Kodak Black Releases “Bill Israel”
By Mike Cotton
Since the release of Florida rapper Kodak Black’s album “Dying to Live” in December of 2018, Kodak’s been in even more trouble with the law. In November of 2019, Kodak Black, took a four-year sentence in a plea deal for two weapon charges. He’s also facing sexual assault charges in South Carolina from 2016, in which he was accused of rape. In 2017 during his three-month jail sentence, Kodak announced that he identifies as Hebrew Israelite after a priest who conducted prison ministry studied scriptures with him. According to his attorney Bradford Cohen, although he isn’t officially converted, Kodak identifies with Judaism. In June of 2020, he was serving his federal sentence at a high-security prison, United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy in Inez, Kentucky. In September, Bradford Cohen stated that he would be filing a lawsuit against Big Sandy due to Kodak being denied access to a rabbi in order to further the practices of his newfound religious consciousness. On top of the denial of a rabbi, Kodak also claimed that while he was in Big Sandy, he was mistreated and beaten by guards. In October Kodak Black was transferred to the United States Penitentiary, Thomson in Thomson, Illinois from the Federal Trading Center in Oklahoma City.
Despite all of the hassles that Kodak Black has had to deal with within the media and the law, he’s still maintained his image, as well as still producing works for his fans while being incarcerated. His third studio album, “Bill Israel”, consists of eleven tracks that feature rappers such as Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, Tory Lanez, Jackboy, and CBE. This album also consists of producers such as TrapMoneyBenny, Earl on the Beat, Xeryus, Charlie Handsome, Beats By Bangs, and DJ Showtime. “Bill Israel” is titled after both Kodak’s real name, as well as the state of Israel in order to display his love and commitment to his religious beliefs. This album was teased back in April of this year through a tweet on Kodak Black’s twitter page. The initial title for this album was “Kill Bill”. In October the title’s name changed to “Bill is Real”, all of the changes made to the album’s title, cover art, number of tracks, and the release date were publicized on Kodak’s social media pages on October 26th.
One of the most significant things in rap is when an artist actually lived what they’re talking about in their music. Kodak Black still somewhat lives the life that he’s talking about in his music, and as much as he may be in and out of prison, he doesn’t glorify that lifestyle; simply because he wants his fans to not only see his growth, but to grow with him. Despite Kodak’s frequent troubles with the law, the positive messages within his music are nothing short of beautiful. He wants his fans to know (through his music) that he’s not the same knucklehead kid that was rapping on “No Flockin’”. He may still make mistakes, but in his music you can hear his faith in religion and feel the pain of his past life, as well as some of the aspects of his present life. I feel as if “Bill Israel” will display a lot more of Kodak’s pain from within the last two years, this album may provide his fans with an even more mature Kodak Black, a form of him that a lot of people have been waiting for.