Texas has always been a hot bed for southern hip hop talent. DJ Screw, UGK, Scarface…I could go on. It’s been interesting to see the progression of the Lone Star State’s sound throughout the years (side note: one dude I’m loving is Maxo Kream.) I don’t have a huge grasp on the scene but I’m starting to catch up.
I’m a pretty avid reader of Artistic Manifesto and really enjoy the projects they highlight. I was on the site a few weeks ago and saw their premiere of an album by Dylan Cohl. The project was called Cowboy Jones 1.5: Days In The East. I was intrigued by the title, and as always, trusted the site and gave it a spin. It was great, full of southern influence, but still entirely it’s own piece.
We talked with Cowboy Jones (as he has dubbed himself) about the impressive release, his influences, and his progression since his last tape.
Hey Dylan! Thanks for sitting down to talk to us. For those that are unfamiliar with you, give us a brief description of who you are. What’s your name, how old are you, where are you from?
I’m Dylan Cohl also known as Young Cowboy Jones, I’m 23 yrs old from Port Arthur, Texas but I reside in Houston right now.
So damn…your new project ‘Cowboy Jones 1.5: Days In The East’ just dropped recently and it’s getting a crazy amount of well deserved press! How does it feel?
The reception is great yo! I’ve honestly have been sitting on this tape for a few months now waiting for this right time and I’m just glad the people are receiving it well. I’m just excited to get started on new project.
So you’re from Houston and I’m sure you get this all the time but you mostly stray away from the city’s classic sound. I’m curious to know, though, if any Houston hip hop, past or present, has influenced your music?
I’m majorly influenced by UGK and especially Devin The Dude, his approach to music was left field and his production was so melodic and flowy… I was hooked as a kid. Of course I listened to everybody from the city growing up but understanding they’re influences was what inspired me digging into to the samples and all that which got me into production. I know the history of where I can from so I can bridge the gap and take things to a new dimension, that’s always been my goal.
I got hip to your music when our friends over at Artistic Manifesto premiered the LP. After listening, I went back and gave your previous project ‘Cowboy Jones: 2000 & Beyond.’ Although it was also great I hear so much progression on this new one. Do you think you’ve improved?
Yeah I sit back and can hear the development in my sound and writing skills. Some of these songs on the new tape were in conception stage when I started the first tape. I take my time and let my ideas come to life.
We included 1.5 as one of our top releases of the week. One thing we mentioned was how you are such a double threat as a rapper AND producer. What came first, making beats or rapping?
I think they both came about around the same time. As a kid I grew up in the choir singing and playing the drums for the Junior and Mass Choir of my church at a very young age. All of my siblings are musically inclined so it’s just been around my whole life. I began actually around 11 and I started making beats on software at that same time period.
How did you approach 1.5 differently than your previous project ‘2000 & Beyond’?
I saw the vision through. When I began making 2000 & Beyond I was homeless, studio and couch hopping and shit. Everything was all over the place but I was just happy to be making music full time ya know? I just went in and challenged myself to make a body of work. And with 1.5 I had my confidence up, life got a little better for me and things just went smooth. I was no longer working from a cloudy space. I think you can kind of hear the difference in the subject matter the first tape is dark and just everywhere sonically. I was just showing skill. And with 1.5 me and the whole team, we’re equally invested in it.
It seems like you have a large and dedicated team around you. Who are some of the people that hold you down the most?
Most definitely my management team Stephen & Greg they go hard for me and add to my vision. And I work closely with my producer/mentor Tha Brodee, he kind of saved my life to be honest. He took me out the streets and got me focused and has been like a father figure in my life. I wouldn’t be in position if it weren’t for them.
Obviously you have a cowboy theme going on in your albums. Tell us a little about that.
It just came to life. I started calling my self Cowboy Jones and the character just took a life of its own ya know? A lot of my homies and shit are super country boys, we ride big trucks and shit like that, and everybody just started calling me that and we ran with it. Who doesn’t want to be a live ass Cowboy though? They get bitches and shoot shit up.
You rarely have features on your full lengths. Is that for a reason?
I don’t see the point really. I don’t even think I make that kind of music, I don’t have a bunch of other rappers around me every time I make music either, I’m picky and very selective on things like that. If I use you for a feature it’s because I’m either inspired by you or you do something that I can’t do yet.
My favorite track on the album is ‘The Feels’. It’s easy listening hip hop at its finest. Can you tell us a little about the process of creating it?
Man! Craziest story, me and Tha Brodee have had this song in the tuck for a while. We stumbled across the sample one long night in the studio and he’s basically playing the sample live as I write the record so we never sequence the beat or anything we just have the idea and the lyrics wrote. Months go by and I’m fighting with him to give me he song to record it and put it on the tape, he initially didn’t like the beat but over time we polished it up and it became my favorite song I’ve written in a while.
How long did it take to completely record this tape?
I recorded the tape in like 6-7 months.
What is essential for you in the studio?
I need weed, a hoodie and good lighting. Lighting is essential to me. It affects my mood greatly at times.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2016?
More music and videos I’m already starting on a new tape and hopefully we’ll have it out sooner than people expect.