Steddy P talks Kansas City pride and his new record ahead of Saturday’s release show at RecordBar

%{[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

It’s been a busy year for Ray Pierce, who performs as rapper Steddy P. The founder of Indyground Entertainment brought back Indy Fest, a one-day celebration of local hip-hop, to the Riot Room in August after a three-year hiatus — that same month, he facilitated the relocation of streetwear and sneaker boutique the Loop KC from its former location next to Grimm Tattoo into its current space at 3955 Broadway Street. And tomorrow night, Pierce stages the final piece of his comeback with the release of a new album, Picture Perfect Broken Home

Ahead of the celebratory show at RecordBar — which also features the super-talents of JLB Hood, Barrel Maker and Scotty Wu — I dialed up Pierce to chat about his hot streak and the changes that are right around the corner (spoiler: twins!). 

The Pitch: When we last spoke, you were talking about relocating the Loop KC. Tell me about that. How’s business?

Pierce: We moved in late August into the old Bangarang space. We expanded every outlet of our store since the move, and we’re really hitting the crowd that we’ve always wanted to. The consumers that walk into Bunker can see the Loop from that storefront, and those people are coming over, which is great. We feel like our lanes and our angles are expanding. Our sneaker wall has expanded, and that’s doing really well. We’ve even sold a couple pairs of Yeezy’s recently. It’s fun.

Let’s talk about the new album for a minute. It’s your first release since September 2013, which in rap years is basically, like, a decade.
%{[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%
Yeah. This is my fifth studio album, but in a way, I kind of feel like it’s almost like my first album again.  I have the largest platform I’ve ever had [for releasing]. I’ve been working on the record for over a year, but I’ve been on a two and a half year hiatus from really performing and releasing. A couple small bits occasionally, but nothing like this. So the new record is Picture Perfect Broken Home, and it’s kind of like coming home in a sense. And I’ve got some personal themes this time — you know, I’m addressing, like, I’m flighty and I travel a lot and I have creative ideas, but I miss people here and there. So this is the first time I’ve tried to make a truly an accessible project, something that really gets at how I feel when I think about Kansas City. It’s super colorful — it’s not just people living in Westport and Plaza and Brookside. I live in Southside. There’s a whole history of rap and hip-hop here that isn’t in any of those neighborhoods, and I wanted to reference that. That’s a lot of what you’ll hear. I wanted to make a record that resonated all over the place. 

You’re making it sound a little allegorical, a record that encapsulates so much of Kansas City’s hip-hop culture and history. That sounds like a challenge, but it also sounds like Kansas City is an integral part of your identity as a rapper.

In terms of Kansas City and the rappers and MCs and whatnot, I feel like this is a very competitive and talented melting pot. We’re part of something bigger that’s going on right now — Miles Bonny and Strange Music and so many things going on here — and we have really good rappers who are technically and phonetically some of the best in the game. So I think I wanted to push myself in that direction on this record [of representing Kansas City] first because I’m rooted in it and I love it.

Second, there are a lot of songs on here that are a little blended. I wanted to to make songs that potentially could crossover and could be played on the radio — which is funny, because I’m an underground rapper, and one thing I’ve never accomplished is getting my music played on the radio. But I don’t think you have to compromise anymore. Our store just had its best month ever, and I’m living a life and getting comfortable in these new shoes. The image that I’m sharing on the cover of the album — the couch and a window — that’s not necessarily hip-hop, but it’s my life. It’s how I feel, and I feel like there’s a place for that now in hip-hop more than there ever was. You know, when I started, I did five albums in five years with five tours, and now I’m home and I’m comfortable and I’m grateful for it. 

Let’s talk about that home life for a second. I know you’re expecting twins — so your life is about to change a little, too. 

[Laughs.] It’s crazy. I just bought a house, which is awesome, and my girl has previous children as well, so we’re very much a blended family. They’re already into it. They know what I do, and they come to shows. I’ve always been very much about the crew. The Loop and Indyground Entertainment, that’s my job, so I can’t quit my day job. I’ve been able to have some success during my touring hiatus at home, so for me to make it back out on the road and tour — I just announced dates in December — it’s just extra at this point. I’m really into my company and Indyground and I love the wave and how thing change. You work here and there and try to manage it as it comes. It’s life, you know, and I’m here for all of it, and I’m going to enjoy it. And now I get to have these two little dudes. The whole crew is getting an addition, not just my family but my label family, too, we’ve got little brothers on the way. 

Steddy P with JLB Hood, Barrel Maker and Scotty Wu at RecordBar on Saturday, November 14. Details here

See also:
Indy Fest is back — and Ray Pierce plans to keep it that way 

Categories: Music