Kogz is a local up-and-coming emcee hailing from the “A-line” (Armadale Train Line for the uninitiated) with a fierce delivery and a commitment to his craft.
Wordplay caught up with him recently to hear his story and find out what he has in store for the coming months.
You recently collaborated on a track with Bitter Belief at Shakedown Studio, how did you find that experience?
Man, it was dope, to be able to work with a dude like Bitter B was definitely something else, the dude is ill and the fact he rounded up a bunch of us younger cats to jump on a track to help us out is something to applaud, a selfless act and I give him much respect for that and, [Rob] Shaker is always awesome to work with. We’ve been working on my album for a while now and there’s been nothing I could spin a negative light on, all round top bloke that’s for sure.
Do you delve in to the production side of it much or stick to the lyrics?
I do make beats, but I [don’t know], the way I structure them, they’re all fine, they’re real boom bap… and raw and shit, they’re me, but they’re just not up to scratch in my eyes production-wise. If I make a beat, like I made a beat for a track called Done With It with [Mr] Grevis, and I gave the stems to Shaker and he just [sort of] rebuilt it, used all my samples but just added all the bells and whistles and made it pretty.
Does he hit the mark for how you want it sonically?
Oh man, perfectly, I’ve given him beats that I’ve liked and been like “something like this man” and he blows it out of the water, absolutely kills it [laughs].
So this album that you’re working on at the moment, does it have a central theme that you’re following?
On my mixtape release before this album, I dropped some shit but it was more repping where I’m from; I more concentrated on that street shit and stayed pretty distant. But this one’s more hitting the personal shit, the whole thing, I mean there’s different sorts of tracks and shit but it’s more hitting on that personal level, the emotion of things.
Yeah cool, so what’s it called and when can we pick it up?
It’s called Piece of Mind and it’s dropping on the 16th of May, there’s also a music clip on the way too.
Awesome, how’s that looking at the moment?
Man, it is meaty. Like, that is a heavy track; it’s one I’m doing with Sever. It’s…raw, that’d basically be the straight word for it. There’s a lot of blood, ripped shirts, a dead body even, ahh pig’s heads, you name it. It gets pretty intense, some shit we even had to pull back on, like thinking nah that’s pretty fucked up [laughs].
Sounds like it’s gonna be an interesting one. Goes without saying your style’s pretty raw then, what would you say has influenced you in that?
I’d say the way I grew up has had an impact on the way I see things, it was pretty rough, junkies in and out, absent father, moving houses constantly and never having shit, so a lot of what I write about stems from that I guess.
And what drew you in to hip hop at first?
I was actually a heavy metal head, full on heavy metal [laughs] then I randomly heard Tupac. I hated Tupac back in the day because my sister dug him and I’d just give her shit for anything I could, but one day I heard him and really listened to him, and I just got stuck on that dude for ages, to the point I was analysing him and reading books about him and shit, and hip hop just came from there I suppose.
Do you think maybe those heavy metal origins could be an influence on your heavy delivery?
Could be, I haven’t really thought about it to be honest, I just find to get your point across sometimes you have to emphasise certain things, and it sounds better than having one tone all the way through. It’s weird, ’cause I’m completely opposite with beats; I pick the more mellow boom bap, grimy shit and never really go for the heavy ones.
Who else locally do you find you relate to musically?
Locally, I’d have to say [Mr] Grevis, Bitter Belief, Soma, Azmatic and Drapht, dudes like that, also Complete and Sever. There’s a lot of dudes I’m missing but off the top of my head that’s all I’ve got [laughs]. But I haven’t really had the chance to listen to a lot of shit lately; I’ve been flat out with this album [laughs], there’s a lot that goes into this shit.
Are you finding yourself on a similar vein to those guys?
They’re a lot further in this shit than I am. Like, you could be the best rapper in the world and have songs that’d blow my fucking nipples off my chest, but if you’re an arrogant dude or just plain rude, I can’t get around that, I can’t listen to it. But meeting [Mr] Grevis and that, for where they’re at they’ve welcomed me in like I could never believe, like jumping on tracks with me and that. They’re just completely down to earth dudes and have the same ideas as what I do about hip hop.
I [don’t know] just keeping it as what it is and what you are, like keeping it completely real and doing what they do, they do it for the music, they’re not trying to make something everybody loves and moulding it to the listener. Then if the listeners come at least they’re real listeners and you’re real to the listeners; you’re all on the same level. If you’re faking it and you’re attracting these listeners then you’re not even on the same page as what they are, it’s just a big lie. So yeah definitely give them props and respect for that.
Catch Kogz live at The Prince of Wales in Bunbury supporting Omac on June 21st with The Psych Ward, Maggot Mouf, Gutz and Down South Crew.
Interview by Lyndon Kidman