Cozz is a necessary reminder that real hip hop, with substance, is not only appreciated but it’s here to stay. Not only is the Nothing Personal rapper signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville label — a feat that speaks for itself — he’s vulnerable and wears his heart on his sleeve with each release.

For those who aren’t aware, Cozz represents for Los Angeles, California, where he was born and raised. Exploding on to the scene with original rhymes that mirror and speak volumes about real-life circumstances, the West Coast spitter unleashed his debut project titled Cozz and Effect in 2014. Four years later, he delivered Effected. In 2021, Cozz was featured on two songs on Revenge of the Dreamers III: “LamboTruck” with Reason and Childish Major; as well as “1993” with J. Cole, JID, EarthGang, Buddy, and Smino.

Fast forward to today, the star’s lyrical vulnerability has only increased as he gifted fans his first project in years. Clocking in at nine tracks, the Fortunate EP includes lead singles “Cry,” “Addicted” and “Control Problems” featuring YG.

REVOLT caught up with Cozz in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his come-up, new project Fortunate, his forthcoming album, and more! Read below.

Bring us back to 2013 when you were sleeping in your car.

Oh man, I was a different guy. That was a dude who didn’t have a lot of self-control, I didn’t know myself completely, I was figuring it out. I was young and going through things. How old was I in 2013? I had to have been 18 or 19, back-and-forth between my mom’s and my dad’s. Me and both of them never got along so it was a lot of nights where I slept in the car, just figuring shit out. I had a lot of days where I was sleeping in the studio. I was damn near homeless for a minute… I was living with my boy Meez, still my boy. I was living with him and his family, then I was living with my boy Dion for a little bit too. It was a little period of time… a different kid… drinking 40s everyday, scraping up change to drink 40s. Get away from the bullshit.

Who were you listening to that helped you cope?

At that specific time, I was a big Kendrick fan. Through that time, I was listening to A$AP Rocky. That’s when he was blowing up. I was fucking with his whole style, it was new. I love original shit, even though he did a remix thing with the Houston thing, I was listening to Wiz, then my old school shit of course like Biggie Smalls. A lot of Pac as well, the list goes on.

Your new EP, Fortunate, is out now. I know you’ve been working on this for a minute right?

Yeah, that one for sure, but I have so much music done. I’ve been working on multiple projects for a minute — Fortunate is the first step of many. Pretty soon, I’m about to drop another EP. Top of the year, 2022, we coming. A lot of them songs on Fortunate came from a very vulnerable, deep place that I want people to really take heed to. For people to realize that was the beginning of where my album’s going.

Why are you Fortunate? That’s a very powerful title.

Lots of reasons. For one, I’m alive. I think that’s the main reason, I’m still alive. There’s a lot of things I went through. Everything that could have killed me didn’t kill me and, instead, made me stronger. I still got a lot of work to do in terms of flaws and character building, but that’s the first step. I’m still able to use my voice to inspire and to give myself an outlet. I never really had an outlet to get my shit out, my pain, my story out, so I’m fortunate for that. I’m very fortunate for the supporters because I’ve been quiet for a minute. Shout out to them for still even listening and having some type of relevance to this motherfucker. A lot.

What were you going through recording “Cry”?

Oh man, I shed tears writing “Cry.” Literal tears. I heard the beat and the beat felt just right for that subject matter. I remember writing both of those verses very fast (snaps). I took 15 to 20 minutes recording that song — it was very quick. I was thinking about my situation and at that time, I was growing as a human. Growing as a person. When you grow and evolve, you have to attack those thoughts of “Why am I feeling this? Why am I angry?” That’s one of the subject matters I had to approach. At that time, damn what a perfect time to approach this.

Who told you it wasn’t okay to cry?

Man, society. How I grew up (laughs). I never seen my dad cry until I got way older. He’s a Nigerian so he’s super rough. My mom’s super rough — she’s damn near like a man too. I’ve only seen my sister cry once. Society is a factor too… it’s looked down upon. Especially in the ‘hood, we’re taught to thug it out, fight it out… be mad instead of sad. We gon’ fight, we’re taught to show every other emotion except for pain and crying. As I got older, man that shit isn’t healthy. When I started crying and letting shit out, letting my emotions flow, the more I felt better. It’s like throwing up when you’re drinking. When you throw up, you’re like, “Damn I feel better (laughs).” When you feel all that pain you bottle up, then you cry, you’re like, “I feel a little better now. I feel good. I let that shit the fuck out.” I felt it, I owned it.

I recently saw Rihanna crying while performing “Love The Way You Lie.” How was it performing these sounds at Rolling Loud in Los Angeles?

It wasn’t emotional for me at Rolling Loud, it was more of a turn-up situation and the setting. But on a personal show, when it’s my show and it’s a personal setting, it’ll be a little bit more emotional when I have the chance to talk. I had my 15 to 20 minutes, so I had to hurry and get through songs. I was thinking about getting in and out. Especially with COVID going on, plus with the Travis situation, Rolling Loud wasn’t as accommodating as Rolling Loud usually is. I mean shout out to Rolling Loud, but I was just trying to get in and out. I was numb to that situation, I didn’t even think about it like that. That was my first time performing a lot of the new records.

Love your song “Addicted.” What are your addictions?

The whole project, the whole EP is about recognizing what my issue is and growing from it. Learning from it. “Addicted” is definitely a strong point of that situation. I’m able to be self-aware and recognize what my addictions are. That’s the first step of growth: Looking back at yourself. “Well shit, what are my problems?” If you can’t do that, you’re never going to fix the shit. Addiction is that, it’s also letting people know we’re all on the same boat. Whether we’re all addicted to something good or bad, we’re all human. We all got our shit, we all got our vices. What can we do? All we can do is learn from it.

How do you cope?

Whew. Music is a good one, it’s a healthy one. Two: I be drinking and shit. Not a healthy one, but that was my way for a long time. I’ve been drinking since I was 15, it’s not healthy. That’s something I talk about on the song and I’m doing a lot less of, but I still do it for my anxiety. I got to find healthier ways. I got my healthy ways, and I got my bad ways.

“Control Problems” featuring YG… banger! How did this collab come about?

He did his thing, he killed his part. My n*gga YG! Man, I’ve known YG for years, literally since 2014. We were on the same tour, we was on the 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour. Me and my boys used to kick it because he’s from Compton, I’m from LA. We’re the only West Coast people on that tour. We used to go to his shit ‘cause Cole at that time wasn’t really partying. We were young, we were 21. YG’s a little older than us, so we used to go with him and his people to party. We got cool like that.

That collab, he did that shit on the fly — I needed a feature and I had him in mind, so he was down. Very easy. The song’s about me, but it’s also about other people too. Most n*ggas I know got control problems, but I have control problems too. Now I’m trying to live life — not to be cliché, but very literal, I try to let God handle my shit. Let God take the wheel type of shit. Some shit out of my power, fuck it (claps). I’ma let God take the wheel on that.

What’s your faith in God?

Shit, everything really (laughs). I believe in God, I believe in a higher power. I’m not super religious or nothing though. I don’t go to church and no shit like that, but I pray and I do believe in a higher power. Speaking about higher power, there’s a song called “Higher Power.” No pun intended.

You said this project is literally the first step of the staircase. Can you elaborate?

This is the first step of the staircase, I got a lot more shit. I’ve been quiet, as far as solo projects, since 2018. It’s the first step of the staircase, the top of the staircase is going to make sense once the album comes. I’m not going to say the name yet, but there’s a name already. There’s a lead up to it, so this is just the first step. This is boom, I’m back. With this project, you see the growth. You see where my head is at a little bit. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do, this is the first step back. We’re gonna keep pushing this, boom. Sooner or later, we’ll be ready for the second EP. We’re going to keep pushing.

Being signed to Dreamville, what’s the process? Do you play it for Cole before it drops?

Nah, to be honest. He wasn’t really too involved at all. He was involved in the “Fortunate” beat, he was very invested in that. I mean he’s heard the songs and he loved them. He told me how he felt about them once upon a time, but I haven’t heard from him as far as the project goes. He’s busy too, he’s working too. He’s also an artist.

And he’s hooping…

He’s hooping, he’s a busy man so I totally understand. We haven’t had the talks yet, but he hit me after the project with some great news. Some things I can’t say, but nah he’s definitely listening and I know he fucks with it. As far as the process goes, it was me. I made the order. I just took control of that shit.

Most meaningful song?

That’s tough. “Cry” or “Fortunate” are two of the most meaningful, personal songs. They all have meanings to them but when I listen to “Cry,” like really listen, it makes me really want to cry ’cause it’s deeper. I didn’t even — I scratched the surface with the verses. I got detailed, but not as detailed as people… it’s much deeper than that. Me knowing that I cried when I heard it, my brother cried when he heard it, my mom cried when she heard it, it’s deeper than that. “Fortunate” as well because “Fortunate” is speaking on a life or death situation, which I really had. Me being really grateful for being here because I knew we’ve been close.

It’s 2022. Any New Year’s resolutions?

I wouldn’t say New Year’s resolutions, but I got some goals and it so happens to be leading into the new year (laughs). Keep pumping this music, no breaks, you feel me? Keep going, stay consistent — and that’s with everything. Stay consistent with the music, stay consistent with the gym, stay consistent with the mental growth and health. Just get shit going, I want to top every year. I want to keep growing pretty much, in every aspect.