Interview: KOTH talks music, work ethic, and his evolving sound

KOTH recently released the music video for “My Time,” a bangin’ new track full of smart rhymes and a tight and right flow.

The acronym KOTH stands for “King of the Hill.” And the king behind the name is Thaddeus David, the monarch of Seattle’s underground rap scene both as a solo artist and a member of Helluvastate and State of the Artist. He’s shared the stage with Slick Rick, Mobb Deep, and Mos Def, along with selling out The Crocodile in the Emerald City with TylerxCordy.

After taking a break, he returned last year as KOTH, bringing fresh inspiration and fervent heat, witnessed by “My Time,” the debut single from his forthcoming full-length album, First Team. Shot in Seattle, amid the city’s iconic landmarks, the video depicts KOTH jelly-rolling through the city in a plump red Jeep. When he stops, he’s joined by his crew.

Later, he delivers tasty couplets and quatrains from the top of the Jeep, silhouetted against the dark skies over Seattle. Not only does he govern the visuals with his commanding presence, but he’s got the moves.

“My Time” opens on a teeter-tottering piano, potent and listing with hefty tones, riding a thick, thumping beat full of Jovian clout. With his deft flow, KOTH infuses the rhymes with stylish surges and visceral timbres.

“Hello… / Uh-huh it’s my time / When I was born felt like was destined to shine / Weathered the storm n now the sun in my eyes / Not only sight but kept my mind on the prize.”

Rhyme Junkie sat down with KOTH to find out more about his backstory, his writing process, and what the future holds.

How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?

I’ve always really been into music since I can remember. It’s in my blood from my dad’s side of the family. I was the type of kid that when his mom went grocery shopping I’d just park in the magazine aisle and read any hip-hop magazine I could from as early as I could read, literally. My walls growing up were covered in magazine cut-outs. I spend weekends achieving them. So I’ve always been really fanatic about music.

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What singers/musicians influenced you the most?

It’s always ever-evolving. I’ve been influenced by so many different rappers, singers and old music over the course of my life. I think it’s the cumulative experience of everything I’ve listened to over the years and just being ahead of the curve on a lot of artists in the come up. I always bittersweetly tell people I should’ve been an A&R for a big label.

As an artist, what’s been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge for me as an artist is getting eyes and ears I know that I deserve with my talent, work ethic, and dedication.

Is your sound evolving? If so, in which direction? Toward R&B, trap, or some other direction?

I feel like my sound is always evolving. I definitely wanna separate myself. So it evolves in different ways. The main thing I try to achieve with projects is standing the test of time and making sure it leaves the listener wanting more.

You took a short break and then came back as KOTH. Why the break?

Being a creative is not cheap in any fashion. Financially, physically, mentally. I think I’ve struggled at different times with not achieving my desired result/reach and mix all those together and you’ve got a break.

Hip-hop is by far the most popular music genre in the world. How do you keep your sound fresh and avoid coming across as derivative?

By living life and living the experiences I’m speaking about. My music always comes with food for thought. So regardless of the backdrop, I’m painting on, I feel I’m always able to craft a masterpiece.

What is your songwriting process?  Do the rhymes come first or the music?

Beat comes first.

Why do you make music?

If I didn’t, I’d just have a whole lot of rhymes lying around either way. I naturally have a way with words.

What was the inspiration for your new single/music video “My Time?”

Portland Trailblazer Dame Lillard.

What do you want people to take away from the video?

That boy’s not playing around. He’s serious about his craft, presentation, and that I should be keeping my eye out for him cause that boy moving.

Where was the video shot and who directed it?

Deadeyez directed it.  It was shot all over the greater Seattle area. Cap hill. Queen Anne. Downtown.

How are you handling the coronavirus situation?

I’m handling it by outworking everyone during it.

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Looking ahead, what’s next for KOTH?

A new full-length album, First Team. Merch is on the way. A bunch of new videos and my accession towards the top of my genre.

Follow KOTH Instagram | Spotify | YouTube

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