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Fairbanks, AK | INDIE

Fairbanks, AK | INDIE
Band Hip Hop R&B


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"Starbuks makes amends:Fairbanks rapper Michael Cofey addresses his past on his latest album."

The Fairbanks rapper, known as Starbuks to his fans, has released his long-awaited third solo album, “Whiskey, Weed and Women,” and it’s a reflection of his past, including his mistakes, that helped shape him into the man he is today. Cofey is candid in talking about his youth — his arrest and jail time for selling drugs, his misadventures as a young man in Fairbanks — and how now, at 35, he’s learned from those mistakes. It’s all a cathartic release he put into the lyrics of the 17-track album, of which he is the lead writer on each song.

“This album is personal,” he said over a beer at Lavelle’s Taphouse in downtown Fairbanks. “Rap is competitive. Hip-hop is competitive. That’s why I waited so long to put out an album. The title is about the hangover after the lifestyle I was living.”

“Whiskey, Weed and Women” is broken into three parts — “Whiskey” being the party life Cofey was living, “Weed” reflecting on addictive behaviors, and “Women” taking on Cofey’s relationships with the women in his life. It’s the story of how his choices affected the people around him, namely his friends, family and children. The album is told from the point of view of Cofey talking to a therapist about his past.

“I knew I had to put the album out,” he said. “I had to be vulnerable.”

A Fairbanks influence

Cofey was born and raised in Fairbanks, a graduate of West Valley High School. He described himself as always pushing the envelope and going against the grain, not so much a fighter but fighting for what he thought was right.

Music was always a part of his life, from playing drums in band in high school to singing in the youth choir of his childhood church. His mom, Janice, was one of his biggest musical influences, he said, as she listened to all genres of music. “You’d come home and it would be Guns N’ Roses or Hall and Oates or rap music. She never put a barrier onto what I could listen to.”

That range of music laid the foundation for his outlook today and his desire to work with different genres and artists. That sound is reflected on the album in its guitar and drum tracks, something Cofey wanted to include.

As a university student in Oregon, where he was also playing college baseball, he recorded a few albums and started to receive attention for his raps. Also a father at the time, Cofey dropped out of college, to the dismay of his mom, to be a fulltime dad and pursue music. About 2006, he started pursuing music fulltime.

“First, I love it,” he said. “It allows me to express myself and talk about current events going on in our community, our nation and our world. It’s talking about life experiences. It’s chasing the dream for the love. Growing up here, we didn’t have much of a trail for music.”

Cofey credits rapper Alaska Redd, a longtime Fairbanks musician and influencer in the scene, as opening the path to rap in Alaska. Under the guidance of Redd, Cofey said, a community started here.

“Our genre of music is knocking down barriers,” Cofey said. “There are still places today that will not allow hip-hop in their establishments.”

'That guy from the fair'

You can’t talk to Cofey without talking about the Tanana Valley State Fair. In August 2016, Cofey and fellow rapper Bishop Slice, né Julian Lillie, were ejected mid-performance by now-former fair manager Joyce Whitehorn for what she claimed were less than family-friendly lyrics. Both Cofey and Lillie maintain their lyrics were about seeking redemption for past behaviors rather than inciting violence, as fair officials claimed. Cofey broadcast the confrontation and ejection on Facebook, where the video went viral and garnered national media attention and criticism.

“It was unfortunate but fortunate for a number of different reasons,” Cofey said. “The reason it was unfortunate was because I’m from Alaska and from Fairbanks, but it showed the ugly side of what’s going on not only in our town but our country. The reason it’s fortunate is it showed the community rallying behind us.”

The fair ejection even made it onto the album in the song “Be,” with Cofey rapping, “Yes, I’m that guy from the fair but I’m not that guy from the fair.” The fair incident helped Cofey with a realization — that he does have a voice in the community. He’s putting it to use on “Whiskey, Weed and Women.”

“It’s not about how many people you have in your social network,” he said, “it’s who you have in your social network.”

The future

With the album available now digitally and physical copies releasing in three weeks, Cofey has his eyes set on the future. Music is his passion and dream, and he’s making it his business.

Cofey works at IBEW as an apprentice electrician (“I love it,” he said) but his mind is always on his music, both the creative side and the business side. He admires several in the business — “Tupac to this day is still relevant. Nas is relevant. Then there is Ice Cube and Ice-T.” — and he’s using rap megastars’ careers as models, citing Jay Z as someone who started in music but grew to run a business empire. That’s his end goal.

“You see people going from doing rap and having this stigma of young, black and angry, and then they transition into businessmen. My end goal is to have a major influence on hip-hop in Alaska and leave a message behind for my kids. I want to give other people an opportunity.”

That opportunity is growing. Cofey has toured the state and Lower 48 and delved into the business side, even creating his own label, Cofey Houze Entertainment, on which “Whiskey, Weed and Women” is recorded. It’s an outlet as well as a career that he wants to pursue, and he encouraged others to do so as well.

“Believe in yourself, believe in your ability, always work hard,” Cofey said. “You’re going to have people around you who don’t see the vision you see and will tell you so. Move to the beat of your own drum. If you want to do music, do music. You want to play sports, play sports. Be a rocket scientist? Be a rocket scientist. Stay focused. If you work hard, you’ll get it.”


Album: "Whiskey, Weed and Women" is available on iTunes, Spotify and Tidal with the physical album releasing in three weeks


Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter at - Daily News Minet

"Starbuks bucks his criminal pass in new release."

If you were a resident of Fairbanks at any point in the last 20 to 30 years, you may have heard of a place people liked to call "Cofey Corner.”

Located on 20th Avenue and Blueberry Street, it's a place drug dealers would refer to as "a million dollar corner.” This would be the grounds of growth for a young Michael Cofey, also known as local Fairbanks rapper Starbuks.

It’s safe to say the Cofey family name in Fairbanks is commonly connected with criminal venture; Mostly drug dealing. Starbuks witnessed first hand at a young age the effects of the fast life. The allure of money, women, and that naive feeling of freedom to do whatever the fuck you want seemed too hard for Starbuks to resist. Eventually, it all caught up with him. He found himself charged with conspiracy to sell a controlled substance, which kept him "on the bench" so-to-speak for almost 3 years. He is currently working an electrician's internship being what he refers to as a "wireman.” Not everything from his past days has long since gone. He still continues his artistic expression with a newer, more honest, and positive direction to its content. He recently released a new mixtape, a concept album entitled "Whiskey, Weed, and Women".

"It is about the aftermath and consequences of a particular lifestyle and how it affected the people around me,” Starbuks said. “The Album is broken into three sections — Whiskey being the party aspect, Weed being the addictive behavior portion, and Women of course being my relationships with the women involved with me."

Although physical copies have yet to drop, the release is currently available for stream on Spotify.

Starbuks had touched base with me about checking out the album a few weeks before it came out. He emailed me a preview of the release, which sat stagnant in my inbox for longer than it should have. It wasn't until a few weeks later I encountered the release. I was driving around downtown with my good friend and local talent Darius Dossman having what we like to call a "smoke session". He was playing some music unfamiliar to my ears through the auxiliary cable connected from his phone to the stereo. The voice over the speakers was familiar, but I couldn't quite pin point it.

"It's Mr. Michael Cofey" said Darius.

The song playing sampled what sounded like a gospel track. It was titled ‘Shoot N Till Empty’ It still stands as one of my favorites on the mixtape. He gets more personal with his audience on tracks like ‘Alone’, and ‘Close to Me’. ‘God's Favorite’ features the vocal stylings of Dawn McLain, and comes off as a sort of testimonial to his life. He has a nice list of featured artists on the release to boot. There's Alaska Boy, Muldoon Manny, Duckman, and Bishop Slice on the local end. He even calls for some national acts to the roster, with the one and only Devin the Dude blessing us on the song ‘Wouldn't Mind’.

Having had a recent interview with Noisey magazine, there are high hopes on the horizon for my homie Starbuks. Keeps your ears open and your eyes peeled folks. For now though, get off your ads, and find yourself a copy of Starbuks' Whiskey, Weed and Women. - Anchorage Press

"Requiem For Tha Streets: Meeting Mr. Cofey"

Every now and then an artist comes out as a reflection of another artist and another time. This is one of those times. Meet Mr. Cofey who goes by the stage name Starbuks and just released his debut album “Requiem for tha Streets: Meeting Mr. Cofey,” which is available in CD form for $12.98 as well as digitally for $9.99 at The album features The Boy Boy Young Mess also known historically as Messy Marv, Prince Paul, Skitzo Scoe, Rawbeatzz, Bay Dilla, Josh Boots, Dirty, Dice, and A.D.

What stands out to the listener right off the bat in the intro “Welcome to the Show” is both the cadence and voice of Starbuks remind you of Ja Rule minus the singing in a musical style befitting of early 2000’s. The Oregonrapper proves to show an organization more befitting of storytelling rather than one based on punch lines. On tracks such as “Hard Work,” the dark humored themed “Hip Hop Police,” the lamenting “Fly on the Wall,” and “My Vice” this facet really comes across strongly on very listenable and moving tracks. In fact, the reliance on being personal rather on street sounds rather than slower cannabis influenced beats differentiates him from most of the local artists that dominate the Northwest scene. The soul may resound throughout the album, but Mr. Cofey has a thing or two for the clubs too such as the Messy Marv feature “Take Your Time,” “Party Over Here” with the Meek Mill sounding Skitzo Scoe, and “We On.”

Continue reading on Meet Mr. Cofey - Tacoma Live Music | - Examiner

"Patiently waiting: Alaska"

Starbuks and his label Cofey Houze Entertainment aim to give the Northwest music scene a full energy boost. " I'm trying to help the Northwest movement grow and let people know that we're serious,"he says."Theres talent out here." - Ms. Rivercity (Ozone Magazine) - Ozone Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Fairbanks, Alaskas Starbuks has cemented himself as one of Alaska premier Hip-hop Artist. Weather he's being controversially thrown out of the Fair or performing all over Alaska sometimes even with a live band! One thing is undeniable Starbuks is buzzing and has a undoubtedly loyal fan base.

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