december 26, 2019

I’m pretty decent at remembering people’s names. There’s power in a name and in naming things. If you’re an artist, this can be the easiest or hardest thing to land on. Here’s how I got mine.

I previously mentioned the importance of paying homage to my foundation. Part of that foundation is grandma’s crib. A real important part of being at grandma’s crib was growing up with my first cousin. Depending on your upbringing, your first cousin is pretty much your sibling. With my cousin, Chris, or brother I should say, the ways I view and value brotherhood are rooted with him.

We were born a year apart, but no gaps of time nor distance existed when we were together. Certain factors of how we were respectively raised placed particular perceptions in the eyes of others. I was generally viewed as a “good boy”, where Chris gave an added impression of “good, but troubled”.

Granted, we’re kids, barely knowing ourselves and growing up trying to figure it all out. Regardless of whatever archetype relatives and others placed on us individually, unto ourselves our world was symbiotic. The same good deeds, the same mischief. Watching the same Rap City freestyles, discovering and loving the same Lil’ Wayne songs. Having the same superhero-like admiration for Allen Iverson. Chris was way better at basketball than me though.

ya cousin here

Not long after my cousin passed, I got this painting from an artist. Ironically, I don’t remember the artist’s name or exactly what street fair or event I met them. I can’t make out their signature on the canvas, but would love to know. Nonetheless, the painting instantly resonated. I saw the spirit of our bond in it. It’s another treasure for remembrance.

It sits above the head of my bed, in hope that Chris’ spirit watches over me. Wherever that spiritual plane is, making him proud is part of the mission. My name, and my music are inherently a dedication to him. Good looks, Chris. I love you. Ya cousin here. 💫

I’m hyped to share the spirit of creativity that our grandma was guiding us to channel with you. It starts with my first official release as Ish, Ya Cousin: “Dipset in Tha Basement”. It’ll be available on all streaming platforms tomorrow. Click here to presave it on Spotify now.

Going into our teens, where he mainly lived down south, there was an acceleration towards the ‘troubled’ sensibilities that people perceived. This escalated in my cousin passing away when we were 16. I never opened up to anyone vulnerably of how much of a loss this felt. I channel my comprehension of it, and healing from it into music.

There’s details in songs I’ve written and have yet to make. There’s details I won’t share in respect of my family’s privacy. What I can let you know right now is that my artist name Ish, Ya Cousin is a constant shout out and toast to Chris. That closeness we grew up sharing, my love for him, and honoring his spirit is part of my foundation as a man and for making music.