A recap of COWBOYKILLERR's listening party / music video premiere for "Kentucky Derby"

Written by: Martin Sakansong

Edited by: Amari Newman


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Earlier this month, Amari and I pulled up to COWBOYKILLERR's listening party / music video premiere for his newest project Kentucky Derby. Advertised as "Derby Day," COWBOY's event was one of the best underground functions I've been to this year.

He announced the event on his Instagram story a couple days before, requiring people to RSVP via his DMs. All the slots filled that same day.

On the night of the event, I pulled up to the secret location in North Philly's Fishtown neighborhood. I walked into about 40-50 people congregating throughout a roomy photography studio. They cleared out most of the space, and set up a projector in front of the room that played COWBOYKILLERR's music videos on a loop. Top-tier Philly underground DJ Brick Ashley was on the 1s and 2s for the night.

I maneuvered through the crowd and found Amari posted in the back Tecate'd up (they provided free beverages and food). Everyone in the room seemed like seasoned vets of "the scene," and genuinely excited to be there. I felt like the only dude in attendance who wasn’t hip to COWBOYKILLERR's music.

Before premiering his music video for "Kentucky Derby," COWBOY played his tape of the same name to the crowd.

COWBOYKILLERR - Kentucky Derby (album)

If there's one thing I learned about COWBOYKILLERR as an artist, it's that he puts his foot on the gas in whatever he does, he's got that real energy. 

He rapped alongside each track with all the air in his lungs, refusing to use a mic because the event was a listening party, not a concert. He stopped the track a few times, reminding everyone to shut up and really listen to the music.

After playing the 12-track project, COWBOY got on the mic to talk about how much time and emotion went into making it. He then gave us background on the music video he planned to premiere. I could already tell he's a deep thinker by the way he raps, but his explanation of the video's concepts to the congregation confirmed it. 

After the show, we chopped it up with COWBOY for a little bit. He's a very personable dude who appreciates anyone tapping into his music. A personal favorite of mine was “WWM.” 

Hopefully, more artists will host listening sessions for new releases like this one. Nowadays, it feels like most use redundant and lame Instagram promo for their rollouts.

From what I observed, COWBOYKILLERR has a solid following of real supporters behind him, and I hope he keeps going.

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