Show And Prove: Cozz
Words Emmanuel C.M.

Show & Prove is our section in the magazine where we highlight which artists are hot in hip-hop now. Many who have appeared in S&P have gone on to launch successful music careers. Here is the story of Cozz from our Winter 2014 issue featuring Kendrick Lamar on the cover, available on newsstands now.

With YG and ScHoolboy Q bringing West Coast gangsta music back to prominence in hip-hop, South Central-bred rhyme slinger Cozz is focused on providing the alternative. Born Cody Osagie, the 21-year-old MC’s music is ferocious and peaceful as was reflected on his hit debut record “Dreams,” which dropped last March. That was enough to persuade J. Cole to sign Cozz to Cole’s Dreamville Records imprint on Interscope three months later. “I’m still working and improving myself every day.” Cozz says. “Cole hears it.”

Cozz first started freestyling in 2010 while a student at Mira Costa High School. A hobby soon evolved into ditching classes for studio sessions and putting freestyles on YouTube. However, after graduating from high school in 2011, Cozz essentially quit rapping so that he could focus his energy on figuring out what he really wanted to do with his life to make a living. It wasn’t until the following year while he was a student attending El Camino College Compton Center, taking general education classes that Cozz, bored with school, decided to get back into the studio to record. It was then that old friend and now-co-manager Anthony “Tone” George—at the time working as an intern at Interscope—convinced Cozz to take rapping seriously as a profession. The rap rookie began to steadily record, and four months later released “Dreams.”

The track made its way to J. Cole, who signed Cozz to Dreamville last June. “I think his potential is as far as he wants to go,” says Ibrahim Hamad, President of Dreamville Records. “He has all the tools to be one of the greats.”

Also that month, Cozz’s track “Dreams” landed at No. 2 on Billboard’s Emerging Artist chart. The following October, the hip-hop hopeful quickly and quietly dropped his Dreamville/Interscope debut, Cozz & Effect, pleasing his locally established fan base.

Outside of Cozz’s as-yet untitled follow-up mixtape, which he plans to release in 2015, and Dreamville’s upcoming compilation Revenge Of The Dreamers 2, Cozz’s focus is on gaining respect. “I spit real shit and I just want people to respect it,” Cozz says. “It’s not too much real music anymore.”

Salute.

Related: J Cole’s Artist Cozz Drops New Album ‘Cozz & Effect’
Dreamville’s Cozz Masters A New West Coast Sound On Debut Project
Cozz Is Hitting The Road For His Tour