Locals: DJ Osh Kosh’s curiosity has her rubbing shoulders with hip-hop’s elite

  • Photo by Tim Johnson
By Paul Meara
From the October 31, 2013 edition

While Columbus’ hip-hop culture has bred many creatives, few have had the opportunity to leave the city and spread their brand beyond.

Asha Holland (known in the music world as DJ Osh Kosh) is one of the few who've been able to take her talents elsewhere. The high-energy and immensely talented turntable blazer has an intuition that may be the reason her risks have paid off.

After finishing high school and earning a music engineering degree from a school in Chillicothe, Osh ended up in Atlanta after her zeal to live in the city found her enrolling in the Atlanta Institute of Music. It was there her music career launched.

While attending school, she eventually landed a DJ gig for one of hip-hop’s most promising up-and-coming national collectives, and it all began because of something she was wearing one day in 2009.

“I ran into this guy named Curtis Williams and he was like, ‘Yo, you have a cool hat on,’” she said. “From there, he just never stopped talking to me and he became my best friend and ended up moving in with me.”

Williams ultimately became one of the founding and most recognizable members of Two-9, a mesh of numerous rappers, producers and DJs based in Atlanta who have received national acclaim (Complex recently named the group one of its 25 new rappers to watch) over the past year. The different groups and individuals involved in the large collective collaborated on the basis of their similar sounds and goals.

“That’s how Two-9 came together ’cause in 2009 we was all like just around each other but we never knew we were all going to be together,” Osh Kosh said. “Now I’m deejaying for these guys and we’re touring and all doing this together.”

Since then, DJ Osh Kosh has been on numerous tours with the group but has never forgotten about Columbus.

Recently returning from Atlanta and New York after doing spot shows for months in the two cities (often with Two-9), Osh is still focused on the culture in her hometown and hopes that her escalated success represents the creative culture here.

“Columbus has been a stepping stone for me, Ohio in general,” she said. “We start a lot of trends and I want to bring it back. The city is definitely growing and I see the progression.”