On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN were joined by Florida’s own Kodak Black, who offered some real spill on the build of his respected discography, some of his headline-worthy moments over time and more.
What Kodak Black has accomplished so far as a 26-year-old rapper is nothing short of grand. Born Dieuson Octave in Pompano Beach, Florida, his music career started back in grade school where he would freestyle and record songs for fun. Around middle school, he unloaded his first solo effort Project Baby (2013) and continued to release new music on a consistent basis throughout his teenage years with a potent effort that led to songs like “No Flockin’,” “Skrilla” and “Skrt” blowing up on a mainstream level, which established him as a leading street scribe in the rap game.
Recent tracks like “Super Gremlin” and a number of standout collaborations alongside Kendrick Lamar on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers helped cement a new slate for Yak over the last couple of years. As the moment, Kodak has 20 platinum plaques between singles and projects, 42 appearances on the Hot 100 (with four reaching the top 10) and millions of day-one fans who see the magic in his true-to-life storytelling, arsenal of melodies and signature slurred delivery.
In a rare moment of reflection, Kodak details the ups and downs of his journey on the latest episode of “Drink Champs.” Below are nine major takeaways from his recent interview. Scroll down to check them out and peep the full video here.
1. On the idea of going independent
N.O.R.E. questioned if a label was really necessary for a proven artist like Yak. He confirmed that he is in fact pro-label, but still keeps the family close when it comes to his business. “You need that machine, because I already do a whole lot of s**t on my own anyway. So that [going independent] would just be a whole lot of more s**t,” he said. “I’m overly active. I beat my feet. I ain’t never had no manager or none of that s**t. It’s just me and my people.”
2. On being pardoned by Donald Trump in 2021
In January 2021, Former United States President Donald Trump chose to pardon 143 convicts on his final full day in office. That list of people included rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who was serving time for providing false information to purchase firearms.
When asked about his connection to Trump and how the clemency came about, Yak joked, “I’m mafioso, bruh” before chalking their bond up to sharing a zodiac sign. “He a Gemini just like me. His birthday [is] three days after my sh*t. And that boy, he be vibing out here too [in Florida].” Then, N.O.R.E. asked Kodak if he would give Trump $1 million if needed to which the rapper responded without hesitation, “Of course.”
3. On taking shots at T.I. and Big Boi on “The Breakfast Club”
When Kodak was asked to pick between UGK and OutKast, he chose the latter with the exception of Big Boi. Why? Because according to Yak, Big Boi and T.I. tried to get him kicked off of his previous label, Atlantic Records. Kodak went on to recite a freestyle from a February 2022 appearance on “The Breakfast Club” where he briefly addressed the situation.
“N**gas trying to play me out my money/Made a general statement I was speaking in third-person/They tried to twist the s**t and hurt me/Snatching off food from my table/T.I. and Big Boi tried to get me kicked up off the label,” he rapped in real-time.
It’s worth noting that last year, T.I. commented on the matter via Instagram. “I don’t care what record label you signed to. I don’t care how much money you have. I ain’t trying to interfere with none of that,” he said. Tip also mentioned that he saw Kodak in person after that, dapped him up and wished him the best.
4. On his connection to C-Murder and Monica
Kodak Black previewed an unreleased song with C-Murder during his interview on “Drink Champs.” The No Limit soldier has been incarcerated for over 20 years now — far before Kodak even started rapping. So, how did the collaboration come together? “I done met them boys’ whole family and s**t,” he said referring to the Millers. “And then bruh still f**ked with me even after Master P ain’t finish off what we was ‘bout to start.”
After Kodak and Monica were spotted with each other last year, dating rumors began to swirl around. The famed R&B singer shut that down in a tweet. But Kodak also let it be known that his connection to her came through none other than his bond with C-Murder.
5. The backstory behind some of his biggest hits
No matter how a song is billed, the source of it could be from anywhere. Take, for example, French Montana’s multi-platinum-selling hit “Lockjaw.” N.O.R.E. said he heard a rumor that the song was gifted to French by Kodak, to which Yak responded, “Yeah, just like I gave that ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’ to King Combs.”
N.O.R.E. shockingly said, “You out here just giving out hits.” Kodak shook his head in agreement, winked, and received a round of applause for his contributions to the culture. Furthermore, Kodak dispelled the logic behind other smashes like “No Flockin’” and “Super Gremlin,” and made it known that he doesn’t stand for indulging in drugs regardless of some of his previously used themes and lyrics.
Lastly, Kodak said there aren’t any ill feelings toward Cardi B, who flipped “No Flockin’” into her diamond-selling hit “Bodak Yellow” in 2017. “If Cardi B win, I win/Cardi B won, I won,” Kodak rapped on the spot, taking lyrics from his 2018 song “Free Cool Pt. 2.”
6. On working with Kendrick Lamar’s for Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
Kodak Black made multiple appearances on Kendrick Lamar’s chart-topping album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. His voice was heard on tracks like “Worldwide Steppers,” “Rich (Interlude),” “Mirror” and, of course, the fan favorite “Silent Hill.”
Yak opened up about his relationship with K. Dot and how their string of collaborations came to life. “I guess he f**ks with me,” Kodak said. He also said that they recorded all of the songs in the studio together and that Lamar “stands on his s**t” in regard to keeping his word.
7. On his connection to the late PnB Rock
Kodak Black’s first deal at Atlantic Records in the mid 2010s came about through the label’s former A&R Orlando Wharton, who also signed A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and PnB Rock around that same time. All of the aforementioned artists collaborated with each other. When N.O.R.E. asked about Kodak and PnB’s “Too Many Years,” Yak got candid about his friendship with the fallen melodist.
“Long live PnB, dawg,” he began. “I f**k with PnB though, because he was fresh out around that time too, right? … So both of us [were] just coming in and s**t.” The musicians went on to join forces for other songs like “Horses” with A Boogie and “Day One” in 2017.