K.MC

For the past couple years, K.MC has been bubbling at the edges of the North Texas hip-hop underground, forming alliances with other standouts like Tunk and Blue (formerly of Sore Losers) as a member of the Brain Gang collective. There's been a steady stream of music and guest appearances from K.MC over that span, and with the release of his latest mixtape, Laptops and Voicemails, the artist has reached an important point of his career. He does so with a renewed sense of focus realized in the form of a solid, albeit still-developing, voice of virtuosity.

By and large, this mixtape is a well-organized collection of the solitary ups and downs that come with attempting to master a craft. Musically, K.MC stays close enough to the intersection of traditional Southern hip-hop and the independent style that has been championed by local groups such as Sore Losers and A.Dd+. But he takes things a step further, perhaps; almost universally, he rejects much of what the traditional rapper makes a main focus. This is an artist disillusioned with what his profession tells him are the goals: women, material possessions and fame.

With guest appearances from other local emcees like Dru B Shinin' and Kashus Klay from The Mohicans, this mixtape may end up being one of the defining local releases of 2011. K.MC is an undoubted talent whose career arc still appears to be on the upswing.

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Nic Hernandez