Interview: Black Cobain wants to succeed at being “Young, Gifted and Black”
by Marcus K. Dowling
“Don’t compare me to rappers, I’m trying to be like the Beatles” – Black Cobain, from “4 AM” feat. Wale
Boasting a policy of “no days off,” Wale’s Washington, DC based Board Administration imprint has mirrored their locally iconic chief. The label has had a brief history filled with steady progress and yet truly realized potential. Wale’s signing to Rick Ross’ top tier hip hop imprint Maybach Music Group and highlight appearances on Maybach all-star compilation Self Made Volume 1, have placed a spotlight on the opinionated performer, a spotlight that now falls to The Board Administration. The Board features a number of artists, including but not limited to Wale’s go go backing band UCB, their honey falsetto possessing lead singer Tre, and Alexandria, VA native Black Cobain. Cobain releases his second mixtape effort, Young, Gifted and Black in DC at U Street Music Hall this Tuesday, June 7th in a performance alongside Wale and fellow Board Administration label mates.
Regarding the marked development in his output, Cobain stayed humble. “I’ve developed a lot since my debut. I’ve been on the road with Wale for the last six months, making runs all over the country, learning the grind of what it takes to be a successful artist. Get up, write lyrics, do a few in store appearances, perform, after party, over and over again. You have to be mentally tough and creative to survive, and that is what I’m bringing to this mixtape,” states Cobain, whose development as an emcee was being highly touted in preparation for the dual Rocksmith sponsored mixtape events in New York City on June 4th and DC on the 7th.
“I’ve had crowds all over the country rocking with my material. We had a night where we were on a Northeast run through Massachusetts and Rhode Island where I could really feel an entire crowd, like, 5,000 people were there, rocking with me, really appreciating my dedication. That was a really exciting moment, the kind of moments that I want to continue having as I develop as an artist. To be able to get consistent love from the people, the fans, that’s what I want. My material’s things that they can relate to, stories of my life and my grind as a performer. I want to share that with people.”
“I want to be the kind of artist that fans can grow with. The lead track for Young, Gifted and Black is “I’m Cold” with J. Cole. I know him, and I know the kind of artist he is, and I’m glad to have him on the mixtape. To be able to blend fans of his work with my fans and people who can appreciate my development should exciting.”
In preparation for the mixtape’s drop, Cobain has been featured on two singles, “4 AM” with Wale, and Wale’s posse cut “Cook Up” alongside furiously up and coming heavyweight lyricist and the pride of Masillion, Ohio Stalley. Cobain holds his own against increasingly established industry neophytes featuring a laid back flow and confidence in his wordplay.
Being positioned as the second line performer on The Board Administration behind one of the most buzzed about performers of 2011 in hip hop seems to have released a quiet confident streak in the performer, and he certainly appears prepared for the increased scrutiny and spotlight.
The Young, Gifted, and Black tour rolled through NYC this past weekend, but you still have the chance to check them out in DC. Details below: