This or That? Co$$ vs. Cozz
It's easy to think Atlanta is running this rap s--t. Young Thug is breaking a new norm every day, iLoveMakonnen just got the Drake cosign, Gucci Mane has dropped more records from jail than most artists drop in their lives on the outside, and the Snowman is back.
But if Atlanta is the driving force, California is the destination. Kendrick is a foregone conclusion; look at Vince Staples, the best signee Def Jam has made since YG, another West Coast gangster with an excellent debut album in 'My Krazy Life.' Earl Swavey can turn up, ScHoolboy Q has strong armed his way into the conversation, and DJ Mustard is doing his part to put on talented dudes like Royce The Choice, RJ and TeeCee4800. But if you had to put your money on one new guy? Bet on Cozz.
Cozz, also known as Cody Macc, is 20 years old. He hails from South Los Angeles and his Soundcloud only has four songs. Last week, that was a bad sign for Young Lito, but in Cozz's case, his music is so potent he gets his point across in one verse. Like Vince Staples, the verses aren't as dense as they are blunt. When a rapper sounds like they're fed up with being ignored, the cream of the crop rise to the occasion and force their way in. Cozz's voice corners your ears on the beat; you can't ignore him.
He's signed to J. Cole's Dreamville Records, which houses another promising young dude named Bas, but Cozz looks to be a more aggressive rapper than Cole; in a world where a black man dies every 28 hours, we don't need any more sleepy raps. We need a wake-up call.
Cozz's voice sounds like a mix between Drake and Ab-Soul, and considering one probably wants to be the other, that's not a bad balance to strike. The hook on another standout song, 'Knock the Hustle,' doesn't glorify a thing -- "I been broke, man, for way too long / No hot water for way too long." Slowly but surely, artists are realizing they don't have to rap about material things just to get on. Cozz got signed to J. Cole's label by rapping about being poor.
Leimert Park, home to Dom Kennedy's Kool Aid raps, is also home to another quietly sophisticated rapper -- Co$$. He isn't nearly as palatable as Dom; Co$$' close association to Blu should make that apparent from the jump. Yet that affiliation signals more than just a stylistic kinship, as both Blu and Co$$ have struggled to capitalize on their poetry. Case in point -- 'Play Ya Role,' from Co$$'s fantastic 'Sleepwalking' mixtape from 2011, has 244 plays in three years.
His rhymes are more tightly wound than Cody Macc's, making them a little less accessible. There's a triumphant thread that runs throughout his music, though, that proves him relatable. His verses on Blu's exceptional 'GodleeBarnes LP' (back when Co$$ went by Cashus King) exemplify his everyman pride as he eviscerates all four of his features. He sounds burdened, just like every human. We're all only so carefree until real life pulls up.
Cozz is more of an extrovert in his raps, simplifying them for maximum impact. It's hard to tell what direction a larger body of work will take, but he's got hooks, too (see: 'I Need That'), so with his Dreamville signing intact, he's already bound to make a bigger splash than Co$$.
Co$$ is more interior, and it's evident in his project titles: 'Sleepwalking,' 'Before I Awoke,' 'Grayer Skies.' He's the guy you pump through your headphones after puffing a spliff and wandering through your city. Cozz has a more immediate delivery, but Co$$ has more intricate rhyme schemes. Apples and oranges, really.
So both West Coasters win this week. Cozz is said to be dropping 'Cozz And Effect' sometime this year, while Co$$ quietly dropped a new project back in February. The lesson? Get up on both of these dudes. The West Coast is dominant from top to bottom.