Spokane, WA raised emcee and songwriter Prince KoFi recently released “MaQuin Ain’t Eazy (produced by IDBeatz), a track inspired by Straight Outta Compton. He also works a 9-5 job at Complex Magazine in digital advertising sales. I wanted to know a little more about KoFi, his artistry and influences among other things.
I take from all that, everything I hear, see, and have done and put it into this art form.
How did “MaQuin Ain’t Eazy” come to be?
The song took me a while, I think I bought the beat a few months back, sometimes I love a record and then I get stuck like.. damn I don’t know what to do… Then I’ll leave it.. come back months later and find myself like “oh yeah this is exactly what it was meant to be”. So I had that one, and with the sample I didn’t need to create much of a hook. I was watching this movie Man with the Iron Fists 2.. (that jawn that RZA helped direct). Anyway, there was a scene with this general or bad guy in a hot tub with like 4 girls chilling.. looked like he did it everyday; I started to think of some studio nights where I ended up around Jamie Foxx, Tank or people I used to look up to. I stopped the movie and started writing.. “Girls that I parlet with, thinking they on vacay twerkin very rarly but if they do they prolly naked” As the verse progresses I didn’t want to make it degrade women. So I followed like, you will never see it and I will never either cuz they do it in the mirror in their room smoking sativa… From there the creative juice was flowing and it just started to come to me and felt right.
Who would you cite as musical influences outside of Motown?
I grew up on a lot of Motown, being that my parents were older than me. My mother was born in the 1950’s. She is from Paducah, KY and grew up during the Jim Crow era. Her first job was being the help, working for 50 cents a day; cleaning up peoples houses, who didn’t even see her as an equal. She had to go through a lot and the music that they grew up on, was a way to escape the harsh reality. My father coming from Ghana (specifically Kumasi home of the Ashanti tribe), taught me how to play the talking drum, gave me the basis of music, where it all began.
Why has California been such a big inspiration for you artistically?
I vacationed to cali a few times growing up like once or twice, but I always said “When I finish college I’ll move there.” So I set a date, an bout 2 months later bought a one way ticket. I have a lot of friends out here too though, and I am an only child so I’ve always been outspoken or quick to make friends. I got people from every city, every hood, and every block… from the IE to the Valley.. .from Bompton to Compton to Watts and back. They all influence me; they are all apart of my family. I learn from them, soak up their stories, and we create memories together. California and its culture is infectious, it’ll change you and grab you, there is no escaping it, the good and the bad.
Explain how your travels have influenced your music?
I love traveling man. I haven’t gotten as far as I want yet, but the people I have met from all over who are now in the US; as well as the people I have met overseas affect me. I love to soak up other cultures, learn about why people do things, what motivates them and understand them better. I always feel like I am apart of the world, not stuck to one group. I love to tie in musical elements from other countries; hopefully as I get my fan base up, and can work with bigger producers from all over, I can do this more. But the influence of the places I want to go also impact my music. My dream is that I can tour all over the world, meet people in different countries and talk to them about my music, their music, life, love, dreams, all that. That’s why I am teaching myself other languages so that I can get more out of life, the limits of your language are the limits of your world, if I can show people I want to know their culture they might want to get to know mine.
How would you describe your sound as an artist; do you feel that artists should be labeled into genres?
I hate genres. I don’t want to be labeled, which is why I will probably be Indie. They want to brand you make you a cereal box, something people know the taste of before they bite. I want to create rock music, neo soul, jazz, gospel, rap, hip hop, R&B, all that. I just can’t help but find a true love in almost every form of music. My sound when it comes to tracks like MaQuin, I would call quick, memorable, energetic, inspiring, and innovative. If someone listened to the 3 tracks on my Soundcloud right now, they might think its 3 diff artists if they had their eyes closed. I am still refining my sound, but I hope to find a place where I can perfect the base of my inspiration and evolve as an artist. I continue to hone my skill set and find new ways to play with my sound and really turn that bitch out, turn it into a monster that cannot be denied.
Describe how you garnished an interest in songwriting?
I actually started out writing poetry. I always wrote stuff communication, words, writing always came easy. I mean in 5th grade, I used to write love poems for the homies if they had a crush.. I would be like “brah gimmie 5 bucks and tell me 4 things about her. I’ll have you a note that’ll make her fall in love”. Ha, thinking back it was just fun to me, I wrote people’s papers for money in college. So anyway, back when I was young I wrote poetry, and at 13 in my poetry book. It was corny like my name Big D, and I’d like to say type thing, but after that I kept practicing, finding ways to blend the poetry with my life, experiences, and what I see. I never could freestlye but practiced, I’m not battle rapper, but I can defitely kill any cypher. Its just been a way to express myself and help tell stories for my friends who can’t explain themselves as well.
Has working for Complex influenced your songwriting and music production? Why or why not?
Working for Compelx has been cool. Over the past few months here, I have been able to expand my network and make some good connections. It hasn’t changed it as much but I am a believer in the fact that everything you do or are around affects you. It is hard working a 9-5 when I just wanna work on music all day; but I can be in a place where music is somewhat around and talked about. If anything it helps me refine my strategy. These days, magazine editors are like gate keepers. They hold the key or the finger that can press share, that will really change an artist’s life. So I am just taking notes, playing fly on the wall, hoping these experiences will help me as I continue to find myself as an artist and person.
What would be some advice for aspiring rappers, emcees, musicians or writers?
First, I would say tune out the world, social media, an whatever is popular, forget Drake, Young Thug, Kanye, everyone. I mean it’s great to get inspired, but don’t get caught up in what you hear and see too much. Listen to your heart, and let out what comes, who cares if it’s perfect. It’s important if it’s true, genuine and makes you feel good and if you like it. This music thing is a universal language, practice it, perfect it, learn about it, research old forms of music and Hip-hop. Just keep showing people and finding ways to share it if you believe in it. The people you know won’t support you till the world does, so don’t let that stifle you. Just keep pushing, and keep creating in whatever medium that may be.
What is the project that is currently in entitled and when will it be released?
At the moment I am not working on a project, but a few singles and visuals that I will be using to grab people. As my fan base grows, when I reach a point where I feel that people are begging for my music, and want more, then The KoFi Experience, will come to fruition.
What can listeners and fans expect from Prince KoFi in the future?
Expect to never be bored, I will give you songs that make you dance, laugh, cry, think, and reminisce. Records to turn up to, chill to, smoke to, sleep to, make love to, and think to. I want to better myself and be someone that my fans can learn from, and learn with, I am a very humble man. An artist looking to make a dream come true, so that I can spread a message of love; while making you wonder why you didn’t hear about me before.