Steddy P With JLB Hood, Barrel Maker, and Scotty Wu @ recordBar

This Saturday, recordBar will host a star-studded cast of local rappers Featuring Barrel Maker, Scotty Wu, JL of B. Hood, and Steddy P, the show should make for one of the best hip hop showcases of the year. All the artists seem to revolve around Steddy P’s label Indyground Entertainment and Tech N9ne’s world famous Strange Music. The result is a less aggressive paranoia that keeps all the smoothest that has come to define Kansas City hip hop.

I first heard Barrel maker on The Record Machine’s sampler How To Keep Dreaming Vol. 1. Then, a few days later, I saw him perform when he and a few rappers played at Mills Record Company. In both cases, I remember being blown away by the rapper’s lyrical dexterity and the poise with which he delivered his lines. Barrel Maker, on record and stage, could deadpan his way through brilliant melodies that contained brilliant images without batting an eye. His ability to bend his words naturally around his internal metronome is only surpassed by his intuition on when to pull back. Barrel Maker’s style flits just below baroque. The rapper never lets his word and soundplay overpower the narratives that structure his songs. As powerful with a lushly produced beat backing him or flowing acapella, Barrel Maker can command attention no matter how his message is delivered.

Moving in a more lyrical vein, JL of B. Hood runs through his syllables at a breakneck pace. The Kansas City rapper links his lyrics through successive repetitions of sounds. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins with a back beat, JL’s jaw gymnastic are complex. But his style doesn’t have complexity for complexity’s sake. JL uses this structure to chain together disparate associations. The result is a voice as unique as anything happening in contemporary hip hop.

The rapper shares some of the same aesthetics of Tech N9ne, namely the penchant for vocal barrages and the tense and minimal backing beats. That said, JL doesn’t merely retread the styles of rappers that came before him. He blends these elements with softer interludes to create a sound more dynamic than the Strange Music of the early aughts. This ability to shift quickly between fast and loud to slow and soft gives JL a range that is absent from many other rappers.

Ending the night, Steddy P will most likely play mostly from his latest (to be released on the 13th), Picture Perfect Broken Home, with some classics thrown in. The Kansas City rapper flows with a confidence backed by talent. Bar after bar, Steddy P backflips through his lyrics, creating powerful associations. Steddy P has the brashness of acts like Danny Brown or Gravediggaz and the smoothness of Vince Staples or Hopsin. The combination of these seemingly incompatible qualities allows the rapper to hit a variety of tones throughout his songs and albums.

In addition to helping Steddy P keep from being monotonous, his ability to switch styles mid-track will undoubtedly make for a show that hits in the best ways. Steddy P’s penchant for increasing his urgency as his raps unfurl makes for a sound that is absolutely perfect for the stage.

The Saturday show will start at 9pm and is 18+. Tickets cost $10 (or $12 day of show). This will be one of the best hip hop shows of the year. With Scotty Wu manning the turntables, each of these rappers are sure to hit hard.

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