Seattle is known for a particular music genre: Grunge. They birthed Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and so many more flannel wearing bands (the former being the exception). The Pacific Northwestern region is elbow deep in coffee beans and rock talent, but their musical pallet has a glaring lack of knowledge—Hip hop. Although he’s not quite a household name yet, Aaron Cohen and his worn-in Mariners hat are intent on changing Seattle’s Hip hop reputation.
While he may call Seattle home, Aaron has been living in Queens, NY for about three years pursuing his musical dreams. After experimenting with rhymes and pseudonyms (he was once assigned the name “MC AC” but luckily that never caught on) in high school, Aaron understood that New York was the right place to mature and develop his music. Surprisingly, Rap wasn’t his original motivation for moving out east, but it’s certainly his motivation for staying here.
Through performing at New York venues and forging relationships with the likes of A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ty Beats, Aaron started developing legitimate buzz. These local tours netted him necessary experience and exposure, which ultimately lead to his spot in the New York collective, Inner City Kids (ICK). He humbly recounted for the ZeusWolf boys that when he first started rapping, he didn’t know shit—especially when it came to song structure. His work with ICK—along with these shows—helped define his identity as a rapper and, more importantly, as a person. He also constantly collaborates with another NY group, 1160—home to previous ZeusWolf interviewees, Wati Heru and Dyme-A-Duzin. In Aaron’s words, “We’re all family.”
Since teaming up with these groups, he has gone from an unsure dabbler to a quietly confident spitter. Although he presents a low-key personality, don’t think for a minute that he’s subdued on the mic. Aaron’s thoughtful and meticulously crafted lyrics are rapped confidently over a diverse collection of beats. He’s released four tapes to date that embody his wide range: Potential Fans, You Wouldn’t Know, Home Less, and his 2016 drop, Off the Ground. The latter tape was entirely produced by his extraordinarily talented producer/roommate, Kemal. It features eight-tracks of experimental sounds complemented by Cohen’s introspective thoughts and the product is mesmerizing. He’s received fantastic critical and fan response, including write-ups from XXL Magazine and The Source. In case I’m not being clear, Aaron’s getting around.
His shows have elevated from local spots to oversea tours. Most impressively, Aaron has performed to a very welcoming French audience. They vibe with his music and he received love from local French radio station, Mouv (pronounced “Move”—don’t try and get fancy like me and pronounce it all French like; Aaron will call you out). But while France is chill, Aaron probably was most excited to come home and perform in his hometown.
He recently performed in Seattle and was so excited for the opportunity. It’s completely full circle—he left home as an unpolished hopeful and he returned a refined musician. Aaron was thrilled to perform for his hometown fans and to demonstrate how far he’s come since what could have been MC AC. But most importantly, Aaron was pumped to prove that he has the tools to fill Seattle’s Hip hop void. Seattle is finally finding their position in Hip hop and they are indebted to Aaron Cohen. I’m sure he's making them proud.
ZeusWolf Choice Picks:
Off The Ground
Soul N Bitches