Fire Starter: Bound To Blow
Kevin Cossom is the man, and you probably don't even know it yet. The 24-year-old has been penning hooks for a while, including R. Kelly's choruses on Young Jeezy's "Go Getta," Beanie Sigel's "All of the Above" and Rick Ross' "Speedin'."
Cossom — who has also written hooks for Akon ("One") and T-Pain ("Cash Flow") — is enjoying his greatest accomplishment as a writer on Keri Hilson's "Knock You Down."
"It's an honor, man," Cossom said in between working on vocals for new Def Jam signee Adrienne Bailon in a New York studio. "My first placement was 'Go Getta.' When that happened, it was crazy, because Kelly is one of the, if not the, most influential writers in R&B of my era coming up. It's an honor for him to sing something I wrote knowing he could have written something as well. It also gave me a new level of confidence. If people I look up to in the game — such as Akon, T-Pain, Robin Thicke — like it, I'm going to be OK."
The Orlando-by-way-of-Philadelphia writer said Danja sent Polow Da Don the vocals for "Knock You Down." The record was originally made for a dude, but Polow felt the song was perfect for Ms. Keri.
"I didn't hear anything about the record for a couple of months, and Danja came and was like, 'Keri cut the record,' " Cossom recalled. "I was like, 'OK, all right.' I wanted to hear it. By the time I got a chance to hear it, Ne-Yo had gotten on it. I felt it could be a major record. After that, Kanye jumped on it. It wasn't in the plan; it just happened. I don't think anybody imagined that would happen. I got my first #1 record — #1 Urban, #3 Hot 100."
With his lyrical skill established behind the scenes, Cossom is ready to step into the light by embarking on a recording career of his own. He's signed to Danja's imprint N.A.R.S. (New Age Rock Stars)/ Jive Records. He had a major alley-oop on Rick Ross' "Usual Suspects." The Bawse gave him a chance to sing his own hook.
"That's definitely the family, man," he said about working with Ross and DJ Khaled. "But I haven't got a chance to get in the studio yet with Ross and collaborate with him. It'll be me and the producers. Like the 'Usual Suspects' joint, when they told me Ross was working on his album, Khaled, the Runners and the Inkredibles all sent me tracks, and I did the 'Usual Suspects' joint. I was in Orlando when I did it. I never worked directly with him, but I did meet him.
"A few of the records, [Ross] hit me up to say, 'I'm feeling this' or 'I need something with this vibe.' He's definitely a cool cat, real laid-back. He understood I was making the transition from writer to artist, so he gave me the opportunity to stay on 'Usual Suspects.' "
Last year, Cossom dropped his mixtape Pre Album and hopes to put the real album out this year. He's playing with a few different ideas for the title.
"The album is basically relationships — being in them, being out of them, men cheating, women cheating, what everybody goes through," Cossom explained. "Trying to sum that up in an album title and this being my first album is kinda tough. I don't want to name it the wrong thing and be boring, like make it self-titled. The first single we're gonna push is this joint called 'Relax.' Within the next few weeks, we're gonna go hard. It's a crazy record, a club joint. We've been working on this album for a while, but behind my schedule and Danja's schedule, sometimes it was hard to lock out time. I've been in L.A. since January trying to get it done, and I'm close to getting it done now."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Rick Ross is working on album number four, and the title is Teflon Don. The Bawse told us exclusively in Atlanta during the Birthday Bash concert that it's only right he reflect on his bulletproof success on his next project.
"You gotta understand, I feel like I overcame so many things," Ross said before he got onstage for the show. "Not only in music, but in my everyday life — being a young black man, being an entrepreneur, being a father. I learned a lot of things. I'm turning right around, putting it back into music. It's still a lot of things I deal with. Still a lot of negativity. That's what it is, and that's why I feel the title of my next studio album is so appropriate."
Ross said we'll get the CCC (Carol City Cartel) album Custom Cars and Cycles before his solo record. The collective just put out a remix video for "Yacht Club," and the official single is coming in July. Deeper Than Rap is far from done, though. The next official single is slated to be "Maybach Music 2," and a video will be ready as soon as he can get T-Pain, Kanye West and Lil Wayne's schedules to line up.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.