Kodak black is the strangest thing about the music industry. Kodak Black is a multimillionaire artist, his music is critically and commercially successful, he has multiple platinum singles and yet he’s spent every year since his XXL appearance as a freshman back in 2016, in jail. Every single one. He was even in jail during the release of the XXL videos on YouTube. And despite what Kodak appears like on the surface he’s actually fairly intelligent in his lyrics. Kodak is arguably one of the most honest and introspective mainstream rappers out.
Kodak is in the upper echelon of younger trap artists yet he still releases singles like Testimony and Malcolm X.X.X. that discuss much heavier content than we’re used to from modern trap artists in his level of notoriety. I’d say his peer group are The Migos, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi, 21 Savage and the rest of the 2016 XXL alumni. Not many of the other artists are as introspective and honest as Kodak in their music and the ones that are, aren’t as popular or successful as Kodak. Kodak Black occupies his own lane in music in accordance to his popularity levels, age and content.
So why is this successful, seemingly intelligent kid always in jail? If you listen to him, he’s very aware of his life situation. And he has been for a long time. In songs like “Ambition” that came out when Kodak was only 14 years old, he raps the lines:
“I’m 14 And Already Thinking About Death” And: “I grew up lookin' up to niggas that be on the corner
I can't stop cause if I stop then I'ma dissapoint 'em
Niggas hate but I ain't worried, no I ain't worried bout 'em
My only goal is to keep courage and to make it out the bottom”.
He talks about having ambitions and wanting to overcome the life that he felt he was destined for. This systematically forged box that institutionalized many young black men. Kodak is our generations ODB.
It’s obvious that Kodak knows better than he’s doing and his voice is that of overcoming obstacle so it’s a universal story. Kodak Black is telling our stories and it’s making life difficult for him. Kodak Black is a glitch in the entertainment industry. Amidst rappers from suburbs across the world that pretend to be billionaire trappers and shooters, Kodak is really about that life. Kodak is really from the hoods in Florida, he really is a project baby that is trapped in the street. Kodak is proof of how deep the institutionalization is. We can all sit here and say Kodak has enough money and he can get out of the street but by doing that we’d be ignoring a decade of character development.
Kodak Black is the hood Michael Jackson. He was put in the studio as a child and his first song came out in 2009 titled “I Go” where he sings with a couple of older guys inside a studio. Just like Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5 since he was 5. Kodak’s been a rapper for almost 11 years now and now at 22 years old, he has enough catalogue for you to get an idea of what his life was.
His life is littered with trauma and darkness told in modern day slave hymns. Stories of dead friends and desperation at age 14. Kodak Black is not a unique story, he’s just a famous example. It’s easy to dismiss him now that he’s rich but we’d be taking out the human element of this kid. That's what Hillary Clinton was trying to do when she said “They are often the kinds of kids that are called 'super-predators,' " in 1996, at the height of anxiety during her husband's administration about high rates of crime and violence. "No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel." And that's how lawmakers, police and other officials see black kids which gives them leeway to murder 12 year olds and give 16 year olds 50 years in jail, by taking out the human element.
Kodak Black is the butterfly from Kendrick Lamar’s poem at the end of ‘Mortal Man’ on ‘To Pimp A Butterly’. The light in Kodak was visible from the start and he was pimped by his environment so they can all make it out of the gutter. Just like Michaels dad saw an opportunity in him, the streets saw an opportunity in Kodak. He was bred to be the cash cow. But when the fame and money arrived it didn’t remove the pain, loss and trauma of the past 20 years. Tay K-47 was given 50 years in jail, XXXTentacion, Nipsey Hussle and Smoke Dawg were murdered in their hometowns. And yet Kodak is catching a gun charge like his life doesn’t depend on having a gun. If anyone needs a gun it would be someone with reason to believe that people will kill him for what he possesses. X and Kodak are both from Florida and X was murdered in a robbery gone wrong.
Now Kodak is in jail again. Kodak isn’t a suburban dude, he’s not stupid, he doesn’t love jail, and he’s not unique. Kodak is a cactus that grew from the concrete, he grew but he’s still a cactus.
Kodak Black makes some of the best rap music of our generation but we’ll miss out on prime years of his talent because, America. Kodak Black is a less famous, more hood version of Michael Jackson. They were both bred for entertainment greatness since their youth. They were both hardened by their environments, Michael Jackson by his abusive dad and Kodak by the streets that raised him. They both achieved levels of success unseen where they’re from and they were both haunted by their childhood trauma. Michael Jackson by his unhealthy infatuation for children due to not having a childhood and Kodak Black being trapped by the streets he once called home and continue to lead him to jail. They’re both actively crucified by the media despite saying some real shit from time to time.
“Ayy, blood in my eyes, I'm goin' blind, oh
Stuck in these streets, feel like my life froze
I've been runnin' these streets, got me dehydrated
I've been livin' so crazy, feel like I'm dyin', baby
Blood in my eyes, I'm goin' blind, oh
I'm stuck in these streets, feel like my life froze
I've been runnin' these streets, got me dehydrated
I've been livin' so crazy, feel like I'm dyin', baby”
This is poetry from one of the best artists in our generation. Kodak Black is pouring his heart out and showing you his mentality. Despite all the success and accolades he’s still trapped in the dead end streets he used to roam. Kodak is a special artist that you need to pay attention to while he’s here. Because of the era he came out in he’s been jumbled with what a lot of people call “mumble rap” but what Kodak is doing is some of the realest music coming out and is the authentic use of hip hop. Pray for Kodak, let’s hope they free the Project Baby and he’s able to turn his life around and pursue his birthright.
"All I wanna say is that, they don't really care about us"-Michael Jackson