Hometown Highlights: City Watts, Grand Marquiis, Kevin Morby + more

Spring is here, so Hometown Highlights is back with some local tracks for those who are feeling sprung. Hear some hard-hitting Kansas City hip-hop, new music from a singer-songwriter who has done his fair share of traveling, another great KC-STL connection, and some adventurous electronic music.

JSMN - "Rob A Jewelry Store"
Rapper JSMN is from St. Louis, but she had no problem reaching (at least halfway) across the state for help on her new EP. Originally from Lee's Summit, Namesake is a producer currently attending the University of Missouri in Columbia. His lush and vibrant instrumentals are the backdrop for all three songs on JSMN's new EP "A Very Sad Happy Birthday." "Rob A Jewelry Store" is a bubbly spin on a St. Louis classic -- Nelly's "Grillz" -- that should delight any hip-hop fan that heard Noname's calls on "Telefone" last year.

City Watts - "Worth"
The hook on City Watts' most recent single may help in explaining why he got into a Twitter feud with Lil Yachty a few days ago. The song had been released a week prior to this beef, but Watts' respect for and loyalty to those who rose from the streets like him is evident: "Only rock with real n****s who done got it out the dirt / Had to put in work, yeah I had to find my worth." Philosophical differences between Watts and Boat aside, "Worth" is a glimmering track that gives listeners a quick look into his lifestyle. What may have been just another trap-style banger over any other beat, is elevated into something more reflective due to the song's hazy, dreamlike atmosphere.

Kevin Morby - "Come To Me Now"
He hasn't held permanent residence in the Kansas City metro for several years, but writers agree that Kevin Morby's Midwestern upbringing still shines through in his music. Morby is currently preparing to release his fourth solo album titled "City Music" in mid-June. "Come To Me Now" is the album's opening track and possesses a certain old school folk vibe, but with a very modern, minimalist twist. Parents who are fans of Bob Dylan and children who can't get enough Bon Iver should be able to meet in a cozy middle ground  with Kevin Morby.

Strider - "Creation Of Synthetic Souls"
Strider is a Kansas City producer making futuristic, hyperspeed electronic music for the least embarrassing rave you've ever been to. "Creation Of Synthetic Souls" is a bullet of a track, bouncing around your speakers for a couple minutes before exploding into a thousand fragments of Carley Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." The song is just a sampling of the madness that ensues on Strider's six song EP "Neo Dreams."

Grand Marquiis - "5Ways" (ft. Kenji)
Rapper-producer Grand Marquiis just dropped two new songs overnight. These two songs are his most experimental yet and show a great deal of promise. "5Ways" features some heavily-autotuned warbling over booming drums and a menacing old time piano lick. Marquiis and Kenji both dive in head first and bless this gorgeously off-kilter track.

Gee Watts - "Platinum"
The endless preparation for Gee Watts' "Caviart" album continues. For their patience, fans were given "Platinum." The song premiered on WRTJ -- a Run The Jewels co-signed program on Apple Music hosted by DJ Trackstar. "Platinum" features a prominent sampling of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" cackling as Watts boasts about his non-musical enterprises. It's a wild track and it's not even on the album.

Check out past Hometown Highlights updates here.

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