“Get To Know…” Week picks up steam today with a double dose from Kay and Starchy Arch.
If you’ve been following Rappers I Know for a while, then you’ve probably seen Kay’s name pop up more than any other artist on this site. By far, he’s the most ubiquitous member of the collective, and not coincidentally one of the most sought after collaborators. I’ve gone on record as saying that he may be one of the most individually talented artists that i’ve ever worked with.
We met Kay around ’95 or ’96 through DJ Cipher. He’d just moved back into town from college, and the two of them had begun working together as Example. In the decade and a half since, we’ve collaborated with him more than any other artist. He’s been featured on every release of ours since 2001’s Universal.
In late 1999, we silently began work on a project that would eventually become Ethos, and over the next few years turned it into an exercise in self-development. The purpose of Ethos was to accelerate our songwriting skills while strengthening our production abilities. The result was a snapshot of our collective at the time, including contributions from DJ Cozmos, D Rose, Michele Thibeaux, V Zilla, and a host of others. (We’re going to revisit Ethos in the coming weeks.)
The momentum from that led to Kay’s work with The Foundation and Nicolay, as well as a host of other projects. He’s never been one to shy away from work with others. That work ethic has made him one of the most sought after lyricists that i’ve known personally. We’ll have to do a separate entry for his other projects; there’s not enough space here to discuss everything that he’s done.
Kay and DJ Cipher introduced us to Starchy Arch around the time that we began working on the 48 Seasons album. They would always play us verses from this young cat who could literally flow over any track – and do it well. He collaborated with us on one of the most poignant songs from that album, “Unemployed N****s”.
We went to DJ Cipher’s studio one night to record the track, and it was my first time watching Arch’s recording process firsthand. He came in just after we’d recorded our verses, and we were listening to the playback. After salutations, he listened to the song a couple of times. Then he stood up with a bottle of adult beverage and pulled out a cigarette. He went outside for about 15 minutes, and came back inside, heading directly for the booth. A few minutes later, this was the result:
KO featuring Starchy Arch “Unemployed N****s”
He’s definitely not an artist that feels bound by subgenres. He sounds equally as impressive on a track with Paul Wall as he does Kay. That’s a good trait to have. This dude is going places. As he puts it so eloquently in his own words: “My watch is jackin’ off; that means my time is coming.”
Kay Featuring Starchy Arch “Ms. Jones”
KO Featuring Starchy Arch “Swang”
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