Kansas City’s rap and hip hop sub-scenes continued to gain steam this year. These are only “picks”, and not a “best of” list. Here’s to looking back on some of our favorite local hip hop releases in 2013, and an even more musically rich 2013 for Kansas City’s underground music collective.
10. Young Fate – “Paystyle Flow”
Though listening to it served as some overdue homework, Young Fate’s 2012 mixtape, “Paystyle Flow” (hosted by Ron Ron), was probably one of the more well-rounded mixtapes out of KC’s street rap scene this year. Fate put some interesting spins on old school beats like Whodini’s “Friends” and others. Retaining hustler music ethos throughout, this one followed in the Brainiak Music mixtape way.
9. JL of B.Hood & Info Gates – “Heavy Metal Objects” EP
This collaborative EP from rapper JL, and producer Info Gates (two names who really etched themselves into KC’s hip hop landscape in 2012), was short and sweet. But through only six tracks, JL officially kicked off a tear through the local scene, until officially blowing the door off the scene’s hinges with his “Brain Scatter” album over the summer. This quick collection also seemed to build more steam for Gates’ prolific 2012, which saw him producing a lot of tracks for Ces Cru and others.
8. Louiz Rip – “Joe Average”
KCK’s Louiz Rip, in conjunction with the Herbie Hancock-schooled producer, Royce Diamond, released “Joe Average” back in July. Rip’s verbose rap chic paired with Royce’s raucous beats stamped itself as a surefire favorite for us out of Kansas City in 2012. The featured track above, “Marvin Gaye”, put Lou’s more-than-decent singing skills on front street. But his passionate flow and rich vocabulary were the real meat of this project.
7. The Skeptics – “1990Now” Mixtape (Mixed by Johnny Quest)
Disclaimer: The Skeptics are from Topeka. But we’ve never been shy about shedding light on Top-City’s own hip hop artists in addition to those dwelling in KC limits. For those who enjoy mixtapes that actually have a DJ presence, this one may have flown under your radar this year. Released as a free download way back in February, this is exactly how a mixtape is supposed to be. You can thank Lawrence’s Johnny Quest for that, in addition to the young hip hop collective, The Skeptiks, who show a lot of promise. While we haven’t heard much from them over the past several months, we hope that they are still cranking out the jams.
6. Godemis – “The Deevil”
One half of Ces Cru, Godemis released The Deevil back in April through Strange Music as a free datpiff download. While this, his rap partner’s “Matter Don’t Money”, and Ces Cru’s later EP, 13, were supposed to offer appetizers before Ces’ upcoming album on Strange, Godemis’ mixtape championed local anthems like “Digits” and “Old Gregg.” The mixtape lyrically dismembered just about anything that came out this year. Just about…
5. Ubiquitous – “Matter Don’t Money”
Ubiquitous’ debut loner project aside from Godemis presented itself as the other side of the coin known as the solo Ces Cru mixtapes of 2012 (see pick #6). “Matter Don’t Money”, another Strange Music release, was one of the most lyrically brilliant releases to come out of KC during 2012, without a doubt.
4. Young Devi – “Get Rich or Kill Tryin”
Though we believe he’s still serving a steel stint, before he went in a few months ago, Young Deviossi put out one of the craziest rap mixtapes to come out this year in “Get Rich or Kill Tryin”. Maybe the craziest. This is explosive street music from Kansas City, MO that I don’t think many in that field could’ve held a candle to in 2012. Devi’s mixtapes have become something of legend in recent years, and the youtube plays for his tracks do not counter that legend in any capacity. Between all the streaming youtube players for his songs, he might be looking at somewhere close to one million views. This isn’t your grandfather’s hip hop music.
3. Leonard DStroy – “ADHD” (Deep Thinkers Remixes)
While this record didn’t get a lot of spins at the Demencha HQ way out south, the “but it’s dope” rule applies here. DStroy’s “ADHD” project on bandcamp was initially a strictly instrumental release, but later joined with MC, Brother of Moses, to complete the Deep Thinkers version. Bro Mo’s expected socially-charged lyrics and DStroy’s intricate beats made for a project that was just one of KC’s golden 2012 hip hop releases.
2. The Popper & Husslamade Bugz – “On A Mission”
KC hip hop legend, The Popper, and the “fresh out” Husslamade Bugz put their heads together to come up with one of the most enjoyable, well-rounded rap releases out of KC this year. In a large, but relatively sparsely populated city like ours, the two rappers took note and shouted out damn-near every block and suburb within a clear day’s visibility. Stellar raps from both Huss and The Popper over an array of industry beats brought out one of the coolest mixtapes to hit KC in 2012.
1. Leonard DStroy & Kutty Slitz – “The LennySlitz Project Part 2”
Released just last week (December 18), our favorite hip hop release out of Kansas City this year is producer, Leonard DStroy, and rapper, Kutty Slitz’ “LennySlitz Project Part 2”. Like, hands down. Part 1 was amazing itself, a real landmark in KC’s underground hip hop scene, but this second installment displays deeper messages from Kutty with an unmatched hip hop intensity compared to anything we heard all year, inside of KC or outside. “LSP2” was yet another startling example of the hip hop power that lies within our city.
LOCALS BEFORE LEGENDS