Hometown Highlights: Hi-Lux, Ogechi, Kept Calm + more

At least you can listen to these nine new local songs before World War III starts. Some of the Kansas City area's best new hip-hop, soul, and emo songs are listed below. Take our word for it: they're all very good to listen to.

Sahvannes - "Bang Me Up"
Kansas City producer Bruiser3100 posted a new track from Sahvannes a few weeks ago. A voice at the beginning of the song requests that the song is sent to Playboi Carti -- a rapper known for using this style of production. "Bang Me Up," which follows Sahvannes' last song "Street Bitches," further shows the young rapper's dive into grittier themes and trap influence after once being known for his use of hippie imagery. Bruiser's quick-rolling bass drums aid in helping the song pass the "car test" in record time.

RileyPnP - "Shots Fired" (ft. Maxo Kream)
"Shots Fired" is Riley's first new track since releasing "The Murder Tape" earlier this year. On "Shots Fired" Riley raps more energetically than much of his past material and it makes sense why. "The Murder Tape" featured some of his best work yet and this song features Maxo Kream, a Houston rapper with plenty of eyes on him. There may not be a better pairing of Missouri and Texas rappers than Riley and Maxo. Both rap about slinging dope and toting guns more convincingly than anyone else in their respective states.

Tidecruz - "This Is How It Feels"
Tidecruz (Joe Ross) seems to know better than anyone that less is very often more. "This Is How It Feels" is a single for an upcoming album -- the singer-songwriter/producer has released 50 of them now -- and succinctly details the uneasiness that comes with growing up, facing mortality, and the challenge of simply surviving. "Money's tight / Nothing feels right," sighs Ross over a quietly strummed guitar. His music is intentionally quiet in hopes of soothing listeners, and while this song's subject matter isn't quite meditative, there's certainly something almost anyone can relate to.

Mess - "Innocent"
"Innocent" is a strikingly emotional song with a heartbreaking music video. The video features a young couple falling into then out of of love before transforming into ghosts and sinking into a lake. The ghosts aren't the only haunting part of the video. Director Will Stone's attention to detail and composition perfectly capture the innocence of young love and the world-shattering pain that comes with losing it. Mess released its sleek debut EP "Heartswithholes" last week.

Hi-Lux - "Don't Blame Me"
Kansas City soul band Hi-Lux has long been teasing an album, but nothing is yet available online besides a couple of songs. One of those songs, "Don't Blame Me," is a lounge-style tune that is sure to win vocalist Julia Haile the heart of every listener who comes in contact with it.

Ogechi - "Bet I'll Be Blvck (Body Pg. 2)"
The black struggle doesn't end when you leave the inner city. "Intersectional Blvckness" -- the debut EP of poet/rapper Ogechi -- is a powerful document that covers a massive amount of territory in its 15 minute runtime. The EP's third track, "Bet I'll Be Blvck (Body Pg. 2)," tackles the environment a black teenager faces when living in the suburbs. A Lee's Summit West graduate, Ogechi raps about feeling "too white" for the black kids and "too black" for the white kids, as well as watching some of her peers succumb to struggles with mental health. Chance The Rapper, Noname, and other hip-hop stars from the Midwest got their start with poetry and if Ogechi keeps speaking her truths in such a powerful manner, she may be next in line.

Training v. Throat Breach - "Empathy Megamixx"
The title of this mix on SoundCloud is in all caps and that's also how it sounds. Training, another alias of Bath Consolidated's Noelle Johnson, teamed up with Throat Breach's Ian Turpin for a monstrous 14 minute gauntlet of a mix track. The two musicians battle head to head, armed with more blast beats and distorted screams than one could ask for. Many modern grindcore albums feature electronic intros and interludes, but rarely do the two genres come together for such an extended period of time as they do on the "Empathy Megamixx." Throat Breach also just released another devastating new EP called "Psychic Wave Mutilation."

JL - "Out Da Hood" (ft. Nef The Pharaoh)
Any Kansas City hip-hop fan worth their salt knows how deep the city's ties to the Bay Area are. Rather than ignoring that history -- and his label mate Tech N9ne's -- JL calls in that scene's hottest up-and-comer, Nef The Pharaoh, for a feature on his first album released on Strange Music. It's not hard to imagine some lowriders with hydraulics bouncing to this one.

Kept Calm - "Worlds Apart"
Emo bands aren't known for sharing members as recklessly as punk bands, but that didn't stop three-fourths of Leg Day (f.k.a. It's Okay To Feel Alone) from forming Kept Calm. "Worlds Apart" is the final song on the band's self-titled EP and wraps things up with a stripped-down tune about giving up on a bygone relationship.

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