Hometown Highlights: Zotiyac, Unique Sixteen, Khari + more

I had a bunch of health problems for a minute and then got busy with a bunch of other stuff so I'm finally just now done with a new Hometown Highlights. Lots of rap on this one, but expect some rockin' rock coverage coming up on the site too. There's a couple emo songs on here too though. So yeah. You're welcome again.

Zotiyac - "No Witnesses"
Zotiyac isn't living in Kansas City right now. It shouldn't be surprising after listening to a song or two of his that he's currently residing in Sin City. In the first few lines of "No Witnesses" he shouts, "We currently going through sentences / So I got' watch what I say in these sentences." That being said, Zotiyac's following raps are far from timid. His graphic, gun-toting imagery isn't far off from similar boasts by 21 Savage and the trap-beat-on-steroids he selected most closely aligns with those of Ronny J and other Floridian producers.

Unique Sixteen - "God Is On His Way"
Not many local hip-hop tracks released this year have as much texture to them as "God Is On His Way." The only thing available on Unique's SoundCloud, the song is rife with g-funk bass lines, electric guitar licks, and warm key parts. It's also made abundantly clear on this three-minute journey through Unique's racing thoughts that he has storytelling abilities that surpass many of his peers and can craft a smart flow.

Khari - "Say You"
For those fatigued by R&B stars with auto-tune dripping from every word and outlandish tales of sex and drugs, there's Khari. "Say You" carries the same vintage drum machine beat and small handful of guitar chords through its runtime, allowing Khari to quietly serenade his love interest on this sunny, upbeat jam. Frank Ocean's latest work has pushed into new territories, but back on "Nostalgia Ultra," he taught this latest generation of acts that it's okay to keep things simple.

Ssion - "Comeback"
"Comeback" is one of the greatest music videos ever shot in Kansas City. Filmed in locations including the infamous Chubby's on Broadway, Mills Record Company, and the streets of the West Bottoms, the video is surreal, nonstop eye candy. The song it's paired with is a Madonna-style pop banger that features a couple art-punk breakdowns. Ssion's Cody Critcheloe is one of many Kansas City ex-pats who found wider success after moving to New York, but it's always a blessing when he pays homage to his old home.

Stik Figa - "Nobody Listening"
"Nobody listens, I just speak to the drums / And I write it all down and pour a drink when I'm done." Hip-hop might be a means to wealth and fame for some, but for Stik Figa, it often seems therapeutic. "Nobody Listening" is the third track on his new EP "The Local Rapper" and features Stik examining institutional racism on both a grand scale and within his beloved Topeka. It's not always the healthiest way to go about things, but sometimes some soulful rhymes and a cold drink can be the best way to feel better about things.

Aaron Cartier - "Bam!"
St. Louis native Aaron Cartier has linked up with Bear Club producer Morris for one of the most ridiculous tracks released all November. Morris has whipped up a beat reminiscent of several Migos and Future hits but has dumbed the thing all the way down. As a flute sample sounds, Cartier lets an unrelenting string of ad-libs and half-rhymes fly every which way. It could almost be a satire if it wasn't so damn catchy.

Judge - "Bark" (ft. Dylan Brady)
Kansas City-born, Los Angeles-residing producer Judge has proclaimed 2017 to be the "year of Judge" on Twitter and it's tough to argue against that. He's scored beat placements with Migos, Young Thug, and others and just dropped an EP titled "X." "Bark" is a track indebted to the sound of modern, mainstream EDM music, but Judge and Dylan Brady put a jagged twist on the sound. Dried-out claps and other cold pieces of instrumentation give the track an industrial feel and make the drops hit that much harder.

ChrisSWAP - "Pizza Rolls"
ChrisSWAP is known pretty well among Kansas City's younger hip-hop crowd for his streetwear brand SWAP (Style With A Purpose). The type of effortless cool the entrepreneur conveys in his designs are also fully present on his new song "Pizza Rolls." Chris slides from verse to verse over a colorful beat and rhymes about getting high, stacking money, and of course, eating pizza rolls.

Leg Day - "Gnats"
I haven't seen Leg Day live before, but I hope to God that there are a dozen emo kids piling on top of each other to shout along to this song. The Kansas City trio, formerly known as It's Ok To Feel Alone, has returned with a new EP called "George Clooney" and this track is one hell of an intro.

Sahvannes - "Rari" (ft. Dettsa)
Listeners are given about 20 seconds to strap their seatbelts on before "Rari" gets moving. Sahvannes -- who is prepping a new mixtape -- and Dettsa -- back from five months of radio silence -- each rap ferociously about fast living for most of the track, aside from some respite provided by an auto-tuned hook about their car of choice.

G Flex - "Watch Me"
Kansas City rapper G Flex kindly solicits the world's attention on "Watch Me." The song's filtered vocals, bouncing drum rhythms, and guitar solo loop bolster the "rockstar" image that Flex is looking to achieve and create a repeat-friendly track in the process.

Gee Watts - "Did It Again"
Kansas City still, evidently, doesn't deserve this -- "this" being Gee Watts' upcoming mixtape "You Don't Deserve This." Until the full project emerges, Watts seems content letting tracks out one by one. The latest leak, "Did It Again," is a trap-influenced behemoth that is overflowing with signature Gee Watts brags.

Tall Boys - "Yams And Meat"
"Yams And Meat" is a strange, stoned, and sad tale. It's also the first song released by Kansas City emo duo Tall Boys. Whether the chorus of "I can't find the beef" is meant to be a metaphor or not is unknown, but these two towering dudes deserve your attention regardless.

Flora Violet - "Possession"
Kansas City producer and Un/Tuck collective member Flora Violet has just released the 8-bit soundtrack to your favorite non-existent video game. "Possession" comes to life as soon as you hit play and continues to pulsate and grow as it continues on.

Marion X - "Yuh"
Something tells me that Marion and every one of his friends know all the words to this song and sing it every time they hang out. This tune's a tough one to get out of your head.

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