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Blogroll: June 2021

Is this media critique? Is it a digest? A roundup, perhaps? Up to you. Here is a bunch of local music media coverage from the last month and my thoughts on it. Click each piece's title to check it out.

Reading Material:
-Like Tech N9ne before him, rising rap artist finds he can still call Kansas City home - Kevin Hardy, The Kansas City Star
You may notice that this is the only written piece I’ve highlighted in this edition of Blogroll. That’s not to say that all local music-related articles from the past month have been completely unimportant, but frankly, nothing really grabbed me. And this article’s inclusion is only being made to highlight the point that this is the first non-Strange Music related Kansas City Star local hip-hop feature that I can recall since Aaron Randle, Shelly Yang, and Monty Davis’ award-winning 2017 locals on the rise feature. Ironically, Tech N9ne is namechecked in the headline of this feature on Suli4Q (though I do realize that it’s often the editor deciding the headline, so this might not be on its author Kevin Hardy). Though not much of the small chunk of Suli’s catalog I’ve interacted with has interested me much, he does have a fairly interesting story, particularly the multi-generational aspect, with his father being a member of an old hip-hop group called Islamic Force. I realize of course how small a budget the Star now operates on, but let this be noted as my public plea for more local music coverage in those ever-shrinking pages.

Video Content:
-Yadda Yadda Live In-Studio with A’Sean and [Walt]
You may recognize A’Sean from the cover story of last month’s issue. This studio session hosted by Kansas City hip-hop podcast Yadda Yadda features longtime collaborators A’Sean and [Walt] performing multiple tracks from their recent Seven Days EP in a chilled-out, intimate setting which happens to be the studio in which the songs were originally recorded.

-Sight & Sound - Episode 5 - Tha GoonEz
To be transparent, I’ve been aware of Tha GoonEz as a Kansas City hip-hop/R&B production group for several years now and I know for certain that they’ve worked on many of my favorite local tracks, but due to 1) the fact that there are four of them, working sometimes in tandem, sometimes solo and 2) the fact that producer credits aren’t displayed as prominently as they could be on some releases and platforms, it’s been a bit difficult for me to properly track the specifics of their catalog. (It should be noted, however, that they recently updated their website and you can find recent bits of their discography there.)

This video interview covers the basics of their formation and inspirations along with some clips of them working in the studio. Though it doesn’t go too deep, it does provide a much-needed public introduction to the group. An interview via Shuttlecock is overdue and I hope to remedy this soon.

-Coop Sessions with Charlotte Bumgarner and Daniel Gum
I’ve been informed that Coop Sessions will not be returning to its original chicken coop studio home. Nevertheless, the Coop crew has continued to drop live session gems. Tulsa singer-songwriter Charlotte Bumgarner’s session at Deep Space retained the beautiful and delicate simplicity present in her recorded efforts. She deserves national attention yesterday.

Daniel Gum’s session took place in the swimming pool room of an abandoned school (is there a name for this kind of room? A swimnasium perhaps? Sorry.) Like in Bumgarner’s session, Gum’s recording captures his best qualities. Present are his emotive vocal delivery and weighty, honest style of songwriting.

-Saber Magazine - Artist Profile 003 - Nathaniel Wendt
Nathaniel Wendt has been handling a lot of visual art for releases from A’Sean and his SWAN clothing brand lately. This video profile from Saber digs into Wendt’s early inspirations (the Captain Underpants series being chief among them), the characters he first designed as a child, and his day-to-day as an illustrator and his process for collaborations.

Audio Content:
-Beyond The Booth with Isaiah Radke
Radkey bassist Isaiah Radke joins Cameron Capers in this brief podcast interview to talk about the sibling punk band’s chemistry and facing record industry ignorance and prejudice from their hometown of St. Joseph to the genre’s loftiest gatekeepers. They also get into the excitement of being featured in the recent documentary What Drives Us, directed by Dave Grohl, and Radkey’s upcoming tour dates with Foo Fighters.

-Cabbages with Stik Figa
Cabbages is an independent hip-hop podcast and newsletter/blog created by veteran journalist and critic Gary Suarez. The podcast, co-hosted by Jeffery Laughlin, features rappers and producers as guests, but each episode’s discussion focuses instead on one select movie rather than music (for the most part). Enjoy Suarez, Laughlin, and beloved Topeka expat Stik Figa discussing the 2017 stoner comedy Grow House.

-Kick City with Gee Watts
Sneakers and NFTs are two things I know little to nothing about, but if either of those are your bag, Kansas City rapper Gee Watts recently guested on the Kick City podcast to talk about them. His recent mixtape, Mt. IWT, was released exclusively as an NFT (that I did not manage to get my hands on due to poor planning on my part). Hopefully it’ll see a wider release in the near future.

-TrueAnon with Donald Morrison 

In case you didn’t hear about or care to read Donald Morrison’s remarkable piece, Who Killed Mac Dre?, that was published on Passion Of The Weiss recently, he guested on Brace Belden and Liz Franczak’s podcast to talk about Mac Dre’s impact (Brace and Liz both reside in the Bay Area) and recap the article.


[This article first appeared in Issue 3 of Shuttlecock's free monthly print edition. Click here to order a copy online, or pick one up for free at locations around KC/Lawrence/JoCo.]       

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