Resident Two-9 DJ Osh Kosh is making moves

Her hard work helped the group get signed to Mike WiLL's Ear Drummer

In 2007, Asha Holland moved from her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, to Atlanta to attend school. She was trying to be practical. Initially, she thought that after studying production and engineering at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media in Duluth, she would land a job at Turner — "a real career," in her words. She was wrong.

"I got sick and tired of sitting behind a computer. Engineering is more like, 'This is what it is. This is how it has to be. These are the rules,'" she says.

Holland, 23, calls from a van heading out of Atlanta. Two-9 is set to open Nashville's Mad Decent Block Party later in the day, and she will appear as the hip-hop crew's resident touring DJ, Osh Kosh.

Osh Kosh, whose moniker is a family nickname, booked her first gig at age 11. She spun music at friends' birthday parties. Her mother would hire her for her friends' baby showers, and cookouts. In the mid-2000s, after visiting relatives in Atlanta and catching on to his music, Osh Kosh says she became the first person in Columbus to book Soulja Boy. It was for a teen night she founded at age 15. Two years after she moved to Atlanta, she was hanging out outside Slice (now Spin) in Castleberry Hill, when Two-9 ringleader Curtis Williams struck up a conversation. "I like your hat," he said.

Sometimes in Two-9's video interviews Osh Kosh is silent and appears just outside the frame. During a headlining hometown show at the Loft, though, she yelled Two-9's hooks the loudest. She says that working with Two-9 plays out similarly, sometimes with her speaking out and other times hanging back.

"I have to hold in my own feelings sometimes, but I also dish them out: 'I don't know, guys. That might not be a good idea,'" she says. "I'm the mom of Two-9, but they're still my big brothers."

Late last year, Osh Kosh played a crucial role in linking Two-9 to its new label boss. To celebrate the release of his latest mixtape #MikeWiLLBeenTriLL, Atlanta producer Mike WiLL Made It hired Osh Kosh to DJ a concert with "surprise guests" at Terminal West. That night, one high-profile guest after another showed up: Project Pat, Pastor Troy, Migos, Trinidad James, 2 Chainz. During Jeezy's performance, T.I. snuck up from behind and wrapped his arm around him.

The release party may have appeared effortless, but WiLL and Osh Kosh had rehearsed the show for weeks.

"Being stressed and trying to figure shit out, it made us focus — and it showed the guys: 'Oh shit, Osh is fuckin' with him. Let me see what he's all about,'" she says.

After the party, Two-9 went from being a featured group on #MikeWiLLBeenTriLL to being signed to Mike WiLL's Interscope imprint Ear Drummer Records. That might not have happened without Osh Kosh.

"I think it's a great move, all of us being in Atlanta," she says.