Avery Jones, better known by the stage name Kota the Friend, returned to his former “stomping grounds” in the latest episode of “Live From My Den,” fondly reflecting on how growing up in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn bore heavy influence on his songwriting process.

The New York native explained how two of his greatest musical mentors — Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z —lived just blocks away from his childhood home. When Kota started producing his own music, he began drawing inspiration from his favorite artists to mold his signature lo-fi, hip-hop sound.

“I studied Jay-Z and his lyricism. And I studied Biggie and his wit. And I studied Bob Dylan,” Kota said. “[Dylan] writes it in a way that you understand. It’s simple enough, but it’s complex enough where you can say it without saying it. And these artists taught me writing. They taught me how to say my words in a way that the audience can feel it.”

To the extent of his more recent discography, Kota credits musicians like Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bob Dylan with having a pervasive effect on the music he produces: “If you listen to my music now, you can hear those notes,” he said.

The “Colorado” singer’s latest album, “Lyrics to GO, Vol. 4” debuted Jan. 18 and features 10 tracks. But the 30-year-old rapper isn’t planning to slow down production anytime soon; he revealed he’s already completed another project, which is set to release in the early months of 2023. Kota also said he hopes to create an album with a “similar vibe” to his song “Red Lights,” which he produced alongside frequent collaborator Hello O’shay. The 2022 single came to fruition after Kota spontaneously began sampling beats on an Instagram Live.

“I’m not trying to make an album full of songs that sound like ‘Red Lights,'” Kota clarified. “I’m just trying to make a whole bunch of songs that I enjoy creating… It’s a very free process right now, and I’m loving it. And that’s exactly how ‘Red Lights’ happened.”

Just a year after the release of Kota’s introspective album “Memo,” the songwriter said he’s currently focused on keeping his music light-hearted and experimenting with new genres — a notable shift from his prior rap discography, which he described as “really close and spiritual.”

“I remember the first time I made something that was similar to a house song, I was scared to perform it because I didn’t know how that is going to transfer over to a live stage. I’m used to doing raps,” Kota said. “But when you start singing and getting into that groovy house, it’s just different. And really, it’s just practice. You have to practice. And you see how the crowd reacts and everything, and it works at some point. But it just takes practice.”

Watch the full episode above.

This season of Live from My Den is made possible by Hard Rock and in partnership with Fujifilm X Series US.