Cozz's debut album "Cozz & Effect" proves the sky is the limit for the young-LA artist.
You can feel Cozz's hunger when listening to his music. It's easy to understand why J. Cole would want the youngster out of LA on his Dreamville/Interscope Label. Cozz has the lyrical trappings of a rapstar in the making. Cozz & Effect articulates his struggles, most sincere dreams, and honest opinion on everything from living with moms', to wasting time chasing sex, and an earnest desire to help his family and community.
Upon listening to this project, a few things become obvious. For starters, Cozz has been exposed to much more than "the hood" and seeks to shift the narrative away from traditional ghetto stereotypes. As he says on "I Need That", featuring labelmate Bas, "I'ma South Central- LA nigga just a different type/Went to Mira Costa so the homies think I'm getting white/Hit the beach at day/Then I'm back at 65th at night." Just hearing that lets us know Cozz is very confident in who he is not only as an artist, but as a person.
Confident enough that you have to be reminded that Cozz is only 21-years old after settling into the album. On the first track, "Dreams", Cozz shows his lyrical prowess with images as vivid as a young Ghostface Killah. Furthermore, on this intro track he opens up about the pain en route to becoming rich in a way that's as poetic as it is sincere. That confidence extends itself throughout the rest of the album.
"Come Get It" discusses the other side of Los Angeles, beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Cozz strives to bring soul to this record, and has a few hard lines. "Cody Macc" takes the cake though, especially when it comes to confidence & swag. A personal favorite: "Name a nigga better than me, you ain't got one/ I ain't got to tell you that I'm sick, I let the snot run/I was poppin on Twitter before a nigga even got one." When he tells you it's his time to shine and drops bar after bar of fire, you have no choice but to believe him, and envision it for yourself.
"I'm the Man" picks up where "Cody Macc" left off, with a more personal touch, and a bit more authenticity. "Knock the Hustle" might be the most heartfelt track on the album. "Knock The Hustle" really shows the extent of his confidence despite the pain in midst of his struggle: "Plus I got enough degrees anyway/Check my Fahrenheit you see the charts on the table/Fuck getting signed by/we probably start a label/Fuck getting mine, I'm trying to feed the table."
"Western Ave Slaves" features Enimal on the hook. Cozz smoothes his flow out a bit on this somber-sounding song. This one is for all those afflicted by tragedy, poverty, and mental slavery as Cozz alludes to witnessing on the legendary Los Angeles Street, Western Ave. "Murda" has a bit different tone from previous tracks, more in the spirit of old G-Unit mixtape tracks, however Cozz brings his brilliance, intellect, and energy to match.
"DKBU" is rage up music, best listened to when you want to get turnt. "LSN" featuring Free Ackrite provides interesting commentary on the perils of his relationships with women, yet this record is lacking something, the tracks where Cozz showcase his confidence stand out more. He brings more of that confident swag back, though, for the record "Ya Know Dat", just not to the same extent as "Cody Macc" or "I'm the Man".
Importantly, Cozz holds his own on the last couple tracks that feature his labelmates Bas and J. Cole. While J. Cole did kill the "Knock Tha Hustle" Remix, Cozz warms the track up nicely for his Dreamville King, who definitely went ham and showed us all mastery at work.
Cozz has a lot of upside, and proves he is as fine a wordsmith as any other young rapper in the game on Cozz & Effect. We're looking forward to him exhibit a bit more range as an artist, as can only come with more life experiences. It's a solid project if you're a fan of raw lyrical ability. Cozz definitely represented J. Cole's label well, as Cozz is a rapper's rapper, a hip-hop purist, with the whole world at his fingertips. Should Cozz continue to grow as an artist, and maintain his passion for the sport of rapping that he exudes on this debut release, he may have a long career in the rap game.