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Bas and Cozz join J. Cole for Tuesday concert at Farmers Market

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Following last year’s new releases and debut acclaim, emcees Bas and Cozz hit the road, joining J. Cole for Act 1 of his Forest Hills Drive Tour.

The two upstarts — Bas from New York City, Cozz from South Central LA — signed onto Cole’s Dreamville label with Interscope Records last year. They now find themselves on a three-part international tour hitting nearly every U.S. state, a swath of Europe from Switzerland to Denmark and a Tuesday stop at OKC Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave.

It’s a big world that’s getting smaller for the crew, especially for 21-year-old Cozz.

“It’s my first time traveling the world,” he said. “I’ve never been outside the U.S. I’m excited.”
Considered one of the most promising West Coast rappers of his age, Cozz built his following through grassroots whipping and social media, though it really didn’t take much.

His explosive break came after his first single, the sharp and street-level “Dreams,” garnered attention from fans and label execs including Cole, who happened to be in LA.

Cozz began rapping at 16, improving alongside a close high- school friend and emcee. His experience is diverse, with time spent as a “regular kid from the hood” and a kid who schooled at Manhattan Beach (a predominantly white school).

It’s the space on either side of those extremes and the street-level narratives between them he finds the easiest to speak about.

“I’ve seen both sides of the world. I rap about that reality,” Cozz said. The past year has been a huge 360 for Cozz, who has gone from living with his parents to traveling the world, meeting the likes of Drake and Kendrick Lamar and having quite a bit more money in his pockets (though he does still live with his parents).

“Life’s been great; I can’t lie,” Cozz said. “It’s been cool being with Dreamville. I’m still doing my own thing. There’s been all love.”
Part of that love has come from Bas, who also experienced a quick ascent in the rap world. He hails from the opposite coast — Queens, to be exact — though he spent the first years of his life in Paris.

His newest album, Last Winter, explores his international identity, perseverance and the “New World Order (N.W.O.)” (the opening track). Prior to that, he carved his music into the trunk of rap with a mixtape series, Quarter Water Raised Me, which landed on The Source magazine’s 2013 list of Top 20 tapes.

Founded in 2007 by Cole and Ibrahim Hamad, Dreamville Records currently houses four artists: Cole, Bas, Cozz and Omen. The label has released three of Cole’s albums and one each from Bas and Cozz. An album from Omen is coming soon.

The tour is titled for Cole’s latest release, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, named after his childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Most of the U.S. tour is sold out, including the OKC stop. Check with the venue for last-minute ticket releases.

Print headline: Dreamville life, Up-and-coming emcees make a big world smaller.

 

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