In mid-May, upcoming Brooklyn-bred rapper, Kota the Friend released his official debut album, ‘Foto’ on all platforms. After a few undistracted listens, I found that this is one of the most well-rounded debut hip-hop albums that I’ve heard in a long time. This album is a briefcase of clever lyrics mixed with modern-day cookout vibes. The album begins with a monologue from who sounds like the favorite old head in your family, and immediately gives this piece a different feel. From Track 1 you can tell that he treated this album with a different level of detail.
From there, the main content on the album consist of reflecting on his past relationships, remembrance of his late family members, and general advice on life (all relatable topics). This gives this body of work layers of good wisdom - like say a Common would. But this is most interesting coming from a 26-year old.
His bars alone are dope, but his lyrics combined with his production is what makes this album something to pay attention to. If I could describe the production on this album, I’d have to use words like nostalgic and pure. A lot of the beats on here come from organic instrumentation along with samples, which gives it a sound well above most music out right now.
What else makes this album unique is the sense of concept. Kota made sure he gave us a handful of visuals to back up his body of work. Each video he creates has its own distinction because of the consistent template he uses. Kota was brilliant enough to add subtitles to all of his videos as a branding technique, and it works perfect for him. He also took his time to create his own video filter that he uses in every video, giving him another signature way to stand out.
The last major concept that comes from him is the album name, ‘Foto’. This is a play on the word “Photo” in which is the theme of this album. In a recent interview Kota explained how he created this name for the album because he wants it to be similar to a photo album - where you can flip through it and attach to different moments in his growth. Genius if you ask me.
My favorite songs on the album are: Church, Sedona, Chicago Diner, and For Colored Boys.