As of 2022, Coast Contra is rap’s next collective. After releasing music on their own, rappers RioLoz, Eric Jamal, and Taj and Ras Austin, formed the group, Cost Contra.
This group has been taking social media by storm since the beginning of last year when their “Never Freestyle” gained a bit of traction. The group's first project, The Coast Contra Tape Volume 1., dropped in 2014, prior to moving to the West Coast and Eric Jamal joining the group. After that the group had a short series called #ContrabandFridays in June of 2018 for three Fridays.
The group debuted on the Queen & Slim soundtrack in November of 2019, with their track “Queen & Slim” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid. What sets Coast Contra apart from other artists isn’t just their lyricism or energy, it’s their creative expression in itself. In their interview with Billboard, they state that they make music for creativity and freedom, which is why they’ve released nearly 20 freestyles in a year and a half. The organic energy of a freestyle is unmatched by tracks that have gone to mastering already. Though the group comes together cohesively, they can all stand on their own. In fact, the group states that their solo music is different from their collective project and immerses you in the universes that they create for themselves. This is made even more true by the first song on their 2022 debut album APT 505, named after that initial spot in Los Angeles. The song “APT,” begins by telling the listener that there’s a “method to the madness” and the rest of the project goes on to prove it.
They also say that they make music that builds community. They do this on three different fronts: First, there's the literal community they have with each other. Second, the interludes that allow their fans/audience to participate in the album and then there's the way they discuss topics pertinent to the black community. Though many of the songs are didactic in nature, it kind of sounds like you’re hanging out with some guys from up the street. When RioLoz says that he pimped the government by buying stocks with his unemployment check, it sounds like they’re just some homies putting you onto something. It's a big brain move. They also don't shy away from silly bars like "we the good guys. no blood on our hands, nigga these Cheetos" on "505."
The style of the group is similar to artists like Smino, BlackStarr, REASON, Nyck Caution and a couple of others from PRO ERA, Flatbush Zombies, Phife Dawg and BlackThought. Moreover you can hear the influence of artists like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Yasiin Bey, Ludacris, Lauryn Hill, Joey Badass, Andre 3000, The Fugees, A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar, WuTang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Blackthought, the Roots, and even Meek Mill in their flows, rhyme schemes and overall delivery, but they set themselves apart from their peers and predecessors by incorporating choreography into their live shows.
Since their debut, the group has opened for Dave Chapelle’s Hollywood Bowl, worked with Tobi Nwigwe and debuted on national television on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Where else is this group headed? Only time will tell.