Kuf Knotz is the Philadelphia hip-hop universe's peaceable guy, a righteous dude whose lyrics are loving, whose rhythms are supple, and whose every move is all about the bass and the brotherhood. Considering how tense things are in America, Knotz is a model citizen of bliss, an art form in and of himself, as heard on albums such as
and his brand-new
A Positive Light
"A musical outlet helps me stay propitious by letting me express - put my feelings and energy into - new music," says Knotz, a Bryn Mawr native who moved to Philadelphia nine years ago. "I also don't watch the news much, instead focusing on my direct interactions with people. I am still fully aware and in tune with what's going on. It's not new. Racial tension has always been around. I don't allow it to stop or slow me down, but rather push me to work on ways of sharing something with people that could essentially open them up to looking at life through a different lens."
In 2010's Boombox Logic, that lens was gauzy and slightly rose-tinted. Here was a rapper on the affirmative side, with a liquid flow, sweet writing skills, and a diverse musical palette that touched on reggae and pop. Was he trying to avoid rap's braggadocio, materialism, and stress on violence? "I think most people embraced Boombox Logic's positivity," says Knotz. "It was a breath of fresh air in a genre that's congested with a lot of the same."
Four years later, he presents A Positive Light, more mature, with a firmer connection to his everyday experience. "The whole new album plays like a journal of my past three years," Knotz says. "The new sound is bigger and even more diverse than Boombox Logic." His sonic range in the new album has expanded to include elements of dance music and Philly soul. As for his lyrical vibe, Positive Light is richer than ever in righteous affirmation. "Though it plays as a daily journal, I was sure to focus on the good and bring that to light," he says. "It certainly captures the spiritual warrior inside me, indeed, and embraces my whole spiritual journey over the past three years, touching on points of struggle, patience, happiness, and strength, and the importance of believing in yourself." When Knotz says, "It's all good," he's not just making conversation. He's furthering his art.