He is wild, he is goofy, he is turned up, and he is as real as it gets. Kodak Black has lived the rap life in the truest sense since birth, and his music makes no bones about it. The young artist is prolific and has made the most of his time, making music and rapping since childhood.
To date, Kodak Black’s career discography includes seven mixtapes, eighteen music videos, two studio albums, and twenty one singles. He may be famous for showing off his stacks of cash and his mouth full of gold bling, but Kodak Black’s life is not all about the fame and fortune. Read ahead to get the full scoop on Kodak Black’s intense life and self made music career.
Born to Be Kodak Black – The Early Years
Before he was Kodak Black, he was born Dieuson Octave (though later on in life he would change his name to Bill K. Kapri, inspired to take on this new identity in 2018 while in prison by a Hebrew Israelite priest).
He was born to Marcelene Octave in Broward County, Pompano Beach, Florida on June 11, 1997. His mother was an immigrant originally from Haiti. Young Kodak Black was raised in Pompano Beach by his mother, where the two lived in a low income public housing project named Golden Acres.
During his incarceration, Kodak Black began to identify as a Hebrew Israelite after a priest who conducts prison ministry studied scripture with him. He later filed to change his name to Bill Kahan Blanco, with Kahan supposedly being an alternative spelling of kohen, a term used in Judaism to refer to priests who descend from the prophet Aaron, the brother of Moses.On May 2, 2018, he legally changed his name from “Dieuson Octave” to “Bill K. Kapri”.
It was an extremely early start in the rap game for Kodak Black, and his childhood activities reflected his work. His rapping days began back when he was in elementary school. At that time, he used the simple nickname, “Black,” but would also go by the name “Lil’ Black.” It was not until later when he joined Instagram that he began going by his current moniker, “Kodak Black.”
He selected use of the handle “Kodak” on his Instagram page as a tribute to the camera and film company of the same name, and it stuck to become his most popular stage name later on with his fans.
Young Black started going to trap houses in his neighborhood as a child to record music, where he would often get into physical and verbal altercations with his friends. He seemed to live a double life, as he spent his time in equal parts upping his vocabulary by reading dictionaries and thesauruses and also running in the streets and participating in breaking and entering and theft activities.
His extracurricular illegal activities continued into his early teens, which led to his expulsion from school for fighting when he was in the 5th grade followed by an arrest in middle school for automobile theft. When asked to comment on this period of his life, Kodak Black said that he felt he had two options as a child, to “sell drugs with a gun on his hip or rap.” 1
Kodak Black’s Career
His young musical career went through multiple iterations very early on. It was in the year 2009 when he was twelve years old that Kodak Black became part of a local group of rappers known as Brutal Youngz, though at that time he went by the stage name J-Black.
Following his time with Brutal Youngz, he moved on to rap with another group by the name of The Kolyons. He then went on to create and release Project Baby, which was his first mixtape. The first mixtape came out in December 2013.
One year later in December 2014, he followed it up with a second mixtape, entitled Heart of the Projects. It was also around this time that he began to receive substantial notice with the release of his single , “No Flockin.’” In similar fashion, he released his third mixtape in December 2015, this one entitled Institution.
A few months prior to the release of his third mixtape, Kodak Black gained a surge of popularity and notoriety when one of his songs, “Skrt,” was featured in a video posted by the Candian rapper Drake. Drake filmed and posted a video of himself dancing to the Kodak Black track. It is no surprise that it was later that same month that Kodak Black signed a deal for himself with Atlantic Records.
A few months later, in May 2016, it was announced that Kodak Black would be going on a national tour with rapper and fellow Atlantic Record label artist Lil Uzi Vert. The tour was to be known as “The Parental Advisory Tour.” When it came time for the tour to take place, however, Kodak Black was not part of the lineup.
However, he did go on to release his fourth mixtape, Lil B.I.G. Pac, shortly thereafter in June of 2016. Mixtape number four was the first of Kodak Black’s to make the Billboard charts, as it moved as high up on the “Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums” list as number 49. That same month he would be named as one of the “2016 Freshman Class” by XXL magazine (the list would also include fellow up and coming hip hop artists Lil Uzi Vert, Anderson Paak, Desiigner, G. Herbo, Dave East, 21 Savage, Lil Dicky, Denzel Curry, and Lil Yachty). 2 It was also in 2016 that his song “Can I” was released, though Kodak was in jail at that time.
In 2016, it was written in The Fader that Kodak Black “articulates the constant state of affliction that living in a poverty-stricken environment can mean. He makes emotionally intelligent observations in a manner reminiscent of teenage artists of the ’90s, such as Mobb Deep and Lil’ Wayne, whose voices were valued as genuine illustrations of life in their corners of America.” Also notable is that Kodak Black is very often referred to as a “mumble rapper” by those who describe his style.
The next year, on March 31, 2017, Kodak Black’s debut studio album, entitled Painting Pictures, was released. This album hit a new record for sales for Kodak as it sold 71,000 units in the first week. The album also climbed up to the number 3 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. It featured the single “Tunnel Vision.”
A bit later on that year, Project Baby 2, the follow up to the mixtape Project Baby, was released. A few months later a deluxe version of Project Baby 2 containing the single “Codeine Dreaming” came out, which was called Project Baby 2: All Grown Up. This release took place in November 2017.
Kodak Black released the Heart Break Kodak mixtape on Valentines Day of 2018. The second studio album by Kodak Black also came out that year on December 14. The album, entitled Dying to Live, included the single “Zeze,” (number 2 spot on the Hott 100), and the album would go on to climb to the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart. It remained there at number one for a week’s time.
More songs were released in the following years, including “Zombie” on October 25, 2019 and “Because of You” on February 14, 2020 (another Valentine’s Day release), and “Vultures Cry 2” on May 12, 2020.
Controversy, Philanthropy, and Legal Issues
Though he is young, Kodak Black’s musical career and life have had no shortage of controversy, drama, and legal issues already. As previously mentioned, he faced criminal charges starting all the way back in his middle school years, and these problems have continued and persisted throughout his life.
It is evident from his lyrics and style that Kodak Black’s music often details misdeeds from the past. However, it is of equal weight that he is a complex, dual natured individual with a great deal of philanthropy and good to his name in contrast to the negative press that so often follows him.
Black was placed under arrest in October 2015 under charges of battery, cannabis possession, robbery, and false imprisonment of a child. Then he was again taken in during April 2016, this time for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, fleeing from officers, and once again possession of marijuana. The next month he was arrested and detained in custody in Broward County for false imprisonment and armed robbery.
In the midst of legal issues, Kodak has also experienced criticism and backlash from his contemporaries, peers, and fans. For example, he got a great deal of heat in August 2016 over a video that was released of one of his studio sessions. In this video, Kodak was shown speaking negatively of dark-skinned black women, comparing them in a less favorable view than those women with lighter skin. Also in the year 2016, Kodak unwittingly stirred up trouble when he insulted fellow rappers and colleagues XXL Freshmen members Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert on Instagram (the latter seemed particularly unperturbed by the slight, however, and said that he was in no way bothered by the slight).
Kodak Black’s Instagram featured a live video in January 2017 that showed the rapper and several male friends receiving sexual treatment from a single woman, which led to him receiving a giant bump in views and follows.
In the early days of 2018, a raid of Kodak Black’s home in Florida took place, which led to the rapper being arrested. In June of that same year, while incarcerated, Kodak would earn his high school GED.
Later in 2018, he made many philanthropic donations, including to the Jack and Jill’s Center for early childhood education, to Paradise Childcare in his home county of Broward, Florida, and to the low-income Texas Cleburne Independent School District for school supplies. He also gave money for the opening of a school in Haiti. He was eventually released in August 2018.
Despite these positive contributions, his string of legal issues continued. In 2019 Kodak Black was arrested once again, this time when he was getting ready to perform in Miami, Florida. He was arrested for firearm charges on both the state and federal levels by the Miami Police Department and Federal officers. In the early months of 2020, he pled guilty to the charge of firearms possession.
There is currently some debate over the amount of time that Kodak Black will spend in jail. Prosecutors have pushed for a stronger, longer sentence due to his past history of crimes and arrests, but Kodak’s defense lawyer claims that the rapper is not a danger to society and his currently charged crimes are not violent.
Kodak has struggled while incarcerated, becoming violently involved with other inmates and ending up in fights. One of these fights inadvertently resulted in an injury to one of the guards at the prison. These issues have done Kodak Black no favors as prosecution lawyers and judges consider his case, his future, and his potential for release back into society. At this time, he is facing anywhere from two to seven years in prison for the firearms charge. He is serving time at a United States Federal Penitentiary in Inez, Kentucky, an institution otherwise known as “Big Sandy.”
Though he is still Kodak Black to the core, while incarcerated he is known as inmate number 18149-104 and serves under his legally chosen name, Bill K. Kapri.
Child of the streets and a product of the projects, a lifelong rapper, producer, and all-over hip hop artist, a convicted felon, a philanthropist, and a firebrand: Kodak Black has created no small amount of noise on the radio and off during his young life, and if his lyrics and style are any indication, his future will hold more of the same.