Brian Blueskye
Kosha Dillz. Credit: Brian Blueskye

One performer that received a lot of attention at the kickoff of the Vans Warped Tour in Pomona was Kosha Dillz.

The New Jersey Israeli-American rapper has been the talk of the rap world. During an interview after his performance on Friday, June 19, he discussed where his name came from.

“It came from the pickle jar. It’s basically the combination of being Jewish, business, being a hustler, sex and food—all my favorite things!” said Kosha Dillz.

While some have accused Kosha Dillz of being a gimmick, he said his recent success—including being included on the entire Warped Tour—proves he’s legitimate. He conceded his name does bring him a lot of attention.

“I’m on Warped Tour, and they could have picked anybody. I think that says a lot,” he said. “Whatever people say, we know what we’re doing, and we’ve been doing it long enough that we love to keep people surprised. What I want is to connect to all different kinds of people, and I end up engaging in the most amazing conversations as an artist just because of my name, before they even hear my music.”

I mentioned another atypical Jewish musician: Matisyahu. Dillz shared an interesting perspective on Matisyahu, who started off in the ultra-conservative Hasidic Judaism sect as a Hasidic reggae star before transitioned out of Hasidic Judaism. He is now making pop music.

“I never had a beard, and I was never ultra-religious, and it’s always been a fun-loving experience,” Kosha Dillz said. “Matisyahu is such an amazing artist, and he’s put me on in front of stuff with Macklemore and A$AP Rocky. People ask me about that a lot, but I think his artistry gets deeper and deeper. He’s a human being, so he’s allowed to go through whatever he has to go through. He’s been through a lot in his life. He was the icon for very religious Jews, and people feel like he let them down. The reality is they are looking for something that he was the image of, like Santa Claus or something.”

Kosha Dillz has also worked with many people in the rap game—and even performed on the Yo Gabba Gabba! live tour. Another opportunity he had was performing with RZA at the BET Awards.

“I come from the hip-hop world, so it’s like a goal to open for another rapper, just like it is for a pop-punk band to get on the Warped Tour. Our goal is, ‘We gotta open for Wu-Tang, or this guy, or this guy,’” he said. “That’s a continuance of trying to get to the next level: playing with another MC, and getting respect for your artistry. I ended up working with RZA after years and years of trying to open up for him, and he put me on the BET Awards.”

Dillz said he had his crew faced some challenges going into the tour, but that everything worked out well on Friday. “We were like, ‘How do we construct a 30-minute set?’ By the time that it was over today, it was packed. People were like, ‘What’s he doing? Who is this guy?’”

There are other exciting aspects of playing the festival, according to Dillz.

“It’s meeting with artists you never thought you would meet,” he said. “I met with the guy from Pierce the Veil today, so I’m excited on that level to connect with these guys and have them see my art. A lot of people have heard my name but have never seen me perform.”

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brian Blueskye moved to the Coachella Valley in 2005. He was the assistant editor and staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent from 2013 to 2019. He is currently the...