Aaron Cohen continues to navigate uncharted waters with a confidence that only comes from someone who has survived taking a bold risk when things didn’t go according to plan.
Encompassing an all or nothing attitude that is hidden deep within his music, Cohen isn’t making Hip Hop music to get one hit record and call it a day. With each new track he releases, he is consistently building an organic fanbase by way of sticking to his guns musically, further proving that when one stays true to their vision, no matter how different or challenging it may be, it’s always worth it.
His 8-track Off The Ground EP, which was released June 24, showcases what’s possible when one finds production that is naturally compatible with his lyricism, with both being equally experimental by nature.
The project also further proves Cohen’s own perspective to be true that a quality rap record in 2016 doesn’t have to feature dumbed down lyrics or follow a pattern that has worked for others in the past in order to please everyone. He’s truly a rapper that does his own thing, finding successes by taking his own path.
Off The Ground EP is an impressive introduction to his craft. From blending moments that incorporate spoken word samples with more-traditional rapping and putting different treatments on his vocals, Cohen eases into telling his story on top of downtempo and eccentric instrumentals.
An emcee with staying power, Cohen is slowly but surely getting to where he wants to be.
How long have you been doing what you do? How did you get started?
I’ve always rapped, but I’ve only been recording and taking it seriously for a few years. I started by memorizing all of my favorite songs as a kid. Eventually I just started making up my own lyrics, banging on the wall or the table to make a beat. Then I started ripping instrumentals off YouTube and eventually I started working with producers.
Is there an early memory you’d like to share about getting into your craft, such as when you realized this was more than just a hobby or a passion?
Honestly, it was the first time I ever rapped on stage in front of people. It was at some talent show. I had never performed or anything. I just took the mic and started rapping over some DJ Premier beat. All my friends were like “oh wow.” They all just kind of looked at me different after that, like they knew it was something I had to take seriously.
How do you describe your sound/what you do to people you haven’t heard before?
My sound is kind of hard to describe. I like new s**t, I want to push boundaries musically. But with that said, I do that while still really rapping and really saying something. I think you can make relevant music without dumbing it down, that’s what I do.
Who are your influences? What is some advice that has stuck with you?
I have a lot of different influences. I’m definitely influenced by New York and Seattle both. Growing up in Seattle, I was raised with the grunge mentality, that raw, I don’t give a f**k about anything mentality. Seattle’s a laid back, gloomy place, and I think that comes across in my music. After living in New York for awhile, I started to adapt to life in the city. My music got a little more aggressive and I started to hustle a little harder.
I think the best advice I got was about knowing your worth. Not every opportunity is really an opportunity. If you know that you’re capable of doing something “great” don’t settle for a collaboration with someone who’s “good” for some immediate exposure. Just build up your own vision and trust it. I’ve gotten that same advice from a lot of successful people.
What do you hope people take away from listening to your music?
I feel like music is what I’m best at, and by focusing on that I can contribute the most to the world. I want people to listen to my music and be inspired to do whatever they’re passionate about, whatever they’re best at. And just enjoy listening to the s**t, ha.
Tell us a little bit about your new project, such as concepts/themes, what inspired you, what the creative process was like, etc.
The creative process was me and Kemal living together for months in the studio just sleeping, eating and breathing music. The theme of this project is reality. We’re trying to take the music to new levels while fighting through real life. I think our mindset and situation comes across in the music.
What does the rest of 2016 look like? What can we keep an eye out for?
2016 is looking pretty good! I’ve got a lot more music on deck and I’ll be doing shows all over the place.