New York City Independent hip hop label, QN5 Music, has signed Washington, DC’s Grammy-nominated emcee/singer/producer, Kokayi, to its official stable of innovative artists and producers.
Pronounced “Ko-Kah-Yee” (or KOKE for short), this 202-native takes his name from the Swahili word meaning “to summon the people”. Musically self-sufficient and versatile in ways that the QN5 roster is known for, he produces his own music, writes his own rhymes, sings from the gut and is self-taught on several instruments.
A prime example of QN5’s New Hip Hop aesthetic, Kokayi joins the label as an in-house producer and artist who will release the sophomore follow-up to his independently released 2007 debut Mass Instructions. On his own, he’s already managed to tour the world and snag the aforementioned Grammy nod for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for his collaboration with vocalist Wayna.
What’s equally impressive, is his prolific output. Kokayi is keeping busy on multiple fronts with appearances on forthcoming QN5-releases as well as several side-projects already in the works – including a joint-project with producer Sharkey entitled Dastardly and a full-length project with his Afropunk band, The Caesarz. This high level of productivity goes a long way to prove his self-proclaimed mantra of “Less Talk, More Walk”.
“Honestly I pour everything out on a song. It allows me to free myself from any inhibitions,” Kokayi says of his approach to music. “If I can move people that say they don’t like hip hop, than I know my job is done.”
“I’ve always been extremely proud of the roster I’ve assembled under the QN5 banner and I’m highly selective of who we work with – but when I heard Kokayi’s Mass Intructions album, I was floored,” says QN5 label founder, Tonedeff. “This is a cat who seamlessly blends genres without so much as flinching and brings his own unique sound, slang and vibe to the table. His talent won’t allow him to play by the rules, so QN5 is definitely the perfect place for him.”