You Are Ketchup
The commodification of Black culture in the music industry has created a marketplace that prioritizes branding over talent. DC hip-hop legend Kokayi has sustained a music career for decades by being open to innovation, honoring mutually respectful relationships, and preserving reverence for his original musical influences. These are among the insights Kokayi shares with up-and-coming creatives in his autobiography You are Ketchup.Kokayi offers a candid and wide-eyed look at the industry and uses the metaphor of the popular, mass-produced condiment to drive a point about defining your flavor and differentiating one’s art from others
Hip-hop is among my generation’s significant contributions to music. Black artists invented the genre, evolving influences from jazz, go-go, funk, soul, R&B, and other Black musical innovations. Grammy-nominated Kokayi shares experiences and observations of the hip-hop industry from the lens of a musician who chose to curate his unique sound amid the pressure of creating marketable music. This book is a must-read for any creative or hip-hop enthusiast who wants an honest account of what it took to be an independent artist before the age of Internet sensations and social media influencers. Kokayi is the real deal, and his staying power in an often-fickle, the youth-oriented industry is a testament to his ability to remain relevant and keep the beats fresh.
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