Hnst Talk: Kody Free


by Darius Mullin @iamdariusmullin

With a unique and raw style, hip-hop artist Kody Free is beginning to create a bit of a buzz.



In the wake of a name change and a comeback double single, we got the opportunity to talk with Kody Free about his artistic journey: past, present, and future.

First, Kody talked about how he became acquainted with CHH and the way he interacts with the subgenre:

“Pretty much what happened was I gave up secular music for Lent a few years ago (I'm Catholic and we do that) and I ended up linking with some artists in CHH that I had been listening to. When I began to be able to make good music, I had people to send it to in the genre.”

“I don't really claim any genre. I go as I'm called to go. So yes, I'm CHH, but I'm more than just that. I make honest art. That is my true genre. So, I don't know if my journey is quite done yet.”

Kody went on to talk about what he hopes listeners get from his music:

“I hope they get the truth. That's it. I make honest music. I hope if they see me struggling and joyful through it that they can be too. I hope they can see that you don't have to be like everyone else to be loved and accepted. I hope they can see the bigger picture and see that the nice things in the world pale in comparison to love and being loved.”

That’s real stuff. You can hear that passion in his double single, Consciousness / Overnight. The two songs are his first release in more than a year, and he had a lot of fellow artists pressuring him for new content during that interim.
We were able to get a peek into the rapper’s creative process, as well as how long “Consciousness” and “Overnight” were in the works before their release.

“My creative process just kind of happens. I don't know how to explain it. I was kind of feeling myself when I wrote the hook and first verse of ‘Overnight,’ but I was really into this girl that is now one of my best friends. I wrote it really fast and made the beat and everything then forgot about it for a while. Finally got around to finishing it when I had a free second in the Newman Center at my college. I had just gotten back from home, and the Center was empty. It was just me and the microphone. It just came to me.”

“I got the beat for ‘Consciousness’ last summer from reid. I started writing and couldn't for the longest time. In October I was really in my feelings about a girl that kept leaving me on open, so I wrote that about her. I also really loved Mac Miller, so that hurt from his death penetrated the song as well.”

“They've been in the works for probably a year or so before they were released. They were actually going to be part of a bigger project, but I had to scrap it”

Kind of makes us wonder if we’ll ever get a chance to hear any of the other music from that scrapped project. (FiveTwenty's own @EricBoston3 was able to listen to these songs and it was one of the very first pieces published on the site. Check out his thoughts on the unreleased project here.)

Speaking of things that no longer exist, we couldn’t go this whole interview without asking about the transition from Kode Red to Kody Free. The artist broke down the meaning behind his new stage name, as well as his motive for changing it:

“My artist name is separated into two parts. The first is ‘Kody,’ which is what my mom wanted to name me. I've always been kind of an outsider as Ryan, so the name Kody essentially asks the question, ‘What if I were someone else? How would that turn out?’”

“The ‘Free’ part has a lot of symbolism behind it as well. I originally got the idea thinking about Matthew 18:12-15 where Jesus is talking as the Good Shepherd. He leaves the 99 for the one. I started thinking about which group is actually free, the 99 or the one. Really, the world thinks that the one is free. But it's left to survival instead of thriving. Those that thrive are the ones truly free. And the only way we can thrive is through Jesus.”

“It's also a testament to the kind of artist I want to be. I don't consider myself CHH, or rap, pop, rock, jazz, country, or any genre. I want to be free. I want to be free to be myself and I want to be free in Christ.”

“I decided to change the name for a lot of the same reasons. I didn't want to be seen as a rapper and only a rapper. I wanted to be able to sing and do things that are unexpected. Also, there were a few problems with my old artist name of Kode Red. First, it was already on Spotify: I wanted a fresh start. Second, it was gang affiliated with the Bloods. I was never a part of it, but I really didn't want to have it anymore partially because of that. Third, there is already a Catholic rapper in my circles that is somewhat established, and I didn't want to get us confused. He's super dope.”

Finally, we asked Kody what he has in store for the future:

“Working on a lot of things. Definitely, want to get a project done soon and release that for everyone. Lots of surprises in store. Might drop something soon ‘cause I need the confidence to talk to people though.”

Sounds like Kody’s got a lot in store for us in the future. For now, make sure to stream/purchase Consciousness / Overnight now on all outlets!




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