Acts To Catch at Lawrence Field Day Fest: Hip Hop Edition

Kansas City and Lawrence have some deep hip hop scenes. When I say deep, I don’t necessarily mean philosophic or introspective (though that’s in there too). I mean that the local hip hop scene has incredible talent from most celebrated to most underground. And this weekend, Lawrence Field Day Fest 5 will showcase some brilliant rappers and beat makers. Whether you’re into the MF Doom-esque barrages of KD Kuro, the industrial party beats of MetaWatt and TRS-ONE, the smooth flows of Lincoln Marshall, the political conscious hip hop of Royce Diamond, or any of the other rappers, Lawrence Field Day Fest will have some great hip hop.

KD Kuro takes the rough sampling and lyrical density that makes east coast hip hop such a force and harnesses to his no coast aesthetic. Drawing from anime, life, and hip hop history, the rapper pulls his listeners down his lyrical mazes with such confidence and dexterity that there’s little questioning him, even at his most idiosyncratic. KD Kuro’s songs, on their surface, seem to be simple, linear narratives, but this is deceiving. The rapper has the unique ability to collage different tones, narratives, and progressions to create a fragmented whole.

MetaWatt and TRS-ONE take the grimy industrial instrumentals of clipping or Death Grips and infuse them with cool and smooth flows. Part of the draw to the hip hop duo is their ability to layer tracks in order to build a climax. Each one of their songs plods from its first note to its final one with intention. Constantly changing in their repetitions, MetaWatt and TRS-ONE make music that is perfect for a house party, for driving down an interstate, or blasting when the only thing that can quiet your mind is loud music.


Lincoln Marshall unfurls unlike any other duo in the area. With all the smoothness of The Roots and all the viscerality of Blu, Lincoln Marshall meshes aesthetics in the best ways. The duo blends funk textures and lyrics that snarl in each song while backflipping through styles. Listening to their latest release, Water, it’s easy to hear how Lincoln Marshall is influenced by a variety of artists and how this eclectic mix never makes for a boring listen. Taut and surprising in ever moment, Lincoln Marshall is as energetic on record as they are on stage.

Royce Diamond is a master of the hyper-produced and quick bursts of lyrics that make for the best radio friendly hip hop. Able to write hook after hook, the Kansas City rapper is able to inject energy into even the laziest track. His songs circle and circle their subjects while Diamond waxes poetic about the scenes he paints. Despite their lack of movement, the rapper’s songs examine microscopic moments and attitudes with the skill of a surgeon.

Check out these rappers, producers, Emcees, musicians, and many more this weekend at Lawrence Field Day Fest 5. You’ll be glad you did.

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