Mixing country and rap, Paul Misfud is paving trails for future artists
“I ain’t snitching on nobody,” jokes Paul Misfud, better known throughout the area as Cowboy Killer, a rising Nashville artist from Kimbolton. Staying true to his Guernsey County roots is one of the foundations of his art, and he’s got big things planned to show his dedication.
Misfud grew up on the Kimbolton/Birmingham line near Salt Fork State Park and attended Buckeye Trail schools. He began his career recording music at the age of 14 in his garage. When he was 15, he transferred to Columbus’ Jerome High School. After high school, he headed to Florida where he obtained a degree in recording arts. New Mexico was next.
“That’s where my name really started to pop up,” Misfud said. “New Mexico really embraced me like I was from there.”
The attention he received in New Mexico prompted a move to Nashville.
The man behind Cowboy Killer
Misfud goes by the name Cowboy Killer after the nickname given to Marlboro Red Cigarettes. When Misfud was 11, he lost his father to lung cancer and the idea came to him in a dream.
He comes across as relatable and familiar. He’s the guy down the road who has horses. He’s the one high-fiving people on the street outside of the Downtown Arena. He looks like the kind of artist you could crack a beer with and share a joke. Humble and well spoken, you want to see him succeed.
Being a rapper from “G-County,” as Misfud calls it, hasn’t been easy. “It’s definitely crazy that I am a rapper from the 740. I grew up on our one country station, Kickin’ Country. My sister introduced me to rap music.”
The first CD he owned was 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying. It sparked his love of music and his curiosity about the industry.
“For me, the correlation between country and hip hop was very similar. You know? Like, the stories and the topics were similar to me, although the language and where you would think the backgrounds and cultural differences may clash, I saw them as so similar. Stories of alcoholism, fatherlessness, and violence, solving our problems the wrong way. I see them as parallels, not two different worlds.”
Not having confidence as a conventional singer or anyone pushing him to further his musical education, he “…just picked up hip hop and ran with it.” “There was a lot of stigma about being from my hometown and being a rapper. A lot of stigma. I guess I get the last laugh, you know what I mean?” he chuckled.
His style has a “banjo-centric” vibe and merges the two worlds of rap and country. The result is art that is oddly familiar and authentic at the same time. A new album, set to be released on March 8, will be titled Trapgrass, and Misfud describes it as a genre-defining moment.
“I’m trying to not only separate myself from what we call country rap, I respect the genre, I just don’t think that it necessarily fits what I’m doing. Trapgrass is, for me, trap drums, hip hop culture, and roots-inspired music, with bluegrass and Americana. I feel like it’s gonna pave the way for a lot of people to do the same thing.”
Recently coming off of a tour with Yelawolf, his first big gig was at a Harley-Davidson store in Matthews, North Carolina, for roughly 900 people. Since then, he’s performed across the country with his biggest show in front of 6,000 riders during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally at the legendary Iron Horse Saloon. “That was that moment where it’s like, ok, this is really real.”
“I wear it as a badge of honor. I’m from G-County and I represent it everywhere I go. I mean, it’s tattooed on me.”
Misfuds’ family still lives locally, and he wants to take care of them.
“The goal is not to be famous. The goal is to take care of my family. I don’t like to forget where I’m from, because it’s what got me here and I continue to mention it in my music and tell those stories,” Misfud said. “Being able to come home and do a show would be awesome.”
Cowboy Killer’s new album Trapgrass will be available March 8 and his music can be found anywhere you find streaming music. A new self-tour will be kicking off on April 15 from Nashville. He will travel northeast and end up at the Adelphia Music Hall in Marietta on April 27.
For more information and/or to see his work, visit Instagram @glfcowboy or find him at youtube.com/@glcowboy.