An Interview With Jewish Rap Superstar Kosha Dillz

Whether you know him as Kosha Dill, KD Flow, or Kosha Dillz, it is important to note that the Chosen People’s chosen rapper is wise beyond his years, or maybe just wise enough. Rami Matan Even-Esh, stage name Kosha Dillz, was born and raised in New Jersey and during his time at Rutgers University, he was a member of their D-1 wrestling team in addition to studying English.

In his past, he was infamous for pushing the limits and boundaries, however, many years ago, he realized something – perhaps the secret to being a successful artist – and truly took it to heart: “you form a connection one fan at a time.”

The multiple stage names are a direct result from Rami not wanting to associate with his religion. He notes that he was “pretty embarrassed” coming out of lock-up after some run-ins with the law, but came out one hundred percent commitment to pursuing his rap career, realizing that “Kosha Dillz” was a distinctive name. “I kind of wanted to get back to my roots and now people reach out to me based on my name.” In early 2000, Rami started battling in the underground rap scene in New York, “performing at all of the underground spots, which then quickly became going to the NJ scene, then the Midwest, and then beyond.” Touring by himself for a while helped him grow as a person but “free-styling with bands has taken things to a new level.”

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Rami realized the importance of having a good relationship with others in the music industry, and however many years ago it was, it happened in South Dakota. He weaseled his way into a show in South Dakota with Murs and followed him to Omaha, which, lets just say, went pretty badly. “You get one chance to make a good impression. I’m known for pushing the limit and boundaries, which prevented me from working with Murs for a while. But it’s all about playing your cards right and pushing the limit.” It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, but he notes that you become very aware of how quickly people judge, and how you feel like you have to meet expectations because people are watching you even when you don’t know it.

His perseverance and exposure from free-styling directly resulted in being able to reconnect the dots and build a positive relationship with Belief and Murs. “Others in the industry really recommended me [to Murs].” Patience is key, and as cliché as it sounds, relationships are important.

His discography includes notable releases within the last eight years. In 2006, he collaborated with Matisyahu on the song “Childhood” on the C-Rayz Walz album The Dropping. In 2008, C-Rayz Walz and Kosha Dillz released the album Freestyle vs. Written with the label Modular Moods; Kosha Dillz rapped written versus and Walz free-styled. In 2009, Dillz released a debut solo album Beverly Dillz, produced by Belief again on Modular Moods. In 2011, he released the EP album Gina & the Garage Sale and most recently, he dropped his second solo album Awkward In a Good Way on Murs 316; Murs and producer Belief assisted in shaping the feel of the album.

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His writing process differs from rap to rap; it all depends when inspiration strikes. Whether it is hand written, typing on the computer, making a note in his phone, or scribbling on a notepad, his inspiration gets written down. If inspiration strikes during studio time, he freestyles for a while, then adds melodies and then the hooks. Studio time brings up intense emotions, which makes for inspired freestyles. Each album is created by a different process: “sometimes we collaborate on an album, sometimes we create beats from scratch, and sometimes we have skeletons and then add the flesh.” With regards to producing beats, “I leave that to the professionals. I’ve grown to what I like, and have grown accustomed to the new digital vibes, and full instruments.” He notes that keyboard and synth are his favorite, but he loves a dusty MP3. Like any successful artist, he invests time and money into his raps; he notes the importance of getting the most length out of the rap, or album.

Every artist approaches the stage differently and has a different stage presence. Dillz recently landed a major performance at Madison Square Garden in NYC and a slot on next summer’s Warped Tour. “I usually freak out right before I take the stage, but once I get out there and work really hard to get the crowd hyped, they start nodding to it and all is good.”

He continues, “The first big tour/festival I was involved in was Festival of Life with Matisyahu. Ten years ago I was with Matisyahu, and now, here I am, ten years later, with my own show. Apparently they were right when they said, ‘It takes ten years to be a great success.’” Kosha Dillz is referring to his upcoming Warped Tour dates with performances running from June through August. Warped is an opportunity to reach new fans and to build a new following of respect for the music.

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“I’m so happy that I made the original mistake with Murs because now I get to make new friends and rock a dope stage. Extra fans means extra family. It’s really hard to find a tight knit group of people.”

Rami’s advice to other artists is to try to collaborate with everyone, try to make friends, and build good relationships. The right answer is to support other people. There are so many good artists out there but being a good person is crucial.  “I believe in helping other people, because people helped me.”

Follow on Twitter @koshadillz

photos by Amelia Burns and Todd Westphal

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1 Comment

  1. mary

    January 9, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Very interesting read. Been following Kosha Dillz for a while. I met him two years ago in Boston at the Matisyahu Festival of Lights show. He’s very genuine and friendly and one of the nicest performers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He’s hilarious too, sharing stories about how and what inspired some of his songs. He has such a great stage presence. To anyone reading this, I highly suggest you take the opportunity to go see him perform and definitely buy his album Awkward in a Good Way. It’s an excellent album. Check him out on YouTube too to see him freestyle. I’ve never seen anyone freestyle like him. Very impressive and cool.

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