Earlier this summer I met Cole Connor at an event called The Bar Exam, a lyricist competition hosted by MicxSic of Atlanta. The goal of the event series is to position poets, rappers, and other wordsmiths against each other in an open mic setting to determine who's the best. While completing my usual event rounds I made an appearance at this one. I shook a couple hands, listened to an act, and left early to prepare for the upcoming work day. Cole was in the crowd promoting for Love, Peace & Hip-Hop when he came politely reminded me he submitted something for WDW in the previous month. I was embarrassed and I responded with my best, "My apologies! I'm behind right now and I'll get to it right away."
Months passed, I attended numerous summer events, gave the project he submitted a couple more spins but I still didn't sit down to compose a proper interview. Was it because of his skin color? Or because he was one of the Best of Free Times nominees that had Columbia's Hip-Hop scene riled up back in May (Sidenote: Remember when the Free Times wrote about me)? Truthfully it wasn't either one of those reasons. After attending almost every local music show in April, putting on Night of Frequency and BBTB in May, and starting a new job I was completely burnt out. July was another busy month. And August...let's not talk about August. I let Cole's project fall by the wayside. That's no excuse and I'm not in the business of offering them.
Without further ado, let me introduce my readers to Cole Connor.
Q: Again I have to say it's completely my fault for this being so delayed. Please introduce yourself to BINACT's readers.
Cole: My name is Cole Connor and I'm from Sumter, SC. I grew up on Johnny Cash and Avril Lavigne but I didn't get into Hip-Hop until high school. I remember my friends listening to popular rap particularly Kanye West. I've been on the track to creating complex yet digestible music ever since.
Q: Aside from making music, you wear a few other hats. Tell me more about your different roles in Columbia's music scene.
Cole: I'm the Communications Director or Love, Peace & Hip-Hop, a free annual festival celebrating Hip-Hop as a unifying pillar of Columbia's community. When I'm not working on festival tasks, I run my own marketing/communications firm, Apollo's Bow Strategies. After going back and forth in college and getting frustrated with corporate culture I took the leap and started working for myself. This is normally where people talk about their paths to quick success and how everyone can do it but not me. That leap is scary. I definitely made mistakes during those first few months. But I can't imagine myself in this world any other way. I believe that I own myself and everything I do. All credit for my work should come directly back to me.
Q: What are some of your goals with music? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Cole: My short-term goals are always changing so I don't have the best answer for that question. But I want to continue working for myself while inspiring others through music. Continuous growth and working for things I believe in are the biggest things I want to achieve.
Cole Connor's SODA is one of the most authentic Hip-Hop projects I've heard in quite a while. It's fun yet serious as it tackles young adulthood and navigating the path to finding oneself. Ripe, Playa, and A Loan In The Wild are standout tracks that encompass the project's core themes while providing comedic breaks along the way. Do yourself a favor and get into it. Don't get caught slippin' like I ALMOST did.