For those of you not yet familiar with Kosha Dillz, he is a Jewish-American rapper from New Jersey. He raps fluently in both in English and Hebrew and is also a college graduate, holding a degree in Creative Writing from Rutgers University. Kosha has had the opportunity to tour and collaborate with some of the biggest artists in the industry such as Ghostface Killah, GZA, RZA, Murs, Aesop Rock, Snoop Dogg, Matisyahu and many others. In 2016, Buzzfeed honored Kosha as #14 best Jewish Rapper: Passover Edition and Jewish Week as “a young visionary reshaping and broadening the Jewish community.”
So without further ado here is Kosha in his own words…
Kosha Dillz, it’s a real pleasure to have you on the blog. I really enjoyed your performance, opening up for GZA (of the Wu Tang Clan), at The Observatory in Santa Ana.
[V] What is the inspiration behind your stage name/alias – Kosha Dillz?
[KD] That name came from the jar. I remember it was Kosher Dill. Then it was KD FLOW. I changed it since I was ashamed of the laughs and associations that came with being Jewish.
Kosha Dillz came about in 2005 and had the edge to it, plus kept me a bit more proud of my heritage.
[V] I’ve read that you started rapping at the age of 17 and even hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. At what point of your life did you decide to pursue a career in rap seriously?
[KD] I think when I put the record out in 2005 (Chainsaw Music), I figured out that I wanted to make money and sell CDs. I was always into selling stuff. Most of the time it wasn’t legal. Rap became a thing to sell for me.
[V] I’ve also read that you’ve got a jumpstart as an artist doing freestyle battles at Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan. How did that help you move further in your career and become a recording artist? (Any particular people you met along the way, labels wanted to sign you, etc.?)
[KD] Battling people like Immortal Technique and EOW (End of the Weak) at the Pyramid and seeing Pumpkinhead (PH) battle and that whole era was based on performance versus today which is usually the track. Then, people performed much more than they recorded. It now seems to be the opposite. Being in cyphers with the best in the world was what we would drive to be in NYC.
Any record label that ever wanted to sign me, never really was too appealing to me. I once won a battle where Duck Down Records was sort of giving me a deal, but it was actually more so promotion of a song and misrepresented. Signing to RZA‘s label was sort of an idea, but that is also not such a “real label” and more of a collaboration. I have been blessed with some amazing artists who have a huge reach to take a liking to me. In today’s world, an artist co-sign and reach really helps you reach out to new fans.
[V] Another thing I learned about you is that you are currently signed with OY VEY! label but was once signed with Murs 316. Why did you decide to part ways with Murs 316?
[KD] I didn’t part ways with Murs. Actually, Murs had a little project of helping people and has become well known for thinking as a community based artist. He has always putting on events like Paid Dues for the community and it has since become a thing for the people.
OY VEY! is honestly my start in developing a label, plus showcase, and series of events where I give back and help others as well. I am really grateful because lots of people think Murs’ label is quite massive, although it was more like a stepping stone for lots of us working with him. I am happy to have two songs with him as well (Where My Homies Be & We Are Different). I hope the growth in my artistry enables us to work together in the future. To be honest, my first major label meetings were actually this year, in my thirties, since my album charted on Billboard.
[V] When is the release date for Kosha Dillz Everywhere documentary? What should the audience expect from this project?
[KD] This should be finished by December, in time for January Sundance 2017, where I can showcase it to people and receive proper edits, in time to submit the finals, for major film festivals in 2017.
[V] As I listen to your album What I do All Day & Pickle, I personally get a sense that the message is to embrace and capitalize on your eccentric self. Varsity Blues track is one that resonates with me the most (and most likely many other kids that grow up different) In your own words however, what is the underlining message of What I do All Day & Pickle? What would you like your fans to get out of this album?
[KD] I think you nailed it right on the head. Embracing who you are is way more difficult than it sounds, and there are different levels to it as time goes on.
The pickle is the curveball of life that, which is your brand, and that no one understands, but you still give it because that is what empowers you. What I do all day is the story you tell. Everyone tells their own story. Some people tell you how to tell your own story. That is when the pickle comes in (or at least via this title). It is the curve ball. Mine is always keeping Hebrew rhymes on the album, even though I have been told countless times to make separate albums for each style. I don’t think my fans know my real story. I have too many fun songs that deal with my dark personal issues, and not enough serious songs. Varsity Blues and Beneath the Wound hopefully tell more of it.
Also, be sure to check out his new album What I Do All Day & Pickle and his SoundCloud for lots of dope music
Here are a couple of my favorite tracks:
Kosha Dillz feat. Matisyahu – Dodging Bullets
Kosha Dillz feat. Murs – We Are Different