Living a balanced lifestyle was always stressful to Black Cobain as a young man. Early in life, the DMV native was exposed to many different styles of music, as his grandparents had a palette for a wide range of sounds. The voices of Anita Baker, Michael Jackson and as far out as ACDC to Nirvana illuminated throughout his home as a youth. In the streets of the “front line” of Alexandria, VA, it is hard to display that type of versatility and be accepted among your peers. Cobain went against the odds and was liable to document anything he saw in his projects. Often, violence flooded the streets of his community.
The 27-year-old was able to escape the hardships of Alexandria by attending Virginia State University. During his time, he met Greg Harrison, who at the time was transitioning from the fashion industry to the music world with the start of The Board Administration label. While juggling a gig as a director at his local YMCA, Cobain was working on a new mixtape and presented it to Harrison, who was so moved by the tape that he put it in the hands of Wale. Wale wanted to bring on the Board to help with his daily operations as well as become an active leader of the label, which created an opportunity that Cobain couldn’t refuse. He put in his two weeks notice at the YMCA, leaving behind his teaching duties, to work closely alongside members Mz Sasha, Tiara Thomas and Fat Trel. He hasn’t looked back since.
Cobain saw the fruits of labor instantly. In 2009, he dropped “4 a.m.” with Wale that caught the attention of all major hip-hop blogs and publications. “You could see a shift in people and they began to give me praise for that record,” said Black Cobain. “I began to get interviews with MTV and I started to get called out on shows and seeing A&R’s at my performances.” Shortly thereafter, Wale took the rising DMV star on the road with him for the 40-plus city The Ambition Tour in 2012. “I was on a high doing the tour, I didn’t feel any fatigue until the last couple of weeks,“ says Cobain. “Going out there for a 25-minute set and captivating these people was amazing. It gave me the plateau to get my music to new people. The love from Wale fans who weren’t hip to my music so early in my career gave me a lot of confidence.”
Since then, Black Cobain has worked with plenty elites in rap such as Wiz Khalifa, Casey Veggies, Stalley and more. Recently, the BOA member dropped a new tape named Perfect Contradiction that represents his attitude of taking risks to reap the awards. It was a code of all-or-nothing that led him to succeed in his career. Now, he’s living by a another mantra that’s more stress free. “It came from me and my life experiences and going back on things I said I wouldn’t do,” he said. “I wanted to utilize my platform to let people know that its okay to contradict yourself. In the music you may hear me say things I said I wouldn’t do, but I wanted to let people know that things turned out perfect.”
On the road to glory.—Christian Mordi