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King Kofi: on songwriting & Spider-Man

King Kofi: on songwriting & Spider-Man

By: Oliver Horton

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’.

What are you working on right now? 

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 genuinely mesmerised by the fact that I know people that 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, he has been making dope artwork since we were 5 or 6. Literally. I remember being in Year one/ First grade 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 of one person I know. But I can never grasp the fact that people are so talented and are told that if they fail a maths exam or something they won’t be anything.

What artists turn you on?

Hahaha. Here’s a life hack if you dim the lights and pretend you’re trying to show a girl your own music but then “accidentally” play ANY R.Kelly song “you are so in there”. Works almost every time.

What is your ultimate ambition?

I don’t know is the honest answer. 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 really, anything creative. I feel as if I have a lot of good ideas that can add value to peoples life so I want to share them.

What got you started?

I was thinking about this the other day. I also don’t think it has anything to do with talent. I read somewhere about a study which looked into the factors that makes somebody a ‘genius’ and 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) to at some point become a genius. But then it was then later discovered that there were people who were classified as geniuses who actually didn’t have an IQ above 125 when they were tested. And it was all due to their personality traits. Like their tendency to not give up or how passionate they were about something. And 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- the kind that I don’t have to tell myself I’m gonna achieve my goals I just feel like I will. So lots of things tend to fall into place, sometimes even by accident. There’s no secret to success really. Its an ambiguous result really based on a variety of factors.

What has been the biggest surprise/lesson along the way?

I have had countless epiphanies and life lessons; so many that I can’t even think of one off the top of my head. I tend to tweet them on the spot when I get them so I can retweet them when I’m more well known!

Who was your first crush?

This girl that was in my reception/kindergarten class is the first one I can remember. Yeah. Good times.

What fictional character can you most relate to?

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.

What/where do you like to eat or drink?

‘The Boat Inn’ in Tottenham Hale. I don’t know why, I just feel relaxed and happy when I’m there. I can’t pin-point why that is.

Where/when do you feel most yourself?

It’s gotta be when I’m alone and song-writing. All of my subconscious thoughts that I hadn’t realised where there appear onto a blank page and I either think “wow, this is pretty amazing” or “damn what is this BS this is terrible”. Haha. Either way, just like any great joke, my words tend to come from a place of truth so it means that I learn more about who I am with every song I write.

When are you at your worst?

I don’t like losing. 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. I mean the likelihood is that I definitely have improved,  but if someone is saying that I’ve improved, it’s likely that they didn’t really understand me as an artist a year or maybe two years ago. Because some of the best lyrics I’ve written to date were on my first EP. Some of my sickest flows were on songs that I did prior to that. If someones telling me I’ve improved, I tend to value their opinion if they’ve been invested in my work from before, or if they understand me from an artistic perspective.

What would you most like to change in the world?    

Well I mentioned earlier. A lot of people can do great things but are told they can’t. For example, there’s people who really like my music but most people in the music industry don’t pay attention unless theres a profit involved. On the other hand this is fair enough, as it is an ‘industry’. And in some ways I prefer it that way. In some ways I’m glad I live in a time where we can be totally independent from people with power who can make decisions about your life.

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 theres a piano just conveniently sitting there.

What is your dominant characteristic?

I did a colour blot test on Facebook and it said my most dominant characteristic was my intelligence. I’d agree but sometimes I’m not too sure as I can do some really stupid things sometimes. Or rather I find it hard to pay attention to things that are happening around me, I kind of just tend to gaze a lot. But I guess that doesn’t make me unintelligent. I can also be socially awkward at times but then that’s normally if I have a lot on my mind. Plus, maybe everyone else is socially awkward and I’m the normal one who knows?

What do you appreciate most in your friends/coworkers?

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 if not 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. I know I said I had self-belief, but a large percentage of this comes from my friends. Another comes from growing-up with role models who made me believe in myself

What innovation/invention do you love most?

It’s gotta be the iPhone. It’s not just a magnificent piece of technology but its a brand in itself. It knows exactly what it is, what it can do, and also what it doesn’t need to do. It’s a phone with its own philosophy. And it changed what phones are entirely.

Unpaid endorsement: what can you recommend?

Palladium boots. They are f*ckin 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 idea of happiness?

Haha I feel like it’s possible to be unhappy, and ‘not unhappy’, but never truly ‘happy’. And maybe that’s a pessimistic way of looking at things. But if we look at human nature, all we want to do is make ourselves happy. If we are hungry, we want to eat our favourite food, if we are lonely, we want to see people we know we are fond of not necessarily make new friends at first thought. We are always aiming for a new level of happiness which suggests we aren’t ‘happy’ yet. In saying this, I’ll probably be content when I have a fully successful career and don’t have to worry about money. Because to be fair at this point in time I don’t really worry about anything else. It would allow me to relax and see my friends more often and stuff.

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 [artistic/creative pursuit]?

I don’t know for sure. Perhaps something more academic. I was interested in doing medicine at some point during school. It was for the reason that every aspiring healthcare worker says and that was “I wanted to help people.” But that was the genuine truth. 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. So yeah.

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