‘Hey Young World’
Local artist sends positive message to metro youth
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Hip hop has reached a point where youth worldwide have accepted the music as the voice of their generation, a 21st century expression of independence and self-confidence. For Matthew “Kodac” Caffey, his lyrics and dedication to the culture have led to opportunities to inspire a new generation of young men and women, a moment he has seized with respect and accountability to leaders who have come before him.
Kodac recently premiered a new video for his song “Hey Young World,” a meaningful lesson to children about setting goals and taking advantage of your time to achieve them. Featuring fellow artists Blissfull and Agile, the song is an uplifting message for a new generation of dreamers and believers, utilizing the power of music to build for the future.
“Life is so much bigger than just this music; it’s really just a tool in my tool belt,” says Kodac. “Music is a way for me to reach out to people, to travel, but I really have a message of unification and love and building with other people.”
“Hey Young World” is a song from Kodac’s latest album, “Blessed By A Broken Heart: The Experience,” released late last year. He has performed live steadily since the release of the album throughout the state to promote the album, including appearances at the New Yak City Block Party, a monthly event held in downtown Pontiac hosted by One Be Lo.
The album features guest appearances from Nick Speed, One Be Lo and Senim Silla of Binary Star, Agile, Magestic Legend, Buff 1, T. Calmese, Blue Raspberry and Ro Spit. “Blessed” was released through the independent production company GFG (Gifts From God) Entertainment.
Kodac says the title of the album is a statement dedicated to the strength of people who have found a way to thrive despite the hardships of life. Here in Michigan, many people have experienced heartbreaks from different circumstances, but the discovery of resilience during those times is truly a blessing.
For Kodac, music is a therapeutic release that has helped him through his own difficulties. With songs like “Living To Struggle” and “Soul Searching” alongside the tracks “They Don’t Know Me” and “Dream Puzzle,” he has presented himself as a dynamic lyricist with concepts for everyone to identify with.
“I was going through a lot of stuff at the time, and it was really just my way of relating to other people who are going through a lot,” says Kodac. “People look at artists like they’re mythical and not necessarily human. Basically what I was doing was humanizing myself and letting people know that not every artist is out there in a club and popping bottles.”
Kodac is a native of Pontiac, a city that has experienced decades of trying economic times. The city once helped move the world through the auto industry, but a generation of youth has now grown during an era of rampant unemployment, diminishing education and escalating rates of youth imprisonment. Finding points of light within these bleak conditions can be a rare gem.
He recognizes that during these difficult times, becoming a role model for young men and women is his greatest priority. His path to becoming this inspiration means creating a living for himself through his songs and desire to give back to the city. In addition to creating music, he is also a community organizer, speaker and actor.
“There’s always power in numbers,” says Kodac. “That’s why it’s good to meet people to continue to build with. When you start meeting other people, you have to have a strong foundation, and once you have that you can start branching out into others.
“People recognize potential and talent, that’s why there’s mutual respect amongst artists, that’s why in this metro Detroit area we’re trying to push this unification of artists, whatever form it is that you choose to express yourself.”
Developing this network of artists and creating a business for himself means being able to expose people to a more positive style of hip hop music, whether his own or artists he collaborates with. In the era of the Internet, opportunities for reaching a global audience are abundant, and ultimately depends the initiative of the artist.
Kodac is hoping to make an impact with fans of hip hop music around the world.
“You got a great product, you want to have it accessible to as many people as possible,” says Kodac. “I feel like I have a great product, I feel like I have a great message. One of the slogans of GFG Entertainment is ‘We All Have A Gif,’ and that basically is another confirmation for encouraging people to do whatever it is that you do to the best of your ability.
“Everybody is good at something, and put in the right environment you can thrive, you can flourish with whatever your gift is.”
Kodac’s album “Blessed By A Broken Heart” is available through iTunes and his Web site, www.kodacakam80.bandcamp.com. The “Hey Young World” music video is available to watch via www.youtube.com. Kodac will perform live July 7 at Mill Street Bar in Pontiac, along with national recording artist Freeway, 313Phresh from Detroit and several other up and coming artists.