The importance of the Co-sign can’t be understated.
There are so many examples of big co-signs through the history of music so this concept surely isn’t new, but for me it’s especially exciting bearing witness to up and coming artists on the verge of superstardom who take the time out to uplift someone else. It’s so easy to become full of one’s self and keep all the praise for yourself, but it’s the artists who are humble enough to recognize others with talent that may not have the same platform as them who truly leave their mark.
I have been fascinated with Crenshaw District’s Xian Bell from the moment I heard his verse on “Bottom” alongside REASON, a recent signee to Top Dawg Entertainment. As if that wasn’t enough, I then heard his vocals on “Drive Slow/Taste Like Heaven” before the nostalgia-inducing crooner “Dollar And A Promise.” Dude is super talented and I was genuinely confused as to why he wasn’t bigger yet. Trusting the process is everything though.
REASON went on get a lot of attention for his album There You Have It and it allowed him to connect with Rory from The Joe Budden Podcast. Upon meeting, REASON shared Bell’s music with Rory and he evidently felt it as much as I did because he put a screenshot up of it on his Instagram Story before choosing it as his “Sleeper” at the end of Episode 211.
Anyone privy to the podcast knows that Rory’s sleeper picks are kind of a staple, and Bell’s excitement upon the discovery conveyed that reality tenfold. Since we have seen “Dollar And A Promise” appear on Discover Weekly playlists on Spotify and his monthly listeners increase at a rate of 1000 people per day. The process.
Not to mention REASON invited Xian to perform with him at Rolling Loud Los Angeles back in December. For me, it was enjoyable seeing Bell get opportunities like these but still remaining so humble. He’d still promote his music and be overjoyed at fans reactions to it, and he also threw genuine support REASON’s way without looking to capitalize off of his budding stardom. Thus, it was easy for REASON to pick certain spots and promote his “brother” as Bell describes the relationship.
Sometimes it’s not about building a bridge to walk over for yourself, but for someone else. Nor should that be done with the expectation that the favor will be returned. It sure is sweet when it is though.
New Jersey’s own Coi Leray has made a huge splash as of late, announcing a deal with Republic Records and opening up for Trippie Redd all over the United States for the duration of his tour. She just recently dropped EC2, her follow up to Everythingcoz, to a very positive reception. Oh yeah, and she had a verse on “Save The Day” from the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse soundtrack. So yeah, big splash indeed.
Before that though, she was a music lover from Hackensack, NJ looking to make it happen. Talented for sure, but of course not known at the level she is currently. Her debut project Everythingcoz featured a certain rapper by the name of Sule on the twerk anthem “Wanna Be A Freak” and boy did he stand out. From Englewood, the town over from Coi, the two identified with each other’s grind being dynamic acts from Jersey waiting for their moment.
A genuine friendship between the two led to mutual support and love like that of Bell and REASON. So it didn’t come as much of a shock when Leray took a moment during her Bar Exam from All Def Music to shoutout the dreadlocked lyrical assassin. She highlighted his natural abilities, along with his subject matter and says she doesn’t know anyone better at rapping or freestyling. Talk about a co-sign.
Again, there are tons of examples of moments like this in Hip-Hop that have helped elevate the careers of several people. The genre is one big network and who you know can often determine your trajectory. Thus, there’s never a bad time to be a good person. To genuinely support and not with the hope of gaining anything. To stand and cheer with the other fellow stars. Everyone has their season, and even if for some it comes early on they still are capable of taking a moment to look beyond themselves and give someone else the spotlight. The good energy you put out comes back to you.
Shoutout to REASON, Xian Bell, Coi Leray and Sule. Big things in store for all of them.