hip hop

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

When you picture a break-dancer, or "b-boy," you may envision a skinny kid who drops to the ground and pops back up like it's no big deal, like gravity has no say in the matter. But the hip-hop culture that gave rise to break-dancing isn't getting any younger. Now that the original hip-hop generation is bringing kids to the club for events featuring crayons, how is the culture growing up with them? Bonus: profiles of three icons in Kansas City's hip-hop scene.


Courtesy Dom Chronicles

Dom Chronicles
Reality Makers (IndyGround)

The cover of rapper Dom Chronicles’ latest album is like a 1980s neon dream in which he's driving through a fantasy vision of the Kansas City skyline.


Blk Flanl is what happens when rapper Barrel Maker — that's Morgan Cooper — meets producer Conductor Williams, née Denzel Williams. The two may be familiar, not just to fans of local rap, because they've immersed themselves in the community. Cooper makes his living as a cinematographer, and Williams helped coach track at North Kansas City High School. In Blk Flanl, they tackle contemporary social issues with smart lyrics and bold beats, all served with a healthy dose of soul samples, and jazz- and R&B-inspired horns.

Brian Rogers

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

The Musicians: Emcee Morgan Cooper (aka Barrel Maker) and producer Brian Rogers (aka Lion)


 A lot of hip hop sounds great on record but can disappoint live audiences, especially if it's just one guy with a microphone rapping over a recorded track. Olathe rapper Duncan Burnett avoids that by performing with a live band, often consisting of the best jazz instrumentalists in the area. Burnett's flows don't shy away from his faith, but calling him a "Christian rapper" would be missing the point.

University of Texas Press

Mary J. Blige has been called the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, but what fans love most isn't her status as pop culture royalty, but her vulnerability and honesty, especially with her own struggles. What is it about this artist that accounts for her staying power, since 1992?


Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

"The Story of a Song" is monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

Artist: The Popper aka Walter Lee Edwin

The Song: I'm KC

Music Career: The Popper’s been rapping in Kansas City since 1996, straddling some of Kansas City’s different hip-hop scenes.

The Story: After a few days in jail early this summer, Edwin was on house arrest and wrote and recorded a whole album, Write (Right) Thru The Pain, about that experience. With that out of the way, he wrote, recorded and released the summer anthem "I’m KC" in a matter of days. 

Many young, urban men see rap music as a ticket to a better, more prosperous life. But few ever even get a start in the music industry.

Twenty-two year old Gee Watts, however, has as good a chance as any. His new mixtape Watts Up has been featured in several major music industry publications and blogs.  

The induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took place Thursday, April 18, in Los Angeles. Some of this year’s inductees included Heart, Randy Newman, Rush and Public Enemy.

Remembering Nate Dogg

Mar 21, 2011

From Homer to Shakespeare, bards have always used verse tell to tell the story of their times. One of hip hop artists best known for this is Nate Dogg – though, instead of stories about Trojan horses, vats of wine, and family feuds, his verses talk about fathers in prison, enjoying malt liquor, and drive by shootings.