Despite its early beginnings in the Bronx, hip-hop is deeply rooted in Jamaica’s historic melodies. Rappers like Florida native Cochise can’t resist fusing the elements of the island's beloved sounds into his own music, including his latest track, “Cautious.”
"Fans can look forward to finding where the base is located," the artist tells New Times about the new banger.
Terrell Cox, AKA Cochise (pronounced coh-cheez), may come off like a regular guy who's obsessed with anime, cars, and soccer. Yet, if you listen to his unique catalog, it's evident that the 23-year-old rapper is actively carving out a new lane for himself in hip-hop with his eclectic sound.
"I say futuristic," Cochise says of his musical direction. "Something that you can listen to like three years from now and think I recorded it yesterday — just timeless music. At the end of the day, there's some music in this world that only follows a trend, and I'd rather not follow what everyone else is doing. I'd rather do my own thing."
Cochise has been cooking up his own tunes since high school. As a student of the game growing up in Palm Bay in Brevard County, he wasn't privy to recording studios or paying for the necessary time it takes to make a record. Before he was curating bibes that today's TikTok users can't get enough of, the rookie emcee recorded his early rhymes on a Playstation microphone. Fast-forward to 2018, Cochise stepped his game up and released his debut project, Pulp, an eight-track EP featuring trap-based cuts like "Know Me" and "Warrior."
Cochise didn't take his foot off the gas as his music spread like wildfire. Instead of riding one wave, the budding artist switched gears and infused his love for reggae and dancehall into his trap-laced bangers. In songs like "Bumba" and "Baxter," he flawlessly integrates his island influence as he lays out smooth bars with references to popular anime and mainstream shows like Disney Channel's Cory in the House. After releasing six more singles, Cochise delivered his second EP, Hijack, where he flexed his higher-pitched vocals and more upbeat bangers like "Jumpin Out" and "Automation."
"I went about it two ways," Cochise explains. "I went about it like Tyler, the Creator does something like. Sometimes he puts songs, and he doesn't have people's names on it, so people had to guess who's on it. Even though it's so random, you almost want to tell the artist just by their voice. That's what I basically wanted to try and learn so bad. Then I realized that with Jamaican music or just dancehall alone, the artist is constantly bending their voices on so many different spectrums. I sat there, and I was like, 'Yo, I really wanted to learn how to put the Jamaican into rap music as much as I can.' And that's what I did. So I tried to do the high-pitch voice and stuff like that, but now it's really paying off."
Cochise finally made some noise in 2019 and 2020 with his single "Hatchback." The synth-heavy banger was just the beginning of his viral fame. Once he signed to Columbia Records in June 2020, Cochise moved on to cook up other successful singles like "Knicks" and "Sanji."
Since then, Cochise hasn't let up. His collaboration with $not, "Tell Em," was certified gold in September by the Recording Industry Association of America. The song also debuted at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking his first entry on the chart. While most artists would boast the amazing accolade on social media, Cochise is humbled by the recognition.
"I'm very blessed, but I don't try to use it as a trophy of the time," Cochise says. "I'd rather keep doing what I'm doing and just make sure that everything else I'm doing is fine. I try not to focus on now, and I'd rather focus on later."
When asked who he is listening to know, Cochise browses through his recently played tracks on Apple Music and read off a playlist of jams he's been nodding his head to lately, from Lil B to Baby Keem. The Jamaican spitta has relied on inspirations like Busta Rhymes and Bob Marley throughout most of his career. However, when it comes down to it, the only other artist he truly wants to work with in the future is Pharrell Williams.
There's no pressure, though. Amid his current success, Cochise just wants to have fun.
"I just don't want to feel pressured to really do anything because once I feel pressured to do something, it's not going to be that fun," he says. "So I'm just taking my time and not rushing myself all because I have a really crazy hit out because once you rush yourself, that's how you start putting pressure on yourself to do way more."
He's got a lot more work to focus on now. Not only is he pushing his new single "Cautious," but he's also preparing for his next tour. After knocking out four concerts during the fall, the Palm Bay native was hype last month when he revealed that he would be going on tour with fellow rapper Anime.
"It's a blessing," Cochise says. "I thank God for it, and it's going to be a fun journey."
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE...
Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.