Kansas City rapper Sheven combines high-energy, virtuosic delivery and soulful instrumentation to create positive and inventive music. The 26 year-old's second album, 2017's Coexisting, has been receiving rave reviews and a steadily growing fan base. We are fortunate to share an exclusive interview with the rap artist ahead of his June 30 Middle of the Map performance.
Introduce yourself. Describe your music for new listeners.
My name is Sheven, which is my real name, actually. I'm from Kansas City. I'm 26, an artist/producer. If I was to describe my music I would say it's very lyrical, and I'll keep you guessing with my cadence. I enjoy storytelling and making sure I put a message in everything I do. Nas is one of my favorite MC's. I'm a big fan of the culture of hip-hop, and I lean more towards the East Coast sounds. But I can't be put in any box. It's unique.
Talk about your second album, Coexisting. What are you most proud of with this album?
I matured a lot making Coexisting as an artist. I was going through a lot at the time personally and it was my way of expressing how I was feeling in the healthiest way possible. I really think I got my point across. I'm probably most proud of how it was perceived, and I felt my fan base grow. Cult Magazine (Create Uplift) picked it in their top 5 albums of the year at number 4
What were some of the unforeseen challenges of recording Coexisting? How did you work through these challenges?
It was the first time going to a larger studio, putting my art in other people's hands and trusting the mixes. On the first album, I had my hand in everything. This time around it was a different experience. I had to believe in the people that I was working with. I recorded at Anax Studios in Olathe. I still played a big part in the mixing but David Clark mixed, and mastered the entire project. A very talented and underrated engineer around here.
Describe your creative process. Do lyrics come easily or are you a heavy editor of your work? What tools or software do you use for your music?
There are times I feel like writing and there are times I feel like producing. When I produce I use Ableton, when I write, it's always to a beat, never without. I'm more creative in the morning. Some songs I write in a day, and some take a couple of weeks.
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
I've teamed up Meowijuana, a cat nip company in Kansas City, Missouri, and we shot a video for Go, off my second album. It's hilarious. The props and the time put into this are ridiculous. I have a couple projects im working on and big features in the works. You can catch me at Middle of the Map Fest in June.
What inspires you about rap and hip-hop in Kansas City?
The quality of music that the City is putting out right now is comparable or better to most of the music in the industry. The scene is alive. And I'm just happy to be a part of it.