Music artists, as perceived by the music industry, are akin to a condiment—to be easily replicated, sold in high volume, and enjoyed by the masses. The message is blunt, honest, and necessary. Implicit in it is the reality of an ever-changing music landscape that requires the artists to adapt, and with integrity, lest they become forgotten. It's this essential idea that the Grammy-nominated artist and creative consultant Kokayi shares in You Are Ketchup.
With a harmonious blend of narrative and advice, DC native Kokayi walks readers through the golden age of hip hop to the current day, dispensing hard-earned lessons and illuminations from decades of producing and performing music. Kokayi is a teacher inasmuch as he is a musician, and now writes for emerging artists yet to achieve success and veteran artists who might have once had it but are not out. Using stories from life and career as a vehicle, Kokayi covers a range of topics, including art as a commodity and advice about defining your artistic community, knowing when your art is ready to level up, finding a formula that works, distinguishing your art from others, and more.
In a music world where an artist's career can too easily become a tale of the past, You Are Ketchup arrives as essential reading for the multitude of creatives hungry for the wisdom and knowledge of a successful insider.
A Grammy-nominated artist and creative consultant, Kokayi is entrenched in the ethos of hip hop culture while coloring outside the lines of tradition. He is a board trustee of the DC chapter of the Recording Academy and a recipient of the 2018 Halcyon Artist Fellowship.
"Amazing read. It takes more than talent to navigate the wretched waters of the music business. The ups and downs. The relentless dedication to your craft. The importance of family. These jewels, life lessons, and stories of betrayal and triumph all give us a glimpse into KOKAYI's personal journey as a renaissance man who was always destined for greatness. Rooted in uncanny determination, self-love, and overcoming what many deemed impossible, this book reminds us all to never give up on your dreams."—D Prosper, Soul in the Horn
"Through unique wit and superior prose, Kokayi unpacks years of musical knowledge in this one-of-a-kind self-help book. While his status could warrant a soapbox, Kokayi takes the opposite approach, offering advice with the ease of a loved one with your best interest at heart. The results are upbeat and informative: as Kokayi details his D.C. beginnings and travels overseas, you feel like you're right there with him, sharing LOLs, song verses, and road stories all the same."—Marcus J. Moore, author of The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America, music journalist for The New York Times, NPR, and more
“Kokayi’s You Are Ketchup embodies the true journey of a Creative. It’s a self-help book for those on the path towards their dreams. It delves into the pit stops, the potholes, and the pitfalls of the transcendence of wanting to pursue an art form to living it professionally.”—Tabi