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Interview: Battle Rapper Turned Music Artist Sonny Kolfax

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Sonny Kolfax is a recording artist and group member of Renaissance Records. He is a Richmond, Virginia native that is more known as an avid battle rapper with his resume spanning years of battling on Smack URL vs King Esco, Southpaw Battle Coalition, and the League of Champions, L.O.C. for short. With prior albums like The Cherokee Kid, Bruce Leroy, and Blade Brown, Kolfax’s artistry is influenced by nostalgia relating to things he loves like vintage video games, the Monday Night War era of wrestling, and films. I even did a poem feature for his project Bruce Leroy based on the film The Last Dragon named Julius Carry. With a vast battle rap background, the bars are heavy in Kolfax's music alongside his rap battle counterparts on Renaissance Records Roc Raw, Trill Nik, Slumdogg Ox, and Redd Handed. I had the privilege to talk to the former battle rapper turned music artist about everything rap related

Jay: Talk about Renaissance Records. What are some upcoming things the label is working on for the rest of the year?

Sonny: We have a collaborative project dropping by Stoner’s Island called Everyone’s Journey Is Different dropping later in the year. I am currently working on my next project, 25 Heron Bones. Trill Nik and Roc Raw have projects coming up. We are working on putting on a show in September. Inside the Renaissance team, we have a series of mini-groups, like how Gang Starr was: a pair that had an artist and a producer. So it’s myself and Akai Phifer being Cult Classic. Then there’s Stoner’s Island, which compromises me, Preme, Redd Handed, Trill Nik being the main four. The groups are really formed more so per project. With every Stoner’s Island per project, it’ll be with different artists that you won’t expect to see like BC, one of the known cameramen for URL and anything Virginia battle rap related, and battle rapper SlumDogg.

Jay: As a retired battle rapper, how do you see the battle rap scene in Virginia primarily through a fan’s perspective? For someone that is new into battle rap, what are some leagues that they should start checking out?

Sonny: I LOVE IT. Before I answer this question in-depth, I must shout out First Lady Flamez, Jakkboy Maine, J Morr, Madface, and everybody in the city putting on in the culture. The leagues are coming back around events are being thrown again. It’s beautiful to see that everyone is putting in work to put on for the city of Richmond. I feel for the culture, it is great for everybody in hip-hop culture to get involved because there are plenty of battle rappers that no one knows. For example, people do not realize how divided battle rap events are. You know certain guys that battle rap at these events but if you put those guys at hip hop shows, they do not get the same or any recognition. It is also the same the other way around with artists arriving in battle rap events and not being known. Richmond has a lot of unknown dope emcees.

It’s only proper that battle rap is able to come back outside. I would love to see way more people get way more opportunities by having performing artists going to battle rap events to network in that realm and for battle rappers to show love at hip hop shows so they can establish themselves in that dimension. If anyone wants to dive into the world of Virginia battle rap, I’d definitely suggest the League of Champions (L.O.C.), Southpaw Battle Coalition, Showtime Battle Rap League where Nu Jerzy Twork and Lu Castro got their starts in battle rap, the News Battle League and the Seven Cities Sharks out in the 757 [Eastern Virginia for those that aren’t from Virginia].

Jay: What was the one lesson that helped you shift your perspective on your craft?

Sonny: To trust me and go with my inner gut. When I first started rapping, I would write my raps and pass them to my homeboy and ask what they would think. They would look at it like “yea aight” and critique them very negatively. It smoked me and it would honestly crush me at times. When I built that confidence and learned that if I like it, that’s all that matters.

Jay: What made you focus your music projects on the nostalgic themes of films and video games from back in the day?

Sonny: If you grew up in the nineties, you were raised by television! Television at that time was brash and colorful. You saw everything from Sega Genesis commercials to PlayStation to the NBA Inside extras. EVERYTHING. There were also all types of terrible movies and I watched so many bad movies, but there are some films that are terribly bad good movies. Like Cherokee Kid. I feel the same way I feel about the films Class Act and The Last Dragon, so I had to do projects based on those respective films.

It differentiates me from everybody because there are not many people who will have music geared to certain audiences to get attention. The influence I garnered from that was when I listened to Griselda and noticed song titles having nothing to do with the song at all. Like when Westside Gunn would have songs named Undertaker vs Goldberg and Bautista after the wrestler Dave Bautista and people would check it out and hear nothing but drug rap, it was genius to me! It catches somebody's attention to check out why there are tracks named like that.

Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?

Sonny: Besides my renaissance team, definitely Ransom. Rome Streetz. Maxo Kream. Oh boy, so many artists to name. We can just stop there for now because I can go on all day with naming so many different indie artists.

You can follow Sonny Kolfax on Instagram @sonny_kolfax and Twitter @SonnyKolfax . You can find his music on all digital streaming platforms under the Cult Classic duo name.

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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