It was only just a year ago that 21-year-old rapping sensation Coi Leray made a vow to level up. “I was living in my apartment and working my last job in customer service, and was just unhappy,” the New Jersey bred artist recalls. Coi dabbled in freestyles, but hadn’t quite yet taken her music seriously. A lot has changed from then until now, and as Coi readies the release of her project EveryThingCoZ 2 she maintains her coZy mantra at all times.
Growing up in New Jersey, not a lot happens on its own on the road to success and stardom. “You gotta make something happen yourself,” Coi says of her stomping grounds. And so she did. As the product of a family with multiple brothers, Coi picked up rapping fairly quickly. While she listened to a lot of Trap music and Beyoncé, she also checked for rebellious Pop stars like Avril Lavigne and 3OH!3. Her own personality was a combination of those two worlds. “I’ve always been outgoing and fearless, but still knew right from wrong,” she reflects.
Rapping came naturally, and while she recorded bits and pieces for herself, it wasn’t until her early 2018 sleeper hit “G.A.N. (Goofy Ass N***az)” that she began to truly see her own potential. Once “G.A.N.” was let loose, the Soundcloud numbers grew and so did Coi’s notoriety. A video followed, and the buzz continued. “That’s when I knew I was ready for this shit,” she says. “I quit my job, moved out of my apartment, moved back in with my mom, and it was lit ever since.”
Coi was different from the crop of artists to emerge from the Soundcloud stratosphere. Besides being a girl, each song presented a different side to her. Whether slick talking, being flirtatious, angsty or humorous, Coi was bringing something new to the table with every track.
The Spring release of her debut mixtape EveryThingCoZ fanned the flames of what would truly be Coi’s year. “We just kept applying pressure with videos,” she explains of her team, which includes her day one engineer, producers, videographer, and managers. A deal with Republic Records soon followed, along with opening for high profile acts like Fetty Wap, Big K.R.I.T., and Gucci Mane. “God blessed me,” she says with gratitude. “I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t know that it would happen this fast.”
Cuts like the Noc-produced “No Letting Up” and the effortlessly confident “Huddy” are just two of the examples of Coi’s unique style, harnessing the powers of honesty and individuality—from commanding the room with her charismatic flow to gender bending punchlines woven into slick production. In the end, it boils down to honesty. “If you can’t keep it real with yourself, you can’t keep it real with anyone else,” Coi adds.
It’s all filed under the mantra of her EveryThingCoZ collective, the aforementioned team that has made Coi Leray a soon-to-be star. “EveryThingCoz is something I’ve been sticking to since day one,” she explains.
“It basically stands for self-acceptance and being cozy at all times. That’s all that it really is. It’s about loving yourself and accepting who you are.” With that acceptance comes the understanding that societal norms aren’t for everyone. “A lot of things are going on today like lace fronts, and no shade to that stuff…I love it. But it’s not comfortable to me to wake up and do that maintenance every day.”
Her follow-up project EveryThingCoZ 2 maintains that notion while delving into new angles of Coi Leray’s sound. The wordplay is already in place, but Coi’s plans for her seven-track EP include changing up her style and continuing to set herself apart from the rest of the pack. “It’s totally different from everybody,” Coi says. “It’s lit and it’s fun.”
Coi Leray had the whole world saying “Yeah, buddy!” and wishing they were gliding on ATVs, and as she ushers in the next phase in her career, she’ll continue setting trends and killing live shows. “I love the stage,” she says emphatically. “Man listen, the stage is the best time to just be free. The studio and all that is cool, but nothing is like the stage.”
EveryThingCoZ 2 will arrive at the top of 2019 and with it are some big plans for Coi Leray. Take her advice: “If there’s one thing I’d say to do,” she says, “it’s to not stop watching.”