Put it all together and you have 5 Years in LA, the debut mixtape from Prince Kofi that wraps up the whole journey into 18 minutes of music. Just like Kofi’s experience in the city, the mixtape went through a few changes in direction from what he originally planned, and was initially supposed to be titled Summertime in LA until the summer had passed and there was still no project ready.
“Last summer I didn’t get it done, I was bullshitting. This summer I was like ‘fuck, I’ve got to finish it this year,’ and still didn’t get it done during the summer,” he revealed. “But it was some demons I was trying to get off my chest. I sat back and realized it had been five years in LA, and it was just the way it felt when it rolled off my tongue.”
Sonically, the direction shifted as well once Kofi settled on the new title. Digging deeper to truly summarize the whole journey into one project, it not only became a cathartic way for him to air out everything that’s happened, but also a way for him to hold himself accountable as he looks to progress further.
“I realized it’s only been five years; I’ve done so much, but I still haven’t done shit,” he said. “You can do so much more, so it’s like, ‘how you going to take these next five?”
Storytelling is a major part of Kofi’s artistic vision, which he says harkens back to his father’s Ghanaian roots. It’s fully evident as soon as you press play on “Tha Intro,” where he raps his life story out loud for all to hear. “Grew up on Washington State, played on the East side; moved out to LA, just trying to chase a dream, I / Used to blend the corporate shit with the street life, worked at MTV to pay the bills, but in the meantime,” he spits midway through the song, over rattling production from Paupa that adds extra weight to his words.
“I was trying to figure out how to start the tape, listening and writing, and then it just came in my head,” he said about how the song came together. “Like the first line, ‘I pull up to shows four deep, or by my motherfucking self.’ When I went to See LA Party, it was four of us. Just a little bit ago we had a show with Blueface, it was four of us too. It just happened like that, but it made me realize, ‘okay, this is really it.’”