Cokah: The “Around The Way Girl” Is Brooklyn’s New Rising Star


Cokah talks about her upbringing in New York, her new EP, her take on the music industry, her car freestyle inspired by King Von, dream collab, and goals!

Cokah’s Instagram name reads “COKAH DA ASSASSIN,” so you already know what type of time she’s on. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, where hip-hop culture is so rich and deep, the rising star reels in influences from all the greats, from Drake and Nicki Minaj to Missy Elliott and Biggie.

After going viral online for one of her freestyle videos, specifically over a Meek Mill instrumental for “Tony’s Story,” real name Keayana Coke quickly realized music would be her end-be-all. Turning her poems into raps, the singer, songwriter, rapper, and dancer devoted her entire life to her artistry, and continues to put in the work necessary to make it to the big leagues.

Under the wings and guidance of superproducer Jerry Wonda, Cokah unleashed her debut EP titled Pink Pantha. Inspired greatly by the film Pink Panther, she brings vibes for every single occasion possible. Whether you’re looking to turn up, looking for live, or simply looking for some upliftment, Cokah’s got you covered.

AllHipHop: You’re from Brooklyn, New York, how does that play into your life and career?

Cokah: Being from Brooklyn honestly makes my shell hard. You know how they have the hardshell taco, we got the soft shell tacos? You’re still a taco but you’re either hard or soft, I’m definitely a hardshell taco from Brooklyn. It makes your exterior so much thicker you don’t really get as hurt by things on the Internet because you are always getting joked on or cracked on. It makes me tough.

AllHipHop: Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?

Cokah: I’m in my own lane. I’m not trying to take over anyone’s spot, I’m not coming for anybody already established. I’m ready to be seen, heard and present. I’m not trying to take the spotlight from anybody because I’m trying to get my own flashlight. I want to relate to people, I want people to relate to me. I want to be that artist you bump when you’re feeling real bad and bossy. I want to be an artist that sets the tone and sets the mood. I fit with the bars, the personality. I’m the flow that the industry needs a little gap, I’m here. My Brooklyn vibe.

AllHipHop: Pink Pantha out now! How are you feeling?

Cokah: I’m feeling good girl. That piece of work was so hard to even get it out into the atmosphere because so much was going on. When it finally happened, I was so happy. It turned out well, it’s for everybody. A little Caribbean vibes, some hardcore rap in the first track when you enter. Some club on there, some love on “Stuck On Stupid,” every vibe was touched on that EP. My first time putting together a collective project, I was pretty stoked. I was so happy with the outcome, we’re almost at a million streams with it. It’s doing so well, I’m really proud of it. I got a little Grammy consideration, I’m very excited

AllHipHop: The “Make Me Wanna” video looked like such a vibe, where was it shot? 

Cokah: It’s mad crazy because the first video we’re supposed to shoot, I ended up getting sick. I had something called gastritis. It was supposed to happen around my birthday, we had to move the shoot. We Ended up changing the whole theme, but it still came out beautiful. We asked DJ Taj from Jersey if we could use his spot, it all came out dope. He’s a member of The Heavy Hitters from Hot97.

AllHipHop: What’s your take on the music industry?

Cokah: People can be very vain when it comes to music, some aren’t open to this new sound. Young artists don’t get that respect they want and deserve because a lot of the older heads aren’t getting jiggy with the mumble rap. Once they realize music has evolved, this is what it is, this is the sound, music will go in a whole better direction. When people stop trying to sound like each other, it’ll be better. [laughs] People need to stop being scared to try different things.

Once people are rappers, they put them in this box that they have to talk about one thing: sex, money, p####, chains, taking somebody n*gga, whatever it may be. It goes so much further, including myself. People need to tap more into diversity, instead of trying to go to one shifting lane because it works for somebody. What floats somebody’s boat might sink yours. People should stop being so damn strict, be more open and fun. It don’t have to be about sex and booty all the time, we have enough of that. Rap about something people are gon’ relate to, also not feeling sad about. We have a bunch of that Perc, pill-popping music, having all the kids sad and trying drugs. Rap about some s### that’s going to make somebody happy: vibe, feel cute, feel sexy. That’s my vibe, finding new ways to tap into the audience. 

AllHipHop: How’d you find your way to Jerry Wonda?

Cokah: Through his brother Renel and through my old manager I used to kick it with named Dougie. He introduced me to this woman named Lexi who introduced me to Renel, who introduced me to Jerry. That made the chain. Once me and Jerry met, it was instant click.

AllHipHop: I saw your recent car freestyle, bring us back to that moment. 

Cokah: I freestyle anywhere I’m at, I’m more of a writer though. I love to write, a lot of s### be written. Writing makes me feel like what am I gonna talk about? I think of a whole bunch of things that I have to come up with really fast. When it comes out, it’s f###### fire. It’s flames. I’m a fast writer. Rapping in the car is a vibe, you catch a little beat and write a song real quick. I like rapping in a car, it’s free. I love being in the car period. I love long drives, I love everything about it. Road trips with Cokah coming soon.

AllHipHop: Did you know King Von?

Cokah: I didn’t know him personally, but I’d started getting into his music. I started bumping him 2 months before his death, like alright I’m a King Von fan. I’m certified, then this happened. That same freestyle from the car, I was writing before he even passed. The day I was going to drop it, I was practicing and making sure I got it — and he died. I didn’t even think I should put it out, but then I did because it’s music. It’s nothing degrading to him. I make sure I post him, show him my love and support. Wow, it’s crazy how life happens. You could be writing to somebody’s s###, then they’re gone. To be considerate, I didn’t want to post it around the same time as his death. I don’t like clout chasing. I tried to space it out but that’s something I was originally going to post.

AllHipHop: Who are some artists that are out now you’d like to collab with? 

Cokah: Ummm, that’s a tough one. I think a Roddy Ricch record would sound dope because of his melodic style of rap, Benny the Butcher cause he gives that real gritty New York vibe, and Teyana Taylor cause of how she puts her emotions into her music, it be hitting home. Just to name a few. [laughs] 

AllHipHop: Who’s your dream collab?

Cokah: I’ma pick this wisely, Beyoncé because that’s a dream. A feature from Drake can either be really good for you or really do you bad. You got to come up with a follow-up if you do a feature with Drake, that’s a lot of pressure. Bey, Drake, or Missy. I’d die.

AllHipHop: Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?

Cokah: I want to win a big award, I don’t care what it is. I want to hit a Grammy, AMAs, VMAs, one of them. I want to do a billion streams one day on my Drake s###. How he hits one billion streams on Tidal, that’s amazing to me somebody even streamed your record so many times. I also want to be in a movie during my rap career, sign an artist and make them my own Nicki and Drake like how Weezy did it. I’ll be the female Weezy and have my two protégés, beautiful. I can jump on their records from time to time when I feel like hopping back out. [laughs]