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The Rebirth of Kossisko, the Artist Formerly Known as 100s

In a new interview, Kossisko discusses the anger that fueled 100s, says he'll never rap again

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I would wonder, if anything, if the temptations of a lifestyle of decadence – once you start getting a taste of fame, if that would become a temptation that would draw anyone in.

Right. I think I was getting to the point where I started getting a taste of it and I started making some real money, you know? And sort of seeing what was happening. I just stopped and I was like, ‘wait, yo, is this really what the fuck I wanna be known for? Is this really what the fuck I want my legacy to be? I’m not fuckin’ proud of this shit’ – I just had this moment. It’s all whatever until it starts happening, fast. It happens fast, cuz it’s the age of information, it’s like bam bam bam – it’s the Internet, so once that shit started really to pop off, I just took a step back, and I almost outgrew that shit. I was just like, what the fuck – no. It would bother me that there was this whole group of people that could not listen to my music, just because of the content or the language. My goal when I make music is I wanna make music that you can have fun to, you know? It’s an escape, and you can dance to it, and it makes you feel good. So, when I hear shit like, ‘I love you but I would never let my kid listen to you’… what the fuck? (laughter) It just got to that point where… I know that I can do more. That’s really what it was. Like, going to Africa, you really see some shit, you have a conscience. I just feel like I have a duty to do more.

“Is this really what the fuck I want my legacy to be? I’m not fuckin’ proud of this shit”

How has your life changed since you retired 100s?

It’s almost like I was reborn. Everything’s new – I got a new team that are amazing, I got all these new people in my life that support me and get me, and get what I want to do… I had to really find myself. And find what I wanted to do next. I found people that were super supportive. They knew I needed to… Last year, there was months where I made so much music and just was isolated, figuring out what I wanted to do.

Do you feel that Red White N Cruel is a more accurate depiction of who you really are?

Yeah, I do. It’s a lot more personal.

You once said, ‘I wanna be the biggest motherfucking entertainer ever, of all time.’

(laughter)

(laughter) I know it’s goofy to hear yourself quoted back, but is that an ambition that you still have, as an entertainer, to speak to people at that level?

Yes, because once you have that platform, you can do a lot of good things for the fuckin’ human race. You can do a lot.

What would that be for you? What would you change for the human race if you had that platform?

First of all, I would love to just go help people. Just all over the world… Places like where I was in the Ivory Coast. Go and help build shit and help educate… There’s mad people that just aren’t fuckin’ educated, you know?

The transformation that you made from 100s to your solo work was actually very quick. Now, in 2016, you’re working on this horror film, 2037. Is that a total change of gears for you, or will you be working on the film and music simultaneously? What’s the goal?

Yeah, that’s my dream… People don’t know this, but [the final 100s EP] IVRY – I wrote a short film for it… It wasn’t a screenplay, but I wrote out the plot, like an outline, you know? It was a sort of rough screenplay. That was my vision for it, that’s why the cover looks the way it does… Ideally, that’s my dream: to make films, and have that avenue, and then music, and acting – all these different ways to do cool shit and not be limited.

Are you gonna be starring in 2037?

I’m in it, but I’m not gonna star.

Did you write it?

I wrote it with someone, yeah. I’ll be directing it.

Do you think you’ll ever rap again?

No. I don’t. I try to say ‘never say never’… I don’t know what would make me want to. It’d have to come from some sort of emotional place… I’d have to see some reason why rapping would help me convey something. But as of now, I really like what I do now.

Coming from 100s and then putting out Red White N Cruel, what have you learned? What came from this experience of being more yourself?

I wanna say it’s a bit more difficult, in a way – not to make it, but for it to get around. With the 100s stuff, because it was so fuckin’ ridiculous (laughter) – it’s like, ‘hey! Listen to this!’ It was funny, you know?

And it was controversial.

Yeah, it was controversial, so obviously that’s gonna spread more than stuff that’s more personal or more whatever. It’s been a trip… That was my only thing to reference – blowin’ up in a week, you know? So with this, it almost humbled me in a way. When you really are your fuckin’ self, and you’re not relying on controversy or shit like that, the shit’s harder. But it’s so much more fulfilling and rewarding when it does connect with people, because they’re actually connecting with you. I don’t know what I really felt when someone would say ‘I love this song’ with a 100s song, you know? Obviously, I feel happy that you enjoyed it, I feel happy that you have fun to it and it makes you happy. But, it didn’t make me feel anything emotionally, you know? (laughter) That’s the reward that’s been way more meaningful than anything. People saying ‘I like this song,’ because it’s me, or ‘I relate to this,’ it feels really good.

I think as an artist – and just as a person – you’ve been through a lot more than most people go through by the time they’re at your age. You’re in your mid-twenties, right?

Yeah, I’m 23. I just turned 23.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever notice that difference?

Yeah, definitely.

“I don’t even know if I’ve ever loved a person as much as I love creating.”

What is that experience like?

I don’t know… You know that you have a responsibility, you know? You know what it’s like to be in some dark shit and some tough shit. So you’re appreciative of when you’re not in that, and when you see people living in darkness, or people who are consumed by shit that doesn’t matter – it’s almost your duty to tell them or show them. Make shit that’s quality. Not take the cheap way, not take the easy way. You gotta have fuckin’ integrity. You gotta own what the fuck you’re doing, you gotta love what the fuck you’re doing… I’ve been through a lot of shit. Just going through puttin’ out some shit and blowing up on the Internet and seeing that – you better stand behind what you’re doing, and know why doing you’re stuff. Once you put shit out there, you can’t really control what happens to it. It’s over.

You must be a very hard worker, you’re very prolific. What is it that drives your urge to create in the first place?

I don’t know, I can’t explain it…

Is it that same thing of showing people who you are? Or is it having escaped the darkness, that you have this opportunity to tell stories?

Yeah, it’s sort of my way of connecting with people. It’s really what I love. I don’t even know if I’ve ever loved a person as much as I love creating. It’s so fascinating to me. You can pull an idea from wherever in the universe, and bring it into reality, and you’ve just made that into reality. It’s almost this magic fuckin’ process… I love the process. It’s what I think about. I see the world as a bunch of pictures or a bunch of movies or clips… I’ve been like that since I was little. All I used to do is watch movies – I really like the idea that with art you can create your own world, and you can captivate peoples’ imaginations. That’s what I liked as a kid. I’d get super obsessed with like, ancient Egypt, for like a year. And then it’d be dinosaurs, or some movie, and I’d be obsessed with it and I’d watch it every single day. My imagination would just run wild, always. That’s always what I’ve had – my imagination. In any dark place I’ve ever been in in my life, I’ve always had my imagination. It’s how I cope with shit.

It’s something that you’ve relied on, I guess.

Yeah. And to me it’s like, this world that we’re in, sometimes I just don’t really find it that interesting. Sometimes it’s like, maybe I don’t wanna live in this world today, or maybe I don’t wanna do this today – so I can create another one, or I can make one, sonically or whatever. And then, if you want to, you can join me in it. And that’s what it’s about.

Many artists say is that the goal of art is to achieve immortality. If you’re creating things that last, that people remember you for – like David Bowie, for example, you might achieve that… I connect more to what you said about communicating with people, as a way to touch and make contact with other humans while you are here on Earth.

You don’t determine if your music is going to live on forever. All you can do is make it. You can’t control that. The reality is, it’s gonna roll out how it rolls out, and if it connects, it connects, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And you’ll see in twenty years what you’ll be remembered for. But focusing on that while you’re able to create – why would you even do that? Why not just keep your head down and create as much as you can, and one day just be like, Goddamn, wow! (laughter) ‘That was dope, I had a good run.’

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