Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
While many rappers often celebrate their fame and fortune in their music, Avery Jones — otherwise known as KOTA the Friend — approaches hip-hop with a level of introspection that sheds light on issues of mental health and depression. In his 2019 album FOTO, for example, the Brooklyn-born artist takes listeners through chapters of his life before reaching a sense of clarity. Similar themes can be found in his subsequent albums EVERYTHING, Lyrics to GO, Vol. 1 and Lyrics to GO, Vol. 2. The artist, who has turned down multiple record deals, has been lauded for his lyricism and content.
In honor of Black History Month, In The Know is highlighting changemakers making an impact on the world through cultural advancement, community leadership, and entrepreneurial innovation. See all of the honorees here.