Young Kof is an enigma in the UK Hip Hop scene. On one hand he is a soulful vocalist- able to infuse the hardest track with his smooth dulcet tones. On the other hand, he is a talented lyricist able to spit dark and edgy, provocative rhymes over any beat you throw at him. Whichever way you flip the coin; Young Kof, aka Kofi Owusu, is part of the emerging new wave of UK urban talent.
Flying the flag for Liverpool but originally born in East London, Young Kof has successfully fused together all the musical and cultural influences in his life and placed them into his music- to much critical acclaim. 1Xtra’s Ace and Invisible have heralded Kof as the 'future of music' and he has already shared the stage with UK stars like Roll Deep, Skinnyman and DJ Semtex. Young Kof speaks to Britishhiphop about breaking into the UK music scene.
BHH: Do you think living in both Liverpool and East London has influenced your musical style?
Young Kof: Yeah definitely. The music I make is a product of the places I've been, the things I've felt and everything around me. I left London just before the Grime revolution kicked in so I was listening to a lot of garage, and speed garage. I've got a lot of that energy in my music. Liverpool has also got a big musical background so it all comes in to play within the music I make. Living in both places helped me realise how to connect with people through different styles and genres.
BHH: You sing and you rap- which one of the two feels more natural to you?
Young Kof: I was a singer first, from when I was a little kid singing on the stairs in my house for a couple of pound off my aunts and uncles, so that’s always been me. The rapping came much later but I seem to be doing a lot more of it lately. I think both come naturally to me, it just took me a while to realise that I could rap.
BHH: For people who don't know Young Kof, how would you describe your musical style?
Young Kof: You know I get asked that question so much and it's still the hardest to answer. I don't really have a specific musical style because I have so many different types. I might sing some sexy slow Neo Soul, flip it and do some grime influenced hip-hop mixed with a bit of electro house. Then switch that and jump on some hip hop fused with rock then go right back to some RnB. I'm into trying different styles and keeping it outside the box. I feel sorry for some of my fans who like one type of song because they might not get one that has a similar sound for a while! Sorry Peeps!
BHH: 1Xtra have been very supportive of your career thus far- in general do you think UK Urban acts receive enough support from media outlets?
Young Kof: I could say yes but then you're always gonna get an artist who thinks he or she isn't getting enough support. If the music you make is good enough and people are feeling it, the media outlets have to take notice. It's their job! I do think that a lot of DJ's, magazines and TV channels need to step up their game when it comes to supporting UK music though. There's a little too much love for the U.S. music which seems to be getting more like cookie cutter music as the months go by. I believe that the UK is the future of urban music, especially with the talent we've got coming through!
BHH: How do you feel about performing at Celebration Of Life?
Young Kof: I feel blessed about being given the chance to perform. Anything that is for a good cause, bringing people together and using music to do that- I'm on it!
BHH: At this stage who would you most like to work with?
Young Kof: I've probably worked with most of the UK artists that I'd like to apart from Klashnekoff! Soon come though! Other than that, although I'm probably punching above my weight, I'd love to go toe to toe with Kanye on one of his beats. I'd like to do something with Musiq Soulchild. I think doing a track with Basement Jaxx would come out dangerous too! You know there's too many so I'll just stop there (laughs).
BHH: What advice would you give to aspiring singers and rappers?
Young Kof: Just keep doing your thing. You're gonna get non believers, you're gonna get haters, you're gonna get overlooked for things you deserve but if you love what your doing and you believe in it strong enough then keep rolling with it. Definitely keep it positive because making music gives you the change to get into so many peoples ears, so spreading the right message is a must if we want people to progress! Don't forget to have fun though and be yourself!
BHH: Who are you feeling at the moment?
Young Kof: If were talking about artists then obviously Kano's doing it. Sway, Klash, Dizzee, Devlin, I'm getting into Ghetto a lot more lately for his flow. I like Ny too. There’s some dude called Young Kof who's coming up at the moment too. I'd say watch out for him! Producers: Jaguar Skillz, Joe Buhdha, Curtis Lynch Jnr, Daniel 2 Dark, Davinche, Dexplicit, Epitome and Jay Knowles to mention a few. U.S. though, Kanyeezy, Lupe Fiasco, Floetry, Murs, oh Common! Definitely Common! Luda's definitely doing it and I'm a massive fan of Jigga too!
BHH: What's next for Young Kof- what do you have in the pipeline?
Young Kof: Well I'm just finishing up my 3rd mixtape on URBEATZ called 'Still Me' (out on Dec 3rd). After that I'm working on a concept EP with producer Jay Knowles. I've doing some stuff with a band so I'm looking to get that stronger and work on some new music with them and get our shows up. I've got a few shows in Europe over the winter which I'm looking forward to. I'm looking to start work on my debut album next year, get that out and then begin to take my music to those who don't know! If you wonna see what I'm doing though check out the space that's mine, www.myspace.com/youngkofurbeatz and www.urbeatz.com .
By: Michelle Adabra