Soul Servers
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Soul Servers


Band Hip Hop R&B


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This band has not uploaded any videos




The Soul Servers dish out
the diff-hop.

By Nadia Pflaum
Published: June 22, 2006

The Soul Servers were sick of their logo. It was a big cliché: a head sporting a gargantuan Afro. The three MCs needed something better. Something no one else had used before.

So the members of the hip-hop group — Deuce Fontane, Smoov Confusion and PL — got together for a brainstorming session. But the process was tiresome. Icons such as records, turntables and microphones were all done to death. Marcus Johnson, aka Smoov Confusion, was getting frustrated.

"Man, just decide on something! We can use a spork, for all I care!" Smoov blurted.

"A spork?" asked Leronta Austin, who goes by PL. "Done."

"Seriously? I was just kidding," Smoov protested.

But the decision was made. The eating utensil seemingly spawned through intercourse between a spoon and a fork (and found at seafood and fried chicken restaurants — anyplace where coleslaw is dished out) became the hip-hop group's talisman.

So when the group performs at the Peanut, the News Room, the former Kabal (the venue where Smoov and PL work as bouncers, which is soon to be the Skybox) or any of the other venues that host hip-hop in town (which are becoming few and far between), they come packing sporks. PL sticks sporks between his locks. Smoov tucks sporks so that they poke out from under the brim of his black hat. Deuce fills the pockets of his cargo pants with the plastic-pronged implements and hands them out at shows. Their MySpace pages — which have supplanted the group's Web site as the Servers' main means of electronic communication with the world — feature pictures of people wielding sporks with mock menace.

Smoov's spork source is Charlie D's catfish restaurant. Deuce goes to Popeye's. PL gets his sporks for 15 cents apiece at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The spork is a perfectly odd symbol for a perfectly odd threesome. Rapper Deuce (government name: Cormel Lee) is a beefy 27-year-old who favors extra-large T-shirts and jokingly refers to himself as the President of the Unemployed Rappers Guild. PL, 31, is a witty, sloppy teddy bear with short dreadlocks who used to sing in musicals at Lincoln High School. And Smoov is a charismatic entertainer who dresses stylishly in mostly black, rocks chunky silver jewelry, and loves Outkast and the related Dungeon Family so much that he vaguely resembles Andre 3000. He says he's 25.

The group started performing together in 2001. Before that, Smoov and PL met while working at at Sports Fever in Ward Parkway Center. The two formed a hip-hop duo called Rough Draft, snagging beats and learning tricks of the trade from veteran producer JKR70 of the Human Cropcircles.

After leaving Sports Fever, Smoov got a job with Teletech, the company that staffs the U.S. Postal Service's information line. Deuce worked there, too. Everyone there knew that Deuce rapped; fellow employees dared him to write a rap about the post office, and he did it. He and Smoov hit it off, and the Soul Servers were born.

What immediately sets the Soul Servers apart on the KC hip-hop scene is the group's infectious harmony. All three members rap, and Smoov and PL have been singing since they were itty-bitty, but the Soul Servers were skittish to sing at first. Not everybody likes rhymes with harmony on the side.

"A lot of hip-hop has R&B hooks or style in it. But Little Brother was the watermark, for me," PL says. "They were the first to incorporate real harmony in their vocals and be accepted wholly as hip-hop.... And so fuck it — if you like it, you like it, and if you don't, you don't."

But you can't not like it. "Diff-hop" is the term the Servers have coined to describe their music. It's hip-hop, obviously, but they're not afraid to mess around with elements of funk, rock and country. "I wrote a song with Anthony Hamilton in mind, but Garth Brooks can sing it, too," PL says.

Their most recent release, called Lo-Carb Mixtape, is full of surprises, the first being that it sounds decent despite having been recorded at Smoov's house. The song labeled "Dreamin'" starts off with a Kanye-esque, sped-up soul sample that sounds like the Chipmunks. The beat, created by a producer known as Identity Deleted, then melts into an infectious, harmonized hook that sticks in the head for days: I was down and out, strugglin, wondering how I was gonna make it through. A sample of the classic blues song "Stormy Monday" is featured on the second track, and Blondie's "Call Me" is sampled throughout the most rugged and high-energy song on the mix, "Rollin' Rocks."

The song "Bucket Fly" turns out to be a perfect summer anthem, an ode to riding around in a rust bucket with the windows down, not giving a shit who's rollin' on dubs. PL's verse goes: I roll an '84 LaSabre with some matching tags/No shocks in the back, and the tailpipe drags/The radio works when I'm not turning left/I got a short in my lighter that might spa - the pitch

"big lou tailgating"

Big Lou Tailgating
MC Lou Rip joins a new group and gets his soul served.
By Nadia Pflaum
Published: January 4, 2007

Lou Rip likes to say things with a straight face. Outlandish, crazy shit, with a perfectly flat expression. But then his stern mouth, way up at the tippy-top of his 6-foot-7-inch frame, cracks into a toothy grin, and it turns out that Lou's totally fucking with you.

So when he says he's left his three-man hip-hop group, Ukuepto, to become the newest member of the Soul Servers, it takes a minute to figure out that he's not joking.

But it makes perfect sense. Lou Rip (real name: Jevon Fisher) had already been writing tracks with one member of the Soul Servers, Deuce Fontane, for a side project that the two call the Bluez Brothers. He was making guest appearances onstage during Soul Servers songs with the subject of the Servers' logo — the spork — tucked into his bandana. And he could always be found on Sundays at the Peanut's Hip-Hop and Hot Wings, standing in the vicinity of the Soul Servers — Smoov Confusion, PL and Deuce — holding a tall glass of rum and Coke and wearing his signature attire: a polo shirt, color-coordinated kicks and plastic wristbands. The Soul Servers and Lou are a match that everyone should have already seen coming.

Besides, no one could spell Ukuepto.

"United Kings with Unending Evolution Piecing Tunes Organized," Lou Rip says robotically, reciting his former group's anagram. "It's simple! Who can't remember that?" He laughs. "I didn't come up with the word. I was just like, Yeah. That's it. Ukuepto. I'm gonna look that up in the — oh, it's not in the dictionary? OK. Let's roll with it."

The group's break-up was friendly, he says. It was just time to grab the spork.

When Lou Rip walks down the sidewalk, people give him a wide berth. His face, when relaxed, falls into a stone-cold expression. But underneath that badass exterior is a 31-year-old dude who sucks at basketball, considers himself a dork and rolls around KCK listening to Ace of Base. The Soul Servers are simply a better fit.

"The Soul Servers, they're talking about having a good time, kickin' it," he says. "Ukuepto's talking about raising funds to fix the chip on the Statue of Liberty. We were real serious. We made the beats in a manner that were, like, party, kick it, but the message was in your face, hardcore. And it wasn't really true to my persona. I'm not a serious person all the time. I kind of wanted to get away from that. If I want to talk about peanut butter, fine, we can talk about peanut butter. The Soul Servers and Bluez Brothers kind of provide that freedom for me."

Lou Rip writes his rhymes on a busted T-Mobile Sidekick that lacks service, and he works at Sprint. If it weren't for cell phones, his alliance with the Soul Servers might never have happened.

"Me and Deuce exchanged numbers, and the very next day, he was text-messaging the shit out of me," Lou says. "I was like, I'm not used to people text messaging me like this. But the stuff he was saying was funny, so we started text messaging each other back and forth, back and forth, and started hanging out more. We realized we had so much in common, and we'd been talking about doing an album together for a long time."

Lou Rip performed with the Soul Servers during their breakthrough gig of the year. It was December 9 at the Brooksider, the sports bar usually thought of as a hangout for golfers and women with Tiffany's hearts dangling from their wrists. Lou had never been there before.

"Didn't even know the place existed," he says. "Well, at least that section of Brookside. I've been down there before, getting harassed and whatnot. But never been down there to hang out. That was really huge for Kansas City hip-hop, to be able to go down there and not only actually have permission to do a show, but to go down there and just blow everything away."

The crowd was tentative at first, Lou says, but by the second song, the Brooksider was wall-to-wall with newly converted Soul Servers fans.

"We weren't up there talkin' about rims and all this other bullshit. We was talking about some real shit. Some cool shit. The very second song we did was a song me and Deuce did called, 'Papa, Please Forgive Them.' It's a pretty deep joint. Basically, Deuce is talking about all the wrongdoers on the religious side, people who claim that they're all about God or whatever, but they're doing things behind closed doors.... You know, everyone in the crew has some kind of lyrical content to their rhymes, and I think people could really appreciate that."

Now that the Soul Servers are a foursome, 2007 is going to be full of new challenges. PL and Lou are working on solo albums, and PL hopes to start a record label, all under the umbrella of the Soul Servers. And they hope to tour.

"Dude, I will go to Iraq," Lou says. "I will perform in the middle of the battlefield, for real. Like, seriously, in front of the tr - The Pitch

"Best of the best"

Best Hip-Hop Radio Show (2006)
The Show-Me Mix Show KKFI 90.1
Up-and-coming hip-hop artists in this city are always complaining about how Kansas City's corporate radio stations don't play their homegrown releases. Instead of complaining, they should be sending their (edited for radio) tracks to Mz. DeShai Hampton, DJ Kiz-One and Lonnie "Luv" Porter at KKFI 90.1. They spin local tracks and national jams from 8 to 10 on Saturday nights, broadcasting live from the no-frills little studio above the swank Bluestem restaurant on Westport Road. On those Saturday nights in the studio, there's no divide between backpack hip-hop and gritty crunk music -- if it's clean, it gets played. The highlight every week is the Show-Me Showdown, in which callers blow up the studio's phone to vote for their favorite of two local artists' tracks. So while corporate radio plays Lil Wayne and Nelly Furtado 12 times an hour, names such as James Christos, Netta Dogg, the Soul Servers, Jae Casino and DJ Ataxic move from obscurity to local fame on 90.1. That's homegrown progress.
- the Pitch

"KKFI DJ DeShai Hampton runs a tight showcase with a variety of hip-hop formats"

KKFI DJ DeShai Hampton runs a tight showcase with a variety of hip-hop formats
The Kansas City Star

Hampton When she and her co-hosts started “The Show Me Mix Show” in September 2005, DeShai Hampton had one mission in mind: Put local hip-hop on the radio.

Nearly two years later, she has refined that mission and reformatted her show, which airs from 9 to 11 p.m. Saturdays on KKFI (90.1 FM).

“When we first started, the show had little structure,” Hampton said. “All we really wanted to do was play music from the local hip-hop community. Now it has much more structure. We’ve introduced several new segments that get listeners involved.”

One of those is “That’s What’s Up/That’s Whack,” in which Hampton plays new cuts from local acts and then takes comments from listeners. Another is “Live Cypher Saturday,” which features local rappers free-styling in the studios. One reason for these format changes: The station now has a system that can employ a seven-second delay, which allows it to delete or censor offensive language. So far, Hampton said, that hasn’t been necessary very often.

“We tell performers before they come on that if they say something offensive, that’s it,” she said. “They get fronted out on the air. It has only happened a couple of times. I think it really challenges them to keep it real without using profanity.”

“The Show Me Mix Show” doesn’t steer away from rap that has an edge or a provocative message, she said, but it does have its limits. The monthly “Grown-N-Sexy Saturday,” for example, lives up to its name.

“We do play music that has been edited,” she said, “but we don’t play music that condones or glorifies negative behavior, drugs or violence. We play music with a message — conscious rap. We stay away from the bling and the ice-age rap.”

Sometimes the show gets as far from that as possible. Another monthly segment is the “Hip-Hop Gospel Saturday.”

Hampton, a student in communications studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will continue to air interviews with celebrity rappers. This Saturday she’ll be talking to Keith Elam, or Guru of Guru’s Jazzmatazz. On Aug. 25 she’ll introduce a new segment: “Ask the A&R,” in which she’ll ask a label’s artist and repertoire representative questions e-mailed to her from listeners (send them to

“The A&R (rep) will call in the last Saturday of each month to answer the questions that we receive via e-mail,” Hampton said. “I came up with the idea after talking to numerous local artists. Many of them just want direction with regard to the best way to get their music heard.”

That segment, Hampton said, affirms the purpose of the show, which affirms the purpose of Urban Motion, the group that presents “Show Me Mix” every week.

Hampton founded the group for two reasons, she said: “To encourage youth to succeed academically in school and to provide support for local music artists.”

With the help of Lonnie “Luv” Porter at KKFI, Hampton has already helped many local artists get heard; some of them have developed a following on her show, she said, like Reach, the Soul Servers and Young Fierce.

“A lot of local artists complain that they can’t get genuine support locally,” she said. “They’re dedicated to their music; they just need help getting it heard.”


This week’s edition of “The Show Me Mix Show” will include the monthly “Live Cypher Saturday” segment, featuring local rappers free-styling live on the air. The show is broadcast from 9 to 11 p.m. every Saturday on KKFI-FM (90.1).

- The Kansas City Star


Full Service 2003
Low Carb Music (Mixtape Vol I.) 2005
Smoov Confusion (Backpacks, Buttahfly's & the BattleSpork Galactica) 2006
No Serrrvice!!! (the lost/unfinished recordings) 2007
Deuce Fontane & Lou Rip Present:
Blue Brothers (Resistance is Futile) TBA



Too many artists, not enough difference... At least until Soul Servers enters
the room. One of Kansas City, Missouri's most popular underground Hip-Hop
groups, Soul Servers is a breath of fresh air to a Hip-Hop genre in dire need
of originality.

Formed in 2001, the group strives to make sense of life's daily grind using
playful themes and thought-provoking lyrics. Composed of Smoov Confusion,
Deuce Fontane, Lou Rip and DJ Yady, The Soul Servers also seek to add more positivity
to an industry where negative is the norm.

Full Service, the group's debut album is an eclectic mix of 70's funk, Classic
R&B, Old School Hip-Hop and Rock 'n' Roll. Tracks like "Sick & Tired" and
"HipHop on My Mind" shed light on the struggles of life and the woes of
Hip-Hop, . while songs like "Think Twice" explore life's confrontational side.
Club tracks like "What's Wrong?" also demonstrate Soul Servers '
commercial appeal.
Since "Full Service" Soul Servers have stayed busy with live performances, collaborations, and smaller mixtape projects; "NO SERRRVICE", "Low Carb" & "backpacks, buttahfly's and the battlespork galactica" mixtapes are now available. A sophomore album is expected for release in '08.