Skatterman & Snug Brim
Seldom seen but often heard, urban legends carry with them an undeniable mystique. In the rap world, Skatterman & Snug Brim are Kansas City's urban legends. Urban Legendz, the duo's debut album, which is being released by Strange Music/MSC Entertainment, contains the type of hard-hitting music and subject matter that will generate its own hype, like any urban legend. "The album is a collection of street stories," explains Skatterman. "That's also how we came up with Urban Legendz. Everything is being told from an urban aspect. When we're done putting the album out, we will be legends coming from Kansas City." Skatterman & Snug Brim take the first step toward that goal with lead single "Block Party," a sure-fire party-starting cut that is as infectious as it is memorable. "We picked that song because it has a good feeling," Snug says. "It's universal, a party song. We have block parties down in Kansas City." "Like we say on the song, 'More whiskey, more weed,'" Skatterman adds. "That's how you're doing it in the hood, suburbs, street corners or in college. That's how young people party. We ain't buying no Cristal drinks, going to the club hopping out of Bentleys. It ain't about that. We're keeping it real urban grounded, down to the normal, to where the average, everyday person is doing what we're doing. We're not talking outside of our means. It ain't no Bentley's on the streets where we from." The celebratory, feel-good vibes of "Block Party" notwithstanding, the rest of the album sustains a largely serious tone. On "Car Wash," Skatterman & Snug Brim detail the sometimes shocking events that transpire at Missouri car washes, while on "Murder By #'s" they swear by the code of the streets. Elsewhere, the rhymers give multiple meanings to street slang on "Pakman" and blast fake rappers on "U Not Mafioso." "Crazy," one of the album's standout tracks, features Skatterman & Snug Brim rapping about the monumental struggle in their own lives. The captivating, compelling cut gives each rapper's story a personal, vulnerable perspective rarely heard on rap songs. "We're just not telling a story from the criminal aspect," Skatterman says. "We're telling the more emotional side. Everybody talks about people getting shot, hustling, and going to jail, but I don't hear people talking about the emotions, and who is hurting from that. There's a momma at home somewhere hurting about her son being locked up." Both Skatterman & Snug Brim know about pain. Skatterman's mother was a teenager when she had him. His father left when he was five and his mother and his grandmother raised him. Their love made Skatterman oblivious to his volatile surroundings. "I didn't have what I wanted, but we always had what we needed," he says. "I felt like I had it good until I was old enough to be able to see what was going on." Around the same time in Kansas City, Snug Brim, the oldest of four children, was having an equally rough childhood. Also abandoned by his father, Snug never thought about pursuing a musical career until he started spending time with his uncle, who was a rapper. Skatterman & Snug Brim became friends in school and started making separate moves in Kansas City's rap scene. Skatterman was a member of the Southside Rollers, a rap group that released an album in 1998, the same year that Snug Brim dropped his debut album, Center Piece of the Puzzle. Impressed with his friend's work, Skatterman approached Snug Brim about a potential collaboration. They united for Worth A Million, an album that earned a fan in Tech N9ne, the innovative rapper who co-owns Strange Music. Tech N9ne brought Skatterman & Snug Brim to the Strange Music fold, leading to their appearance on the critically acclaimed Beef soundtrack, an MSC Music/ Strange release that also features Ice Cube, KRS-One, Eazy-E, Jayo Felony and Tech N9ne, among others. As people whose struggle has given them perspective, Skatterman & Snug Brim inject a sobering realism into Urban Legendz. "You're not going to hear the same song, the same style, the same mood from us from song to song," Skatterman says. "We're going to bounce around like you do in real life. You have your good days and you have your bad days. That's our album." It's an album that Skatterman says will establish the Midwest as a hip-hop power player. "We're coming from Kansas City, Missouri and we don't really have a voice out there at all right now, or the Midwest at all," he says. "It seems like it's just West Coast, Down South and East Coast. It's like the Midwest don't have a voice right now. We feel like when we're done, we'll be the voice of the Midwest." Not to mention "Urban Legendz."