers and was on his way to Vegas/LA to realize his dreams of becoming a hip hop star. He had just won a serious freestyle competition against some quality talent in NB. Being one of two white kids in the battle, and surely the only Jewish white kid, Kosha wowed the crowd and embarrassed the competition with his wit and lyrical genius. So talent was never the question, the man had talent. But we all know it is not enough to have talent, it is what you do with the talent that really matters, and this is where Kosha worked his way to in his latest Vlog with Macklemore:
So before Kosha left, he basically told me he was "going to go make it happen". Back then I wished him well, but didn't know that he would turn into a possessed touring maniac who I witnessed travel to every corner of the globe and turn over every stone in order to keep on working at the craft he loved. He is a freestyle rapper, and that is what he was going to do no matter what anyone told him. In the past 14 years I am sure he has had his ups and downs, but Kosha never quit. Even with me personally, he would hit me up every once in a while to see if I had any movies that there might be some collaboration possibilities. It hasn't happened yet, but this is just one of the avenues he was constantly exploring over the last ten years to get his work out there and to keep himself rapping and living in his own freestyle manner. I could always tell how excited he was about his work and about getting it out there, so much so that I am even in the early stages of developing an animated piece that probably will have a spot for Kosha. Here is Kosha's newest music Video Release, which IndieStreet is digging on hard.
Passion is not only admirable, it's contagious. If you glow when you do what you love, live and breath it, and keep pounding the street, then there WILL be others that will get behind you. In Kosha's case he has toured with Matisyahu and many other stars on his crazy journey toward Independent success, so I had to ask a few questions about how he did it:
JWEbb: As an independent rapper that has been doin it for over a decade, how have you been most successful in branding yourself and keeping true to what it is you do as an artist?
Kosha: I just think about continuously working hard and creating opportunity and staying true to my desire. I enjoy working and providing new experience for myself, so I am always trying to rap wherever I can. A blessing and curse at the same time. JWebb: After all of your globe trotting, what was your most memorable place to play and do you have any quick stories that stick out from the rest? Kosha: Well last night I slept in a car for the first time in...Paris. I recall the first time I slept in a car in Boise Idaho in 2008, and forgot to sleep with car on and heat. I woke up quite quickly..and freezing. JWebb: We noticed you have recently started you Vlog web series. What have you learned over the years about growing your audience and connecting with your fans through new forms of media. Kosha: I didn't realize that sometime sharing your passion for things no matter how small can really create a great opp for you. I was discovered on a vlog with nearly 500,000 hits now (Roman Atwood) and that drove me to do my 30 day 30 vlog challenge. I only did 20 but I have learned a lot. JWebb: What do you say to the people who think you are a more skilled freestyle artist than Eminem? Kosha: I appreciate the comment. I want to let you all know that having more skill doesn't mean anything. I guarantee some of the best filmmakers are horrible editors. Some of the best editors are so good they might not ever finish a project because it's not perfect. JWebb: Looking to open for or tour with Macklemore in the future? What is next for Kosha Dillz? Kosha: I think it'd be great to open for him in the future. I also think creating more content is key and that good content will be discovered. JWebb: Any final words of advice to other Indie artists who are hitting the streets to get their work out there? I would say you should go light on the drugs/drinking. Never stop learning and never stop listening. Give yourself a chance before you quit. Whenever I started to count myself out in the last hour, I pushed a little harder and something amazing happens which completely changes the game :) On Indie Street we are proud to present these two new videos from Kosha Dillz, his newest rap video "What's going on upstairs?" and his most recent vlog which includes the Maclemore freestyle session. Kosha's style is a bit quirky and he may never be completely main stream, but aren't most Independent artists that are true to themselves a bit too unique or weird for mass media? Kosha knew from day one that his style touched certain people, and he never looked back. The idea of our new world is you can stick to your guns and create exactly what you want to. Todays access and technology combined with an unforgiving will to succeed, an artist can find a large enough niche audience to make enough $ to keep them doing what they love. And if that is not what you are in it for, than you are not an artist anyway. In short if you are a filmmaker, musician, designer, or painter, with some serious pavement hitting you, like Kosha, can make it happen. Follow Kosha on Facebook or his Vlog on his youtube channel...