Deciding to come back to the rap game and take a shot at building a career takes real devotion. Hard work pays off. There seems to be no laziness in our recent find Koka Kola. He is relaunching with a new record Willy Zonka’s Koka Factory dropping earlier this month. We had a chance to sit down with him and get behind the scenes. Enjoy the interview here:
First off, where did the moniker Koka Kola come from?
(Laughs) I somehow knew that would be part of this interview. It’s actually going to surprise you where that came from. I grew up on Bone Thugz (rather reluctantly at first, I was originally a metalhead) and around the time I started freestyling with drunk buddies over youtube beats Bizzy Bone dropped a song that was a remix/diss to 50 Cent’s ‘P.I.M.P’ called ‘B.O.N.E.’. In that song he has a line that goes “Hostile takeover, It’s Mr. Coca Cola.” And I dug it. I put my own spin on it with the K’s and it’s been mine ever since.
Your sound is outside of the mainstream hip-hop sound. How would you describe your unique style?
Well for one, I grew up in rural Montana before moving out here to the Seattle area, so my sound is greatly influenced by older rap that trickled down to us kids stuck in the boondocks over time. What I do now I consider a hybrid of modern trap music and the lyrical, fast-paced music I grew up on. For a long time I tried to directly emulate the music I used to listen to, but recently I decided to give a more modern sound a go, and it’s actually getting some good results.
After rapping for the last 10 years, what is pushing you to pursue a career as an artist?
Well, It’s either rap or finish my degree in Software Engineering and go on to be a code-monkey. Obviously, music sounds a bit more fun. (Laughs)
Which artists have influenced the modern Koka Kola sound?
My top 3 right now consist of Kevin Gates, Lil Yachty, and Lil Uzi Vert. That said, I’ll turn my Pandora on to a trap station and just soak in the production and different styles all these new dudes bring to the table, and I really enjoy it. I used to be kind of a hater on the modern sound, but I’ve grown to love it.
Have A Taste Of Koka Kola on Welcome To The Factory
Tell us about how your album ‘Willy Zonka’s Koka Factory” came to be?
So, I had taken around a 3-year hiatus from music, being as I’d gotten engaged and in that span of time had two beautiful baby girls. Rap had kinda just seemed like a distant memory. But, I had a buddy come up from Spokane and he took me to see a show at the Tacoma Dome: D.R.A.M., Travis Scott, and Kendrick Lamarr doin’ the DAMN tour. Travis Scott came out on a fucking GIANT MECHANICAL EAGLE, and instantly I was hooked back in.
The character of Willy Zonka is modeled after the aforementioned buddy cause ya know, he has his uhhh…. “Side Business” going (Laughs) and the idea of it being kinda like the chocolate factory came up in conversation and it just went from there. And that killer album cover we got was designed by my beautiful wife Victoria, she’s really got an eye for creating these sorts of things. Really brought the vision to life seeing that.
What advice would you give to other artists creating original music?
Hell man, the best thing anybody can hear is to keep on going no matter what kind of negative trash people wanna say. I remember in high school (albeit I was in Montana, so being a rapper was a bit taboo anyway) people would always try and tell me I’d never amount to anything doing this. Those same people will hit me up now and ask where they can find my music, or congratulate me on the moves I’m making. Believe in yourself above all the bullshit.
What is next for Koka Kola?
The biggest focus for Kola right now is doing shows. I’m working to find a good avenue for doing some college shows so that I can start to make a little bit off music and start to reinvest rather than just spending, spending, spending to get exposure. After that I’m likely to look into getting with a distribution company and releasing a grip of new singles so that I can not only make a little bit more dough, but also reach out to fans globally.
Lastly, we hear you like beer as much as us. What is your current favorite lager as we prepare for the colder months?
(Laughs) Most people I meet won’t even drink the beer I drink. There’s a local company here in Washington called Elysian Brewing (though, they do have distribution through Anheiser-Busch now I guess) and they make the best beers I’ve ever tasted. They make a winter-warmer type brew called BiFrost which I’m waiting to see come out again this season.
When life permits, we’ll all have to have a few pints! -Kola
We have a deal and a beer coming
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