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Photo Gallery: The Abnorm / Steddy P / Modo / MOKS / Invalid / Farout at Lemonad(e) Park

The Abnorm. Photo by Aaron Rhodes

Many questionable all-local gigs have popped up this summer as COVID creeps across America, but the Saturday night hip-hop show at Lemonad(e) Park was as fun as it was cautious (pretty). A small crowd stuck out two brief rain delays over the course of the evening and was rewarded with a headlining set from Kansas City veteran The Abnorm. The rapper was in high spirits, his undeniable charisma and laid-back cool on full display. He dispensed raps and led the crowd in chants, sometimes from a plastic lawn chair at the middle of the stage, like the king of a block party holding court.

 

His songs were fit for a block party, too -- the set was packed with booming g-funk anthems and fresh reinterpretations of nineties classics. One new song near the end of his performance (maybe it will appear on his upcoming release, Ghetto Luxury 2, teased throughout the set), was about psychedelic drugs and the very trippy year we're all experiencing (the white lady who looted lamps from Target gets a shoutout). Hopefully Kansas City can have a more traditional shindig with The Abnorm next year, but for now, this one was exceptional.

 

Indyground founder Steddy P began his set by testing out some emotive and unreleased material. The remainder was spent paying tribute to Kansas City hip-hop artist and producer Info Gates, who passed away unexpectedly in January. Steddy performed several songs that he and Info Gates had worked on together, including an impassioned and painfully relevant track referencing the death of Trayvon Martin, stoner jam "Pocket Full Of Loud" (friends shared a joint on stage in his memory), and triumphant (now bittersweet) closer "Sophisticated Ignorance." It was a touching salute to a man beloved by both his friends and Kansas City hip-hop at large.

 

Relative newcomer Modo doesn't lack in the ability to assemble a professional-grade hip-hop song, but that's about all so far. Modo spent his set oscillating from rapid-fire brags to plastic EDM pop-raps to painfully vacuous positivity bars. Genre versatility is only impressive when each of the varying sounds are executed with nuance or a certain degree of originality, otherwise, it can feel as though you're the target of a marketing ploy.

 

MOKS -- the bi-state duo of scene stalwarts Lucid Flows and Louiz Rip -- delivered an extremely endearing set of collaborative and solo material. Despite an occasionally corny lyric or grating melodic hook, watching two first-rate emcees with such clear chemistry was nothing other than a joy. Anyone with two ears could attest to the reverence for the artform that Lou and Lucid obviously hold. Highlights included the stripped-down bom bap ruckus of "One Man Posse" and closing a cappellas from both rappers. In reference to the rain storm passing by, allowing the show to continue, Lou slyly quipped, "God likes bars."

 

A rapper named Invalid delivered enjoyable raps about life in Kansas City, the championship Chiefs, and racial justice, but despite a relatively high level of energy, did not posses a particularly powerful stage presence.

 

As the sun began to set on the park, St. Louis rapper and longtime Indyground ally Farout opened the show with heartfelt, everyman-style raps injected with nineties nostalgia and tasteful melodicism.

 

Full photo gallery here.

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