After nearly a decade of personal upheaval, incarceration and overall turmoil, then 19-year-old Kielan “Koshir” Franklin enrolled at Mesa State College of Colorado. He was trying to turn his life around, make something of himself.
Three months into his collegiate life, a friend introduced him to the music of rapper Tech N9ne. Koshir was particularly captivated by the hyperactive cut “Einstein.” “Just the energy in that song and the other songs that I started hearing, I was like, ‘This is what’s up,’” Koshir says today, several years later. “If this guy can make people move like that, then that is what I want to do.”
Koshir’s life soon became consumed with music – writing it, recording it, promoting it, performing it. His club and radio-ready material and non-stop hustle and grind led to independent releases and performances locally and regionally with such A-List talent as Twista, E-40, Ying Yang Twins, Too $hort and Mistah Fab.
Now based in Montana and and aligned with emerging Montana-based imprint Wapikiya Records, Koshir is ready to make his mark on the national scene with White Girl Diaries, an album that focuses on women, making money and having fun.
The airy “Baby I Go” is an understated club jam, while the imaginative “SpongeBob Squshy” is a hyphy track that displays Koshir’s comedic persona. Elsewhere, Koshir shows a more demented side on “Killin All Lames” with Cool Nutz and Double00, while “Poe Boi” details his struggles in the streets. The sensuous “Twister” showcases his willingness to be sexually adventurous.
Indeed, Koshir isn’t afraid to put all of his quirks on full display. “I’m an out-there person,” Koshir says. “Sometimes I like to say stuff just so people are like, ‘Did he just really say that? What is he talking about?’ I get into those situations to explain that I’m that sick. It’s just the way I express myself. I want people to remember me for crazy type of stuff.”
Unfortunately for Koshir, his own life was full of crazy stuff. Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Koshir was almost always on the move. He and his family relocated several times when he was a child. The reason: his mother and father were constantly fighting. When he was 11, Koshir, his sister and his brother moved with their mother to Colorado. They would have preferred to stay with their father, friends and family in Alaska, but they were forced into the move. That’s when Koshir’s life began to spin out of control.
Koshir and his siblings were the only mixed-race children living in a white suburban neighborhood, and caught a lot of flak for being different. Then, one day when his mother was chasing him around the house with a belt, Koshir stood up for himself. “I grabbed a knife and told her that if she came near me, I would stab her,” he recalls. “She called the cops and I went to juvey. From there, it started the cycle of probation, group homes, PO officers and all kinds of stuff.”
That’s when Koshir started committing petty crime (pulling fire alarms) before graduating to more series offenses (smoking weed, robbing stores, violating probation). By the time he was 18, he had been in legal trouble in Colorado, Alaska and Montana. While in jail, he started writing raps (his father was a fan of Snoop Dogg’s) and adopted the name Koshir because he felt that as long as he set out to get things done that things would ultimately work out.
That’s precisely what happened when he enrolled at Mesa State. He began paying more attention to making music than going to school. He was recording music on his laptop, which lead to his first album, 2008’s Garbage. From there, Koshir’s enjoyable brand of party-centric yet edgy rap earned him a major buzz in the region. He released the edgier Illy Wonka And The Pilly Poppin Factory and was also opening for national talent when they would perform in the area.
All of Koshir’s hard work paid off when a series of connections led him to rising Northwest record company Wapikiya Records. Now, with the impending release of White Girl Diaries, Koshir is ready to prove that he is ready for the big time.
“I want to be that one that was doubted, that came from nothing and made something better,” he says. “I feel like it’s time to do something different. With White Girl Diaries, the people behind it and the money behind it, it will actually get to some ears, some people that actually have influence.”
The fact that you’re reading this means that he already has.