Sound Machine: Abnorm, Illphonics, AZP, Lincoln Marshall, Smitty The Kid

Sound Machine 004 will be a hip hop feast. Featuring some of the best examples of rap and hip hop from Kansas City, St. Louis, Lincoln, and Lawrence, this Saturday concert at recordBar will prove that hip hop in the midwest extends beyond Tech N9ne, Lupe Fiasco, and Mac Lethal. Sound Machine 004 will showcase the skills of Abnorm, Illphonics, Lincoln Marshall, AZP, and Smitty The Kid for a night of big beats and mad flows.

Smitty The Kid has an ear for tracks that not only highlight his voice but also have a poptastic hook to them. With a flow that is catchy and upbeat, the Kansas City MC sprinkles his songs with glittering bits of sonic light. Pushing lyrics that examine growing artistically in an environment that is not ideal for hip hop, Smitty The Kid touches a vein that is universal for those who are artists and those who are not.

AZP is from Lincoln, Nebraska, but their music extends beyond the midwest. Incorporating sounds from the southwest, rock, and soul, the quintet has a buzz that only hybridity brings to the table. With traces of hip hop writhing through the band’s music, AZP is able to collage the best parts of each genre and avoid their pitfalls. The band is sure to put on a show that will light the stage on fire.

Lincoln Marshall is the combined talents of Approach and Milkdrop. The MC and DJ work well to create songs that unspool like the best examples of jazz-centric hip hop (The Roots, Aceyalone, Saafir, etc.) while keeping all the tension of more aggressive rap. The duo reigns in each side of their aesthetic spectrum with a sense control that is as impressive as it is a driving force to the project.

From STL, Illphonics makes some of my favorite hip hop of the area. The band’s ability spin out narratives with luminous detail is second to none. Illphonics occupy that small territory between hip hop for hip hoppers and hip hop for a general audience. Whether the band is alluding to other hip hop acts and songs or spitting something decontextualized, they’re able to create music that is universal.

Ending this showcase will be Abnorm. The Kansas City rapper is a legend in his own right. Abnorm’s ability to deliver his flows with a deadpan melancholy gives his lyrics a seriousness that plods through his tracks. Using less affect and more taut imagery, this MC is able to use repetition and embellishment to highlight the angst in his songs.

Whether you are a hip hop aficionado or new to the sound, Sound Machine 004 will be the place to be this Saturday. Abnorm, Illphonics, AZP, Lincoln Marshall, and Smitty The Kid will come together to give a night of amazing hip hop.

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