Steddy P. is Kansas City’s “local hero” of Hip Hop. Since returning to his hometown in 2008 after college graduation, the head of IndyGround Entertainment has been a driving force in the local and national independent music scene. Now he’s back, once again accompanied by renowned producer Matthew Sawicki and turntablist-extraordinaire DJ Mahf, on his latest studio album, Better Make Room.
After teaming up with Sawicki and Mahf for his fourth studio album Style Like Mind (2009), the three have since been habitual studio-mates, putting together the While You Were Sleeping and What Happened Tomorrow mixtapes and the No Days Off series of EP’s. The team’s latest release, Better Make Room, is a culmination of art that brings Steddy’s journey through music and life full circle. With Sawicki’s guitar, keys and crisp beats, Mahf’s ridiculous work on the tables and Steddy’s lyrical superiority, BMR paves the way for a sometimes emotional, sometimes upbeat and always wild musical journey.
The road to success for Steddy P. has not been straight and narrow by any means and his music always manages to convey that message. It’s this context of struggle where he tends to create the closest connection with the listener and how he seems to relate to others and their journey the most. On “Local Heroes”, the second single from the album he states “I usually miss the best things in my friends lives / and family on holidays around turkey, liquor and sharp knives.” A little known fact is that in the video for this single his best friend and god daughter’s father John is sequenced into the footage during that line. Even these subliminal subtleties that were approached in the making of this album seem to be so deeply envisaged–it’s hard not be drawn in by everything you are hearing when listening to Better Make Room, and in the case of the “Local Heroes” video, what you are seeing.
The lead single off the album, an ode to his home-state is “Missouri (Not-Eye)”. This track was actually leaked early before the album release and caught attention in the state’s college town of Columbia where Steddy attended the University of Missouri. The high-energy anthem is focused on showing love to the Show-Me State referencing the area cities, venues, roadways and of course, Mark Twain. Sawicki’s use of rolling toms on the drums brings a climatic end to Steddy’s punchlines and Mahf’s scratch work round out the mix in a way that only he seems to know how to do. Even people from the rival state of Kansas would find themselves uncontrollably bobbing their heads to this track.
Those two songs kick off the album, from there on the rest of the tracks take you on a melodic ride through life, death, love, loss, partying, chilling, moving and shaking. The features on this record are not to be ignored either. Both members of Ces Cru, Godemis and Ubiquitous, (recently signed by Tech N9ne to Strange Music) not only appear on the album, but are featured on separate tracks. Both equally flaunt their linguistic exuberance and bring a nice change of pace to the lyrical structure that Steddy consistently displays throughout. “SIC” is the track featuring Godemis, but also features Saint Louis’ P.R.E.A.C.H. who’s rapid-paced, chopper style flow makes the song something you would want to play to kick off any party or DJ set.
The other song with featured artists that stands out beyond compare is “More Than A Dream” with collaboration from Soul Servers members Smoov Confusion and Louiz Rip. This slow-paced track is an ode to living the dream that all independent musicians wake up and try to fulfill everyday. Having one of the catchiest hooks on the album and clearest messages in verse, “More Than A Dream” will stick to a listeners ears like overgrown sideburns. The throaty vocals on the hook a clear testament to the everyday struggles of not only trying to make it in the modern day music business, but in life in general. Other features include IndyGround’s J Bomb on “Run” and Farout on “Gotta Be” as well as Adrian Truth on “Rocket” (the track which features Ubiquitous).
Better Make Room is an amazingly robust album. The sequencing of the tracks allows the songs to bleed into each other creating one universally complete work. From start to finish there is never a need to hit a button, except play. Steddy has had tendencies to game-plan his albums over the last few years, and the path on BMR is no exception. It stays clearly defined and doesn’t stray from the perceived idea or concept.
This becomes evermore apparent when “K.I.N.G.T.U.T.”, the final track of the album comes on. Similar to how his Dear Columbia… P.S. album ended, Steddy takes the opportunity to ignore format and simply float emotion through bars of lyrics over an tightly-produced Matt Sawicki beat. The first note of Sawicki’s guitar grabs your chest and attention is immediately commanded. Steddy finishes lyrically with his emotional account of feelings towards how he approaches life and music with lines like “Living life can be a constant change / sometimes you gotta reevaluate, recalculate the pains aim.” and “Can you imagine knowing actually what you want to do / and be misled down another avenue because they said it’s good for you?”
Once again, Steddy P. continues to push forward and forge a path seldom sought by most MCs in today’s modern Hip Hop. He is currently on a U.S. tour for Better Make Room, playing 2 legs of dates in the Midwest then heading out towards the east coast for a separate leg. Better Make Room is available via iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Bandcamp and on tour dates. Visit the IndyGround official website for more info.
Steddy P. can be found online via the following sites:
IndyGround Entertainment: www.IndyGround.com
Online Store: indyground.bigcartel.com/