So while hanging with Ms. Nicolina two weekends ago, she handed me The Pitch and the cover had a cartoon of some 80’s rap dude with a boombox and it read “Rappers vs. The Radio.” It’s funny because I told her before I even read it that it wouldn’t address any real issues about what goes on in Kansas City (KC), which is probably the city’s biggest problem, either people don’t know how to bring shit to light or they don’t want to be confronted with the grim truth that Kansas City doesn’t give a shit about those who don’t live in the Kansas side or Brookside and North KC.
First off the argument of rap and the radio is somewhat useless because 103 Jamz plays local artists on their Sunday night show. So to say local artists aren’t getting play is not the issue. The issue is how to flip that one song played once a week into major moves through the city. One issue I noticed when I first got out here is that the artists don’t really know of one another and if their styles differ there is even less reason to try to link up. As much as KC may want to be known for a certain sound, the truth is it’s a very diverse place. Even in the article it seemed like they focused on a certain kind of Hip Hop totally alienating a bunch of artists and what they bring to the table. I remember when I was reaching out to the local artists and I met a producer who lived 5 blocks from a MC and never knew it. His whole reason for not knowing or even caring was the styles wouldn’t mesh. That is the biggest difference from where I’m from (Bad Newz) and here, you knew of every MC, DJ and producer even if they were very different from what you did. It was the fact you all rep’d the same city that made you come together.
Another big thing is KC feels as if they’re in competition with St. Louis and the fact Nelly became such a pop sensation. So what happens is if an artist doesn’t seem to get that kind movement going they get viewed as a failure. I mean the city has Tech N9ne, but the hood doesn’t ride with him at all. Even with radio love he still is seen as white rock dudes favorite rapper. Mac Lethal who also works with the same people as Tech N9ne is viewed as a suburban Eminem. He may be nice but he’s all shock no real substance for the hood to gravitate to. Rumor has it that Fat Tone was close to signing with G Unit before he died. The sad part of that is the city is divided on his skills, so even he did get that far would it have been a good thing? And He never got play on the radio from what I was told. What he did do was something that sticks out blatant as fuck to me and is no secret to some what true success in KC, he connected with people from the Bay Area. I remember the first time I went into a mom and pop record store called 7th Heaven and noticed The Bay Area had a whole wall dedicated to them and Houston cats had a whole shelf and locals who didn’t follow either one of those formats were restricted to those small stands with six slots, three on each side. It’s like if you work with artists outside of KC it comes off like you’re doing big things, but it just takes away from true city unity.
If there is no real unity, fighting local radio won’t do shit. The fact is the city doesn’t cater to Hip Hop at all, so it’s logical to go in with the “strength in numbers” mentality. The article stated Jaz Brewer, who owns a studio and worked with most of the artists in the city at some point, got some people together to build on what to do about the lack of radio love. I hope they also talked about the lack of love from the city in general. I mean look in The Pitch and check on what’s popping during the week Hip Hop wise and there is barely anything. Truth is even without radio playing you first, if you do your thing throughout the city, radio will want to play your music (if it’s edited). Trust me I know stations are totally controlled by higher powers, and that does play a major flaw in the KC Hip Hop war for spins as well. DJs don’t do live mix shows where they are given the freedom to play what they want. It might be one of those “fuck the East coast New York this is the mid west” things that is so strong out here but in reality a live mix show opens the door to more diverse, new and local music. Again I hope whatever went down in the meeting of the minds, all aspects of getting local love for the city’s Hip Hop movement was touched upon.