When Durham rapper Kourvioisier (pronounced just like the cognac) showed up at the Cary Barnes & Noble for this interview, he possessed the sort of swagger usually reserved for those who have already conquered the rap game. However, the 23-year-old MC still has a lot to learn about getting his name out there – and this is coming from dude himself.
Kourvioisier even makes it difficult to find him online. If you want to know more about him and/or listen to his music, don’t Google his name (which he says is his real first name). You’ll have to Google “ktr1027” (his initials and his birthdate, of course). After that, you’ll find his various social-media pages, including his Bandcamp page, which has the free EPs “The Fear of Progress” and “Cable in the Classroom.”
Oh, there’s full-length stuff – but you’re gonna have to wait for that. “The reason you can’t find my music – it may not be time,” explains Kourvioisier. “Some things you have to prep for, and preparation is key.”
Like most budding rappers, Kourvioisier got the hip-hop bug at a young age, writing rhymes at age 11 and recording music at 14. He says his DJ stepfather, known as DJ Jam, is to blame for that. “Basically, he had two turntables set up in my room,” he remembers. “So, whether I wanted to hear music or not, hip-hop or whatever genre it was, I had to. So, you know, I took a liking to it.”
Performing live since 2010, Kourvioisier continues to spend most of his time learning from his contemporaries, like respected Durham DJ Skaz Digga, who hosted Kourvioisier’s debut mixtape, “The Return of the Golden Era,” in 2010.
“How did Michael Jordan become a better player?” he asks. “He studied. That’s all I’ve been doing now – studying, studying, studying… I’ve honestly just been under, soaking in a lot of stuff, evaluating and planning out how do I want to convey myself as an artist and a brand. So, it’s proper preparation—that’s how I look at it.”
If you talk to certain local MCs, they believe that Kourvioisier is as ready as he’ll ever be.
“He’s definitely bringing back that old-school, Little Brother-type of sound, with the samples and boom-bap sounds,” says fellow Durham MC Jay “The Real Laww” Lawrence. Both Laww and his occasional partner-in-rhyme Toon snapped up Kourvioisier to perform for the first “DURM Hip Hop Summit Concert Series Presents,” a monthly rap show they’re starting Friday night at Devine’s Grill & Sports Bar in Durham. “He’s underground – very underground, apparently.”
What Kourvioisier appears to be preparing for is “The Critique,” his upcoming, full-length project with producer Dre Rubio, which will include appearances by other figures in the Triangle rap scene.
“You know, when you’re handling a lot of things on your own with your predecessors involved – as they would call it, your ‘OGs,’ in a sense – when it comes to your predecessors, it’s all in planning,” he says. “And all I’ve been doing now is planning in order to execute.”
So, when does that project comes out? Who knows, but Kourvioisier is determined to drop it when he feels it’s good enough to make him a major force in this scene.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he says, “and that’s what I’m learning to do now: not worry about what I don’t have, but fix up for the future of what I can have.”