Introducing the 21-year-old rapper from North London who’s been picking up steam underground for his low, gravelly storytelling. Exisiting projects include an Amy Winehouse homage entitled ‘Amy Told Me’ and a decree to ‘All Hail’.
DISORDER: What are you working on right now?
KING KOFI: Well, I finished recording a new project not too long ago. Haven’t released any details about it just yet. I will say though that it’s different from anything I have released before, but at the same time it’s kind of familiar. We worked pretty hard on it, the art direction down to the production.
What people, places or things inspire you?
I’m mesmerised that I know people who can do things that would take me years or maybe even a lifetime to master. One of my best friends, Peter Judge-Fernandez, who was the art director for my upcoming project and has been for the last two, has been making dope artwork since we were five or six. Literally. I remember being in Year One and the teacher being like, “Everybody, look at what Peter has done.” It was this Mr Men collage. The teacher made a point about how the figures didn’t continue onto the other side of another figure if they happened to overlap each other but stayed in perspective. And as a six-year-old that already made me think about life in a complex way. That’s just one example. I can never grasp that people are so talented and are told that if they fail a maths exam or something they won’t be anything.
What is your ultimate ambition?
I don’t know. I can tell you what I’m trying to achieve in the near future, but that always changes. At the moment I’m just trying to make a living from my ideas. That’s music, film scripts, business ideas, design competitions – anything creative. I feel I have a lot of good ideas that can add value to people’s lives so I want to share them.
What got you started?
I don’t think it has anything to do with talent. I read somewhere about a study that looked into the factors that makes somebody a “genius”. It was initially decided that in order to be a genius you had to have an IQ of at least 125 (if I remember correctly). But it was later discovered that there were people who were classified as geniuses who actually didn’t have an IQ above 125. And it was all due to their personality traits. Like their tendency to not give up or how passionate they were about something. My point is that I seem to get to places by constantly throwing myself out there; I have this sort of weird self-belief thing – I don’t have to tell myself I’m gonna achieve my goals, I just feel like I will. Things tend to fall into place, sometimes even by accident. There’s no secret to success really. It’s an ambiguous result based on a variety of factors.
Who are your favourite fictional heroes?
Who other than Spider-Man? It’s a no-brainer really. He’s so cool. He slings gooey shit out of these machines that he built himself and then walks into his high school like nothing happened.
When do you feel most yourself?
When I’m alone and songwriting. All of my subconscious thoughts that I hadn’t realised were there appear on a blank page and I either think, “Wow, this is pretty amazing” or “Damn, what is this BS? This is terrible.” My words tend to come from a place of truth so it means I learn more about who I am with every song I write.
What do you like the least about yourself?
I don’t like criticism. I think this is because I know I am good at things. Especially if someone tells me I’ve improved. If I play someone one of my latest songs and they say, “Wow, you’ve really improved,” I don’t always take it as a compliment. Some of the best lyrics I’ve written were on my first EP. Some of my sickest flows were on songs that I did prior to that. If someone's telling me I’ve im- proved, I tend to value their opinion more if they’ve been invested in my work from before, or if they understand me from an artistic perspective.
What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could play the piano so I can play it in a room full of people when there’s a piano just conveniently sitting there.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
My closest friends have always supported me and I wouldn’t still be making projects, or even have a remotely similar life to what I have now, without them. So I always support people if I feel I can. Or encourage them at the very least, even if I don’t know them that well. Because I know how much of an important role encouragement plays in reaching your potential.
Unpaid endorsement: what can you recommend?
Palladium boots. They are sick, mate. You can’t cop them and have no one look at what’s on your feet when you walk on the bus or something.
What is your present state of mind?
Set goals and achieve them. That’s pretty much it.
What would you do if you were not doing this?
I was interested in doing medicine at some point for the reason that every aspiring healthcare worker says: “I wanted to help people.” But then I realised that there are other ways to help people. I mean, Kid Cudi helped me in more ways than any doctor has. So have my friends. So has my mum.
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