Sep 11, 2013
Door Time: 7:00 PM

Day: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Door Time: 7:00 PM
Age: All Ages
Advance Ticket Price: $32
Day Of Show Price: $34
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Tech N9NE & Krizz Kaliko with Band of Psychos
Aaron Dontez Yates (born November 8, 1971 in Kansas City, Missouri), better known by his stage name Tech N9ne or Tecca Nina is an American rapper, co-owner of Strange Music Records and actor. His career has spanned 24 years, during which he has released ten albums. His tenth studio album, K.O.D., was released October 27, 2009. He has spent his illustrious career making sure he’s been grinding harder than the average rapper, and is the best selling artist out of his hometown. With nine solo albums and two powerhouse collaboration projects under his belt, the Kansas City MC’s flow is sharper and slicker than it’s ever been.

Krizz Kaliko
Krizz Kaliko
Samuel W.C. Watson better known by his stage name Krizz Kaliko, is an American rapper and singer from Kansas City, Missouri. He is a long time collaborator with fellow hometown native, Tech N9ne, even being signed to the label that Tech co-owns, Strange Music.

Krizz Kaliko began his musical career in the late 1990s when he began working with a local producer by the name of IcyRoc Kraven. Another local rapper by the name of Tech N9ne was also collaborating with IcyRoc at the time, which led to the two rappers meeting. Tech N9ne was currently working on a song titled “Who You Came To See” and Krizz made a comment that the song could have a better hook. Tech offered up the opportunity to prove his case, and Tech was blown away when Kaliko proved just that. Tech would bring Kaliko into his “inner circle” which would eventually result in Kaliko signing to the label co-owned by his new found friend.

Murs & Mayday
Murs & MaydayMayday:


Stevie Stone
Stevie StoneStevie Stone’s life has changed dramatically in the last two years. During this time, the Columbia, Missouri native has gone from an independent artist with a regional buzz to a national artist who has completed four major tours and performed in front of hundreds of thousands of fans. 
So for 2 Birds 1 Stone, his second Strange Music album, Stevie Stone wanted to incorporate how the progression of his professional career has altered the course of his life, both personally and professionally. “I was taking the elements of my life,” he says. “In the business aspect, I’m always on the road. Then there’s the personal, with my family, my kids. There’s all these things I have to accomplish and get done and those are the two biggest birds and there’s one me. I wanted to play off my name and make it real with my dealing with different things, my music and being on the road and being back home. It’s just two elements of my life and it’s one me.”
The hyperactive title track, the confrontational “Get Out My Face” and turnt up “The Reason” all showcase Stevie Stone delivering the type of anthemic songs that have earned him legions of fans around the country. On these tracks, he’s able to translate the boundless energy of his performances to his music. 
“Come to a show and see what I’m talking about,” Stevie Stone says. “It’s the energy, the passion. When you give it to the people, they give it right back. So, it’s a volleyball match of energy. It’s an incredible feeling. When we’re on stage, everybody on the label comes with a certain conviction that you can’t deny.”
That kind of confidence led to “Grave Digger,” one of the most menacing 2 Birds 1 Stone selections. Recorded during a trip to Atlanta, Stevie Stone was inspired by the eerie beat to document the forceful nature of his music. “On that record, I felt like nobody was messing with me, that I’m not a rapper,” he says. “I’m a grave digger. I be murdering tracks, burying it. It’s really just a metaphor about how I feel I am in this game.”
For all of the bravado displayed on certain 2 Birds 1 Stone songs, Stevie Stone also delves deep into the motivation that drives him on his new album. On the inspirational “Relentless,” for instance, he raps about struggle and overcoming it. The hard-hitting song was inspired by a trip Stevie Stone took to his native Columbia, Missouri for the first time in several months. 
“I hadn’t seen any of my homies in a long time because we had been on the road,” he says. “I went back and I just hollered at all the fam, all the homies that I grew up with. ‘Relentless’ is really a record for them. It’s personal and they know these things that I’m talking about. They went through similar things. My message is that, ‘It doesn’t matter what your grind is. Just get it.’ I’ve got homies that are lawyers, homies that are still in the hood. I’m just telling them to stay relentless. It’s up to us to accomplish what we want to accomplish in life.”
Stevie Stone shows some of his own progress on his new album by collaborating with Kutt Kalhoun and Brotha Lynch Hung, a rapper he’s long admired, for the first time on “Hush.” He also delivers a smoky ode to marijuana over a bluesy beat on “Indigo” and sings outright on “Boomerang.” The latter also features Krizz Kaliko and finds the duo detailing the ups-and-downs of a relationship marked by tumult. 
The biggest artistic statement on 2 Birds 1 Stone, though, may be “Boo Thing.” Joined by Darrien, this R&B-flavored cut features Stevie Stone exploring a new sonic direction and rapping about relationships from a deep, emotional level. He says the song and its direction was borne from its beat. “I’m very comfortable in letting music guide me,” Stevie Stone says. “That’s an element that I’ve never done before. It shows growth compared to what I’ve been doing on my previous album and my EPs. It’s got a different sound and swing, but I still made it me.”
There’s a reason Stevie Stone feels so comfortable expanding and experimenting with new and varied musical styles. As a child, his mother filled their home with gospel, blues and the work of Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass and Luther Vandross. At the age of five, Stevie Stone was already mesmerized by music. 
Even an opportunity to play basketball at a junior college couldn’t compete with the desire Stevie Stone had to make music. So when he had a chance to perform for the first time, Stevie Stone ditched his hoop dreams and dedicated himself to making music. 
After a recording with Ruthless Records, the imprint of the late Eazy-E, whose roster has also included N.W.A, Bone thugs-n-harmony and others, fizzled, Stevie Stone reconnected with longtime affiliates Strange Music. His first release for Tech N9ne’s label, 2012’s Rollin’ Stone, featuring the bass-heavy single “808 Bendin’” with Tech N9ne and “Dollar General” with Yelawolf. The latter was inspired by the 2007 film Street Thief and features Stevie Stone rapping about robbing a series of businesses.
In real life, however, Stevie Stone started touring the country, hitting the road with Strange Music on four major tours, including the recent “Summer Of Strange Tour 2013” with labelmates Krizz Kaliko and ¡Mayday! In addition to his hefty musical output and extensive tour schedule, Stevie Stone modified his diet while on the road in order to deliver better shows to his fans and to live a healthier life. 
“This is my second go-round, my sophomore LP with Strange Music,” Stevie Stone says. “It’s my second wind. I’m more seasoned, more knowledgeable. I’ve done a lot of shows with them, even before I was signed. I’ve done four tours with them. I’ve got structure and am a lot more organized. I know the elements to put into a show. Strange Music prides itself in giving people a good show. All those elements are always what I’ve believed in and what they practice and preach, so it fits like a glove.”
No wonder 2 Birds 1 Stone sounds so powerful.


Steven T. Shippy, better known by his stage name Prozak, is an independent rapper and film director from Saginaw, Michigan. He's a member of the group Project: Deadman with Mike E. Clark as well as the group Bedlam. He is one of the few rappers of Egyptian descent. In 2011, he officially signed with Strange Music, although he had previously released albums with the label.

CES CRUThere were times when more hip-hop albums sounded like this, like Ces Cru’s Constant Energy Struggles, the Kansas City duo’s debut full-length album on Strange Records. There were times when albums were formulated around concepts big and small, dedicated to pushing envelopes, sharing pin-pointed messages and built around lyrical conceits that required intense listening, confident rhyme flows that created new patterns, music that thumped and bumped and pounded and grooved. Those times are not now, but Constant Energy Struggles arrives in this moment—sounding not like an anachronism or a revival, but a celebration of a lineage that, while overshadowed by other aspects of hip-hop, has continued to evolve and progress outside of the mainstream.

It’s only fitting that Ces Cru—comprised of rappers Godemis and Ubiquitous—would release Constant Energy Struggles. For the past dozen years, the two have operated mostly as a duo, all that remained of the much larger Ces Cru.

“Ces Cru was a collective of like-minded individuals,” says Godemis, a founding member of the group since high school. When he first began rhyming, he was simply doing cover versions of albums like Mac Mall’s Illegal Business? “The thing at the time was to be able to learn the rhyme and not only know the lyrics, but to be able to spit them at the same capacity as the record. It was like having a guitar and learning a solo.” One day, during his sophomore year, while he was reciting some Boot Camp Clik verses, a classmate who was already rhyming, gave him some backhanded encouragement: Oh that’s cool, but you should write your own shit. “He said it like he was the shit because he was writing his own stuff and I wasn’t,” Godemis recalls. Not long after, a friend approached Godemis with headphones and let him hear a verse he had recorded over Das Efx’s “Microphone Master.” That night Godemis wrote his first rhyme. Soon enough, Ces Cru began to take root.

“We made a lot of music without any clear direction,” says Godemis, adding that Ces Cru became infamous for shutting down ciphers and studio sessions about town. “We just tore up the streets in Kansas City together. It went from being more like a gang to a group as things progressed, as we started booking shows and actually making albums and putting time and effort and money into the music. We just thought that one day we could possibly eat off this rap life and we enjoyed out-rapping motherfuckers.”

When Ubiquitous—a Colorado native who grew up on acts like Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J and the Fat Boys as well as metal, punk rock, ska and electronica—moved to Kansas City in 2000, he had already been polishing his rap skills over jungle beats. “I used to rhyme at raves,” he admits. “I guess that’s why I like fast-paced rapping and making really progressive rhymes, stylistically speaking and content-wise.” Though Ces Cru had swelled to include six full-time rappers and had declared membership closed, Godemis was impressed by Ubi’s skills during a recording session and invited him to join the group. As time went on, members moved, moved on, went to jail–leaving just Godemis and Ubiquitous. “These days, it’s just him and I: Aquemini,” jokes Ubi. “We discussed the prospect of admitting other people into the crew, and even really strongly thought about it multiple times. But when it got down to the wire, we were like Nah, it just needs to be me and you. We’re probably done adding members for life and we’re just out here mobbing together.”

Together, the duo independently released 2004’s Capture Enemy Soldiers (featuring appearances from former member Sorceress) and The Playground in 2009—both heartfelt, intricate works of beats, rhymes and life that play with music, words and ideas with astounding ease. Since signing with Strange Music at the end of 2011, the duo has released a pair of solo mixtapes—Godemis’ The Deevil and Ubiquitous’ Matter Don’t Money—as well as an EP, 13. Their new release, Constant Energy Struggles, takes everything that has come before it and advances the
argument for hip-hop as a wordsmith's affair.

Inspired by conspiracy theories, metaphysics and everyday labor pains, Constant Energy Struggles contains lyrical exercises like the Tech N9ne-featured “Juice,” a masterful homage to Rakim’s classic “Juice (Know the Ledge)” and the four-bar patty cake “When Worlds Collide” which finds Godemis being “too fly” before crash-landing and “looking for the black box, FBI search methods/Soul of Saddam, I’m the motherfuckin’ bomb/ Check it: inspiration of Hitler/ Bruce Lee’s work ethic” before Ubiquitous picks up with “Sun Tzu, manifest a Dalai Lama mindstate/Hijack a G6, trippin’ tryna fly straight.”

Produced by longtime collaborators Info Gates and Leonard Dstroy as well as Strange music’s go-to beatmaster, Michael “Seven” Summers and others, Constant Energy Struggles is a well-rounded affair, both musically and topically. The slow blues-rock of “Smoke” and the slight psychedelia of “Confession” address the issues of balance, strife and love within romantic relationships. “Wall E” speaks on the destruction of the Earth: “People pretend like the shit they using just disappears/As if it doesn’t accumulate every fiscal year/ Shit don’t evaporate, vanish without a trace/ There’s a island made of trash, you can spot it from outer space,” raps Godemis.

Closer to home are tracks like the rejoiceful “Shake It Up,” the introspective “Perception” and the menacing “Fuck Me on the Dough”—songs which deal with the ups and downs of blossoming fame: the delight of success, the expectations of fans, the shadiness of promoters. “Constant Energy Struggles comes from real life experiences,” confesses Ubiquitous. “Everything I’m talking about is stuff that actually happened to me in the past or recently.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in the opening number, “Lotus” where Godemis notes that they “came a hell of a way from battling squads, murdering features” and admits that “they might’ve been local forever had Tech not swooped them.”

But Tech N9ne did swoop them. And Constant Energy Struggles signals that Ces Cru is just beginning.