Gotee Records artist Aaron Cole is no stranger to the Christian Rap world.
Cole recently released his sophomore album, 2 Up 2 Down, and talked with FiveTwenty Collective about the project.
“I’m in a good space.” Those were the first words out of the young man from VA’s mouth as we dove into what went into creating his album. Anyone who has followed Aaron Cole understands the vast talent he brings to the table. Rapping, singing, and everything in between…he can do it. The first thing people should notice about the album is the maturity within each record. While I could lay it out for you, why not let Aaron tell you himself?
“The motivation behind the album started from me just really thinking of where I was in life.”
“At the end of 2019, beginning of 2020, I was really in a place [where] I looked at all the goals I had set, and I had reached a lot of them really. But I knew I wasn’t even close to where God wanted to take me. So I was just like, ‘God, how do I keep going?’ I feel like that’s when He showed me and reminded me of my WHY.”
“I feel like I heard God say I gotta remember where I come from…which is VA, which is what we call 2 up, 2 down.”
“If you’ve been listening to my music over the years, you can hear [that] I talk about my family a lot. I talk about my city a lot. Kids, the whole nine. My WHY is my family, my city, and the people in the world God called me to reach. I think that’s where the maturity comes from besides just life. When you realize why you do what you do, it’s a whole different mindset.”
“I want people to remember where they came from and remember who God called them to be. In those times where they wanna quit on their purpose, they keep going!”
Sound and Process
“A lot of my fans cross genres…I think, in this season, I’ve been intentional to make sure I appease all of the audiences that follow me.”
“I have fans that listen to Mav City all the way to fans that listen to J. Cole, so I think I’ve wrestled with that in the past. Not knowing what to do when it comes to my singing and rapping. But this album, and going forward, I’ve learned that’s what makes me special. To appeal to multiple genres and crowds.”
“I don’t think any songs I made were to remind people what I do. They happened naturally.”
“In the past, it used to look different. I felt like I was chasing. I was so closed off to collaborating with people and writing with people. But collaborating on music is one of the best things I decided to do. [The process of creating different records] is similar for sure. I don’t always know [what the style of the record will end up being], I just create.”
“When it comes to an album, I now ask myself ‘Am I doing enough signing and rapping?’ I gotta give both.”
Working with Parris Chariz
“I started this album just going to Tulsa and chilling with him. Parris and Matthew Crockett were a big help [in] guiding the album, pushing me to a new level. [It] just happened naturally from me and Parris’ friendship. It was a dope experience.”
“I think a lot of my friends, including them, pushed me.”
“They pushed me to go for the better line. Hit the note better. Deliver the line better. Don’t just rely on your tone or just how good you already are. Push yourself to that next level. I sometimes didn’t push myself to that next, better lyric because how my tone or swag on the track made it already sound.”
“I got comfortable with my talent…which is why you get a song like Cooke. I’m scared to get comfortable again…ya know? Just relying on your talent.”
“I don’t do that anymore. Like I said, these days I’m scared of getting comfortable.”
“This album was something the people needed to hear. I put my heart into it and really felt like it was led by God.”
“I always face some kind of resistance, which happens in my career before something big. Just stuff that you didn’t plan to happen that happened in the process. Miscommunications, business issues, it was a lot…but resistance was there. I expected [it]. It happened over and over again. Nothing good comes easy. Don’t get weary in well-doing, that scripture is real…you never know what’s on the other side if you quit.”
“Honestly, I never thought about a sophomore slump.”
“The label (Gotee Records) really lets me create whatever music I wanna make and then fully gets behind it.”
“Creative control means a lot to me cause that means they trust me. I think they trust me to be who I am and [to] bring what I bring to their label. I don’t think I would be open to multiple genres if it wasn’t for them!”
The Finished Product
“It feels great man!”
“The response feels amazing and exceeds beyond my expectations. They keep tweeting me ‘No Skips’, which means a lot. [I] really feel like me and the team put our all into it. Just hope to keep the momentum going.”
“First things first, this tour. My first headline tour. We got a lot of things planned so I’m excited for people to come out and see the album live. It’s going to be special. The tour starts November 5th in Charlotte and features Parris Chariz, Greg Cox, and Not Klyde. It’s going to be crazy!”
“Slow Down, Miracle, and probably Bristol Lights.”
“I think Bristol Lights has done well, probably because of the rawness of it. A lot of that stuff was freestyle, really how I felt that day. People can relate to it right now. It’s not pretty, but it’s gonna get pretty!”
“I just want them (listeners) to remember their WHY so they can fulfill their purpose. [What] God called them to be. Know you’re gonna make mistakes on the journey, but God’s grace is bigger than our failures.
What are your favorite songs from 2 Up 2 Down? What tour stop are you pulling up to? Let us know in the comments below!