Kosha Dillz in the SXSW spotlight

When did you fall in love with Hip Hop and why? I think the time I fell in love with it was during my high school years of hitting Nuyorican Poets Cafe with Braggin Rites rap competition my boy Yak was involved with. It was very similar to 8 Mile style battles, but instead there were 32 emcees with 8 advancing and then thenfinal 2 advancing. I would buy tapes from the DJ and it was the music that I was so hooked on. I also listened Sunday night to Bobbito on 89.9 Columbia University radio. I really picked up my flow from that.   Who or what made you decide to pick up the mic and start performing? My buddy Yak was the guy who was rapping, and was signed to Fondle'Em and then Def Jux, which was run by EL-P for a single deal. I was hooked on that life of performing and battling. As of today we go to places in hopes of making connections for shows/blogs, before we were just looking to rap in a cypher and spit our best rhymes. Everyone from those cyphers is still rapping and touring the world now with full-fledged careers. I just loved performing. It was a release from all my problems and anxiety. It gives me freedom from my own struggles I guess you can say.   SXSW is seems to be a predominately indie band oriented, as a hip-hop artist what do you hope to gain from your time there? I think the people that win the most are Hip Hop Artists who are extremely the most notorious rap, and then the ones who can teeter the edge of indie and hip. For instance in 2008, I was hosting Stereo Gum TV and rapping on mixed shows and being in Spin Magazine. 2010, I was in Lyricist Lounge, with a famous act that is now managing ASAP Rocky. 2013, I am combining shows, throwing my own with indie acts and electronic musicians and rappers. OY VEY SXSW is like a sum of my experience.   With record sales on the decline in this digital era, how important are tours now? Merch? Tours and merch are everything. Most importantly, the digital age has made face time impossible so having face time is so important. You can meet a huge person in a city and draw an early comparison by knowing certain sites in town that they will be happy to talk about. You need to visit obscure markets because one, it's appreciated, and two, you have an equal chance of becoming bigger with crowds than in large markets where you might get swallowed to major competition. The coolest places in Colorado are where I make most of my income. It's not NYC or LA.    How have you been navigating the social media waters, what have you done that has been fan favorites? Usually when I ask people what I should rap about, they all seem to chime in. I have become very famous for freestyling/improv, so more and more people chime in on the topics that I should cover; from Nathan's hot dogs to various kinds of olives and pickles to the famous diners of New Jersey or famous artists who aren't famous yet that live in Nebraska. Very weird and specific and fun. In 1986, when the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame started inducting bands, three out of 279 performers who have been inducted have been involved in hip-hop, with Public Enemy being the most recent. As an artist that falls into this category, how does this make an impact on you? I can only imagine that the frequent collaboration and pace that people consume music is so much quicker, more and more hip-hop will be eventually enter in it. The people who have been entered are pioneers of hip-hop and have collaborated with pioneers of rock, are the ones who made it in there. Other than that, as long as rock stays a fan of the hip-hop, we emcees have a chance to make it in! Think Aerosmith and Run DMC was the most famous collaboration to me. So I guess here is a shout out to Mumford and Sons, Flaming Lips, Guns n Roses, Kosha Dillz wants to work with you!  There is kind of a revolving door of rappers/emcees these days, what sets you apart from the pack and how will you attain longevity in such a fickle and oversaturated market Being clever, different, and challenging myself to new experiences and not conforming to any boundaries. For instance, I just did three children songs for a side project with a guy named Mr. Ray. I also collaborated with Gangsta Boo of Memphis who is famous for her work with Eminem, Yelawolf and Three 6 Mafia. I also throw my own shows, help other people, and rap in three languages (Spanish, English, Hebrew) By being well rounded, you have many way to get "out of the box." I like doing everything. I pride myself in being able to be versatile and achieve things that have never been done before. I just did a Kickstarter and I'm working on a film that features Andy Dick and Mike Tyson.  By Paul Cortez for RAPstation.com