Independent recording artist and producer Kota the Friend has struck gold once again, this time with new single Red Lights. The latest drop from hip-hop’s most approachable act includes a video featuring his son, Lil Kota. Released on Friday, November 11th, Red Lights is a reminder of Kota’s versatility as a vocalist and songwriter, and the wholesome image his success is based upon.
Red Lights sees Kota taking more of a pop approach to hip-hop, with bouncy vibes and warm, open melodies. Crystal clear vocals with a touch of autotune carry the first verse and chorus. While the second verse is more of a traditional hip-hop delivery. As always, Kota’s songwriting is superb, balancing clever wordplay, with those meaningful small moments that bring realistic emotion to life through music.
Kota shared insight on his unique approach to songwriting:
“Red Lights is a fun song about staying in the house on a snowy, winter day in New York City. Lately I’ve been focused on appreciating the simple things that make life great and this song is reflective of that. Red Lights is sonically different from anything I’ve written or recorded. As I’m falling in love with life again I’m also falling in love with music all over again. I’m looking forward to exploring different sounds and having fun while doing it.”
The cool, smooth vibes of Red Lights are supplemented by gorgeous backing vocals from frequent Kota collaborator Hello O’shay. O’shay previously featured on Kota’s massive hit Long Beach from 2019 album Everything, which is built on similarly bright and rhythmic sounds.
The Red Lights video starts with Lil Kota before a curtain, with a caption that reads the following. “Dedicated to winters everywhere, especially places that get especially brick where the wind hurts your face.” As the beat drops, Lil Kota shows off some fire dance moves, lip synching along with the vocals. “Fun Fact #2: He knows the words because every day on the drive to and from school he makes me play my songs. It makes me hate my songs, but it makes him happy,” Kota shared on Instagram.
As the video progresses, it sees Kota producing and spitting the track from a home/studio setting. As always, the visuals are clean, and simplistic, using stripped down vision and true human expression to connect with the music.
Kota the Friend has once again gifted fans a piece of himself. A song and video to hold close on those frozen winter days where friends, family and peace always come first.