The year 2020 hasn’t turned out like we expected or hoped it would be. Chants of “This is my year!” have been stored away to be used at the next calendar switch while the world has been forced to become more acquainted with our homes and lose familiarity with the activities we once enjoyed.
As the weeks turn into months, we’re hopeful that once we embark on the outdoors again, an appreciation for it follows. Looking to showcase it now rather than later, Kota The Friend offers an appreciative look into the many components of his life on his sophomore album, Everything.
Everything stands as Kota’s second album, but it also follows his Lyrics To Go, Vol. 1 project from earlier this year. Either way, the album arrives at a perfect time whether it be coincidental or intentional. Across the 12-track album, the Brooklyn-born rapper takes a moment to pause and soak the blessings life has brought to him, all with help from KYLE, tobi lou, Bas, Joey Bada$$, Lakeith Stanfield, Lupita Nyong’o, and more.
Updating listeners on what has happened since his last project. Kota details what “everything” is about on the album’s intro, “Summerhouse.” Relishing in the simplistic beauty of life while yearning for the moments we as listeners truly appreciate–ones that force us to forget the digital world we often consume ourselves in. “Open your mind, turn on the vibe and get off the internet/ Leave it behind, saying goodbye, move it along,” he raps on the song’s first verse.
Instilling this simplicity throughout the album, Kota ensures listeners that the changes in his life will never translate to change in his personality on “Volvo” as he calls himself an “old soul” who might pull up in the far-from-extraordinary vehicle. “Get my bread right, get my head right/ No regrets, never stress, where the end like,” a seemingly simple code to live by.
Among the many aspects of his life, Kota takes time to embrace love and his infatuation with the perfect woman. While much Everything sounds like the closing moments of the day as the sun sets, “Long Beach” lives in the sun’s brightest point. Packed with the excitement of an afternoon drive with the top down, Kota celebrates the woman in his life who is everything desired and more. “But she actin’ up, a good girl but she bad as f**k/ She on ten but I’m catching up, she sweat me and I gas her up,” he says playfully. Hundreds of miles away from each other, Kota extends the occasional moments they have together while longing for an eventual return while they are apart.
“Away Park,” finds the Brooklyn native knee-deep in love again. This time, however, he longs for an island of peace and serenity with his lover. Promising to “take [her] to a safe place and make space,” Kota once again seeks the simplicity by finding a hiding place from the bustling commotion of everyday life.
Kota’s examination of everything hitting the mold of simplicity he desires boils down to his wish to stay grounded for his son, Lil Kota. The young voice that gleefully says “Everything” just like his dad, Kota shows listeners his guiding light in life – one that shows him the path ahead as well as the ground below him – on the “Seven” interlude. “When all of this is done and I’m not popping and you know, nobodies checking for me,” he starts, “I’m gonna still have a kid, and he’s gonna… it’s up to him what he takes away from our relationship.”
Whether it’s a cookout with longtime friends or a picnic with the woman who holds his heart, Everything finds its home in the moments where nothing else matters. From the full-stomached laughs during the cookout to the head-over-heels looks of a romantic picnic, Kota takes a detailed note of what can’t be held and pocketed, but rather what will serve as a comforting memory for darker times. While we as listeners patiently wait for the doors of society to reopen, Everything is the pause before the first step and a subtle reminder to appreciate the elements once taken for granted.
Everything finds Kota The Friend earnestly appreciating the delicacies in life. He pays no mind to hectic dealings that consume many of our lives. No, it’s the peaceful moments that allow him to watch the sunset or enjoy moments with his lover or his son that catch his eye. Synonymous with Lakeith’s message on his interlude, Everything is a warm-hearted smile at all things present in Kota’s life as he continues to progress towards attaining more and accomplishing his goals and dreams.