Hometown Highlights: Unforgiven Five, A'Sean, Khrystal. + more

Kansas City hip-hop is represented heavily on this edition of Hometown Highlights. Long-running favorites of the site like Zarin Micheal and A'Sean have dropped new tracks. Newcomers like Khrystal. and a couple members of No Alternatives enter the mix as well. We didn't forget the rock though. Unforgiven Five is here to jam and Throat Breach dishes out some truly pissed off shit. Enjoy ten new tracks that should make you stoked to be from here.

Unforgiven Five - "Soaring Metal"
Most reasonable rock fans can recognize how corny throwing up the "metal horns" can be, but when Unforgiven Five takes the stage, it's really hard to resist. When many stoner rock-adjacent bands often don't make it past ripping off the first four Sabbath records, Unforgiven Five, on their first song released, are already channeling several other seventies rock sounds that followed. "Soaring Metal" is easily one of the best rock songs released by a Kansas City band in 2017.

A'Sean - "i"
A'Sean has been an excellent rapper for a while now, but his solo tracks have been few and far between over the last two years. His first drop of 2017, "i," is easily his most appealing solo track yet. A'Sean lets his loudmouth persona stand unobstructed and crafts a catchy hook that he quickly taught to a couple hundred people at You Don't Deserve This. Add production from The Goonez and J-Tone and "i" is an all-around "W."

Zarin Micheal - "No Challenge"
Zarin notes on his SoundCloud page that his newest track is a love letter to hip-hop. When you love an art form as much as Zarin loves hip-hop, it really shows. On "No Challenge" the young rapper locks into his tense flow and punches his way through another Alexander Preston beat in style. He also recently released "Fuck You Reloaded," an updated version of his 2016 EP.

Throat Breach - "Atomic Meltdown"
The title says it all really. Kansas City duo Throat Breach are working on an album for release near the end of the summer, but have recently released an EP and a handful of singles. "Atomic Meltdown" happens to be the most blindingly aggressive of all of these new songs. Pulling influences from a handful of different extreme metal subgenres, the song assaults listeners much like an atom bomb would.

Grand Marquiis - "Latitude"
Grand Marquiis has a new EP called "I Don't Believe In Luck" and he produced the whole thing. "Latitude," like other songs on the EP, seems to be heavily inspired by the dark imagery and general moodiness presented by current pop rap stars Drake and Big Sean. This track even gives a clear tip of the hat to Drake's flow on "Gyalchester," switching out "Hermes link / Ice blue mink" for "Say my name / We don't play games." Marquiis has made it clear that he can play copycat well, but only time will tell if he will forge a style that is truly his own.

JamallLamonte - "Adrianna"
Aided with production from MaxxMarvel, No Alternatives crew member JamallLamonte has dropped his hottest track so far. "Adrianna" is Jamall's upbeat appeal to a pretty girl to leave her man for him -- and it just might be catchy enough to work. The song's crux, however, is its quick-shifting nature and multiple tempo changes that leave the listener playing catch-up after its first minute. "Adrianna" likely won't be going viral, but it does an exceptional job of showing Jamall's potential nonetheless.

Khrystal. - "Culprit (My Fault)"
Khrystal Coppage finished classes at UMKC last year and currently works as the editor-in-chief of her own magazine, Khorage, but she still has had time to put together her own EP called "Quarter Century Living." Featuring an appearance from Mae C and production work from Duncan Burnett, the EP is the latest in a string of female American hip-hop releases that explicitly celebrate "black girl magic." The EP's first single, "Culprit (My Fault)," is a woozy and nostalgic R&B cut that showcases Khrystal's humble demeanor and sugary vocals.

Solomon - "Shoot My Shot"
Much like JamallLamonte, No Alternatives member Solomon is also at the top of his game. His new single, "Shoot My Shot," bounces just like a basketball and sounds like a swished three-pointer. He also wants you to send him videos of people dancing to it, so get moving, Kansas City.

Tafi - "Line Up" (ft. Indica)
Being half of Olathe rap duo TUX, Tafi has gained more experience performing rap music than most local college students. For the last year, however, Tafi has kept things quiet. On his first release since early 2016, Tafi has traded out one style of party rap for one with a bit more nuance. Many TUX tracks were made for beer-slamming, mosh-pitting antics, but "Line Up" is the almost-atmospheric kind of track that plays late in the night when things have slowed down and become a bit more serious. The song also features an appearance from buzzing Los Angeles rapper Indica that only furthers the mood.

Star B - "Nothing For Free"
As a sample of a children's Jewish choir wails on and producer J Cardenas' drums ripple across the track, Star B jumps in and bodies the thing. Be on the lookout for a new project from this Kansas City rapper. He may have just become a father again, but don't think for a second he's going to tone things down.

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