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"Keys Open Doors: Steddy P prepares for Scribble Jam"

Steddy P's latest official album, Dear Columbia, features a track called "The Key Holders." The symphonic, string-and-piano driven instrumental contains one of Steddy's best verses on the album. It's an ode to his grind in the Midwest; the countless drives up and down Interstate 70, all in an effort to live his dream of being an artist. At the end of the track, Steddy declares, "The Key Holders…. It's time for me to take out these keys… and open these doors." After meeting Steddy just once, it was clear to me that those weren't empty words meant to fill up the end of a track- this was a part of Steddy's identity.

When asked to define his role in Columbia hip-hop, Steddy said: "I'd sum it up as the key holder. I'm in the position to put everyone else in the position- and I'm gonna do it. There's no way I'm gonna be selfish if we're gonna keep Columbia hip-hop alive." There wasn't a hint of doubt in Steddy's voice- this man's label has become synonymous with Columbia hip-hop even though Indyground has only been around since 2005.
"I just wanna see more people doin' it," Steddy said regarding his fellow local emcees. "That would make me happy. I'd feel like my job is done. That's why we're trying to plug other people so that Columbia has more to depend on than just Steddy P." While his definition of a "key holder" is definitely altruistic, sometimes an emcee just has to pull a Diamond D and go for his. Steddy's reached a point in his career where he's doing just that.

It was a late Sunday afternoon in early October, and the sun's fading rays flooded into Daylight Donuts on Broadway. Steddy and his manager, ThE.SiS, had just driven into Columbia from St. Louis to meet me at the doughnut shop for an interview, so if the long drive hadn't already put them in chill mode, then the glazed donuts, coffee, and the gentle warmth from the sunshine would surely finish the job. Nevertheless, the Indyground boys' grind was in full effect; Steddy and ThE.SiS had to make a rehearsal right after the interview, and the duo still had to plan upcoming Mad Real Mondays and a monthly hip-hop show at the Blue Fugue.

Things are getting a little more hectic for Steddy nowadays. He moved back to his hometown of Kansas City at the end of the summer, which has changed the business dynamic of Indyground. Steddy also dropped the Virgo EP, a limited-edition album, around the same time frame. Then there's the Scribble Jam in Cincinnati at the end of October- and Steddy just happens to be a finalist for the emcee battle. So it's understandable if the key holder is a little bit more focused on opening doors for himself recently. Scribble Jam's emcee battle has made careers; Sage Francis and Rhymefest are just two of the bigger names that have won past battles. Steddy knows this isn't a game and he's preparing accordingly.
"Right now, I'm going back through my collections of music and going back to when I first started freestyling and battling and what my mindset was back then," Steddy said. "Honestly, right now I'm way more of a writer, a performer, and a creator. My battle days were like a year ago, but at the same time, it's not like I can't tap back into that chamber." Steddy has studied classic battles and even old recordings of Sway and King Tech's legendary morning radio freestyle sessions in order to get back into a more battle-oriented mentality.

Steddy knows that Scribble Jam is not only a great opportunity for his career and the Indyground label, but that it's also a chance to boost the credibility of the entire Columbia hip-hop scene. Despite the importance of the event, Steddy is doing his best to take it all in stride while maintaining a healthy amount of excitement for that weekend. "I remember that night (after winning the Scribble Jam Preliminary Battle in St. Louis) and I was just like 'Yes!'" Steddy said, a sudden surge of emotion bursting through his chill, composed demeanor. Right on cue, ThE.SiS quipped "Then the next morning, it was back to work," as if he were subconsciously reminding Steddy that the label can't survive off of one Scribble Jam preliminary victory.

"It means a lot to me, but it was just a prelim; it was like a regional victory," Steddy said. "But really it put me in the position, going back to KC, where it's like I have something credible to throw in my press kit. Scribble Jam is the most credible and biggest hip-hop festival we've had, so it's a notch in the belt. But it's not done. Looking at the bigger picture, it's like 'You won. Cool, now we're gonna throw you in with the lions.'"
Win or lose, Steddy will still have plenty of work left to do in order to get Indyground and the rest of the Columbia hip-hop scene in the position he wants it in. Steddy will have to accomplish this while living back in his hometown of Kansas City while a majority of the Indyground operation remains in Columbia. When asked about the impact the switch has made, ThE.SiS laughed, then looked at Steddy with an incredulous look and said, "Did he really just ask that question?" ThE.SiS is bearing the full brunt of Steddy's move; his exploits as an Indyground spoken word artist have stalled because he's so caught up with helping run the label from a managerial standpoint.

"(The move) has affected (how the label is run), for sure," ThE.SiS said. "But it is still too early to tell how positively it has affected it. We set some guidelines up; communication specifically. The fact that he's not my roommate (has caused) a lot of the change. We caught up, basically. The show we did last night was the first time in six weeks that I've been onstage. I think it's had a positive effect, but we'll see the real effect in about a month."

"The only thing that stays the same is change," Steddy added. "But people don't like change. A lot of the people around here look at (his move) like 'Oh, what are we gonna do?' No! That's the wrong way to look at it." Steddy's eyes sharpened as he vented his frustration and confusion on how Columbia hip-hop has responded to his move. "Now is the time for other people to step up and do hip-hop. I can't do hip-hop here until I'm 40." Steddy's firmly believes that a local scene shouldn't end with one artist, and he's doing everything he can to make sure that isn't the case with Columbia.

"You can pretty much say that we have a monopoly on all the hip-hop in Columbia, and that's wrong," Steddy said. "I don't care how much of a business it is; it's not fair. Everyone needs a chance to get on, practice, and hone their skills. If I didn't have the same chance, we wouldn't be talking right now." Steddy plans on doing his part by renovating the structure of Mad Real Mondays. Steddy wants to bring in national acts to headline while giving local emcees a chance to shine early in the bill, as well as creating a new venue called "The Corridor," which will also combine local talent with national acts.

"I think me moving to KC really made us check ourselves and ask 'How are we gonna make this work?'" Steddy said. "Because, number one, I'm gone, and that means a lot of people are going to have to assume responsibility, and I'm gonna have to govern responsibility. And that's dope, because that's growth; that's something we weren't doing before. Now people are going to start doing things that I did here, like promoting or bringing in national artists, and promoting their show and opening. They're going to be doing all that; I'm just gonna put them on."

The plan sounds so simple when Steddy tells it. Maybe it's because Steddy possesses a different mentality than other rappers. As a key holder, perhaps it's necessary to look at the music business from a completely different angle. "At the end of the day, we're in the business of selling music," Steddy said. "We're trying to support ourselves by selling CDs. So you got to be realistic; you got to humble yourself." Although Steddy's words would probably make money-driven cats like Diddy or 50 Cent throw up, Steddy believes in how he handles Indyground, and the key holder's life matches up with the economical business philosophy he preaches.

The Indyground boys drove a black Honda Civic into town, not a BMW or a Lexus. Their merchandise in the car's trunk wasn't in flossy Louis Vuitton bags or briefcases but in a blue plastic container plastered with Indyground stickers. During the interview, ThE.SiS and Steddy looked like two average dudes who were simply tired from another long road trip; Steddy's fitted cap didn't match his t-shirt, and ThE.SiS' eyes looked groggy beneath his glasses. Holding the keys and opening doors for the many artists on the come-up can be tiring and less than flashy, but it's OK when you love the grind. This is simply real life for two real dudes.

"At the end of the day, do you have something to say for (your work)?" Steddy asked rhetorically. "I think that's why Indyground works, because we know we're all just one person. We're a fan of so many people; you can't really be feelin' yourself that much. I'm totally geeked to be playing these shows that I'm in now because I'm such a fan." Steddy's smile widens as his love for hip-hop bursts his composed demeanor once again. "It's not about trying to get rich; we just don't wanna have to get a real job. Let's be real- at the end of the day, I don't have to worry about paying my bills to pay my rent. I just want to be able to sit in a room and make my music."
Photos courtesy of Steddy P - I-70 HIP HOP


Steddy P. - Dear Columbia...

I just saw Steddy P. a couple weeks ago at the Jackpot, rocking the stage with none other than Lawrence-bred MC Approach (who shows up on this album). What I liked most about Steddy was his energy, and thankfully that remains intact when he steps into the booth. On this album, Steddy seeks to put the middle of the map on the map (Columbia, Missouri to be exact). The production on this disk is exellent, utilizing a plethora of samples ranging from soulful to whimsical in their sound. Lyrically, Steddy has a strong presence and keeps his flow on point for most of the record, except when he tries to cram a few too many syllables into a rhyme. One of my friends described his style as "Rhymesayers with balls," which is a fair assessment. Steddy is certainly conscious but not annoyingly so, as shown on tracks like "Fish Bowl." . It's nice to see a Missouri MC getting some shine and linking up with Lawrence artists. Definitely check this out.

Standout: 12, 6, 3, 1, 8, 4

Reviewed by Spence. Sept. 28, 2008. - KJHK LAWRENCE, KS RADIO STATION

"Steddy P :: Dear Columbia Review"

My relationship with the show me state goes back further than most rap aficionados. I say this not to brag about being "down" longer than others, but to highlight how much Missouri rap has changed in the years I've known it. When I first heard someone out of Missouri it was St. Louis' Deadly Deuce, a G-funk rap group consisting of two dudes with the most unflattering cover art I've ever come across but with some decently smooth flows. I bought a promo single from a mom and pop record store's clearance bin and was seriously feeling a track called "Leave Yo Feelings at the Crib." Despite feeling the crew, I never did see "Nott Datt" the album in any stores. Fast forward to the year 2000 and another rapper with a smooth flow caught my attention. This time his name was Nelly and he traded in the G-Funk for some new school Hip-pop style that quickly caught on. Turns out he too was from St. Louis and this time his album was amply available in the record stores. My last Missouri encounter came in the form of Tech N9ne, who couldn't be more different from Nelly or Deadly Deuce. Enough praise has been showered upon Tech N9ne, suffice it to say Tech is one of my favorite rappers now. In 2008 yet another Missouri rapper has found his way into my rotation and once again I leave impressed. Granted, Steddy P sent in his album for review, but given how hard it is to find a good indie record store, this job is one of the last avenues for finding independent music.

Steddy P is nothing like his predecessors in terms of style and substance. His style is more akin to KRS-One than Nelly as Steddy P gives us straight forward flows about hip-hop and life. The music is also a change of pace from what you might expect to hear from a Missouri rapper as we get a mixture of quirky beats and boom-bap soul. The music is actually the better of the two elements found on "Dear Columbia." That is not to say Steddy P doesn't hold his own, but his producers definitely shine the most. On "Thank You" P.R.E. chops up some soul to give us a driving track with a great breakdown on the hook. P.R.E. slows things down for "5 A.M." with a jazzy, slow trumpet sample and yet another noteworthy breakdown mid-verse. P.R.E. shows more diversity on "We Must" and "Lessons" where he switches up his style yet again. The other producers are no chumps either, each giving the album a unique touch. Ryan Sublette gives us a simple, but effective synth combination on "Mad Real." The album's most unique track comes from Heez On Fire who samples Mega Man on "P.S." – not sure about the sample clearance, but its dope regardless.

Though the production is the better of the two elements, there's plenty of Steddy P to like. "When Your Mouth Is Moving" is a dope track dedicated to the idea that people should listen more often than they talk. "Rain Falls From the Clouds" is another noteworthy track that finds Steddy P reflecting on the hard times that come when pursuing a rap career. Steddy P even manages to win me over with tracks addressing hip-hop, which are usually the tracks I detest. "Mad Real" chronicles an open mic night, makes pleas for people to support local music, and makes reference to KRS-One's Temple of Hip-Hop. "We Must" is yet another cry to save Hip-Hop, but P.R.E.'s beat and Steddy's sincerity make it better than most I've heard. The beat flipping towards the end also helps the track stand out.

Overall "Dear Columbia" is a surprisingly solid album from the relatively unknown Missouri emcee. Steddy P isn't the most unique emcee out there, but his flow and sincerity make for an enjoyable listen. The beats also tend to stick to the tried and true techniques of beat-making, but they all end up being solid. While I tend to be surprised whenever any independent emcee is solid, Steddy P is even more surprising given his style. Of the four Missouri emcees I've ever given a serious listen, all have had extremely different styles and all have been solid. Given how often styles in one state mimic each other, it's quite impressive to find such a variety of rap music in one state. Even more impressive is the fact that each style is done so well and has found success. While the success of Nelly and Tech N9ne need not be discussed, Deadly Deuce and Steddy P also found their own groove. For Deadly Deuce it was impressive their promo single found its way to a mom and pop store in suburban Massachusetts (where I was attending a summer program). For Steddy P, being carried by a site like is impressive for a newcomer. Hopefully, Steddy P can stick around and evolve a little longer than Deadly Deuce did, but regardless he'll still be remembered next a show me state emcee comes my way.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10 - RAP REVIEWS. COM

"IndyGround puts Columbia's hip-hop artists on the map"

Friday, January 16, 2009 | 2:00 p.m. CST
BY Jonathon Braden, Khadijah Rentas

COLUMBIA — The heads in the crowd bopped on beat to the fresh sounds of an underground league of hip-hop gentlemen making their way above ground. This was music they could vibe to.

At the The Fieldhouse, the crowd watched IndyGround hip-hop artists master a stage in the back, flanked by two men drawing and painting on canvases.

"Hip-hop is alive and well in Columbia!" exclaimed emcee Omar Kadir from the center of the stage.

IndyGround Entertainment, a record label that brings together many Columbia hip-hop performers, had officially arrived at the Bluebird Music and Arts Festival in mid-November.

It took four years, but the IndyGround label has given legitimacy to Columbia's hip-hop scene. Ray Pierce, who goes by Steddy P., created the label and has helped bring together a diverse set of artists, recorded albums and put on shows across the Midwest. It has become something of a success on Ninth Street and around Columbia. To the outside world, IndyGround is putting Columbia on the map.

“IndyGround has really set the tone, and nobody else is even close," said Chad Kelly, who does local promotions for hip-hop artist Tech N9ne and co-hosts a hip-hop radio show on KOPN every Saturday afternoon. "Not even close.”

Bluebird took downtown Columbia by storm that Saturday night. The music and arts festival showcased more than 50 bands at a variety of venues on Nov. 14 and 15. IndyGround took over The Fieldhouse from 2 to 8 p.m., and then the visionary of the label opened for the biggest act of the weekend: Atmosphere.

Steddy P. took IndyGround from daydream to reality. That night at The Fieldhouse he watched IndyGround's artists with admiration, his people's No. 1 fan. It was a weekend for optimism about the local hip-hop scene.

"I think one change is that you’ll see hip-hop right now, consistently, in a lot more venues," Steddy P said. "I think that’s the impact of Mad Real and IndyGround."

Before IndyGround, Columbia's main hip-hop scene consisted of on-and-off-again hip-hop nights at various venues, and its public image was marred by random outbreaks of violence. Like most hip-hop "heads" — people devoted to hip-hop — the artists who eventually made up IndyGround weren't interested in the bad news. They just wanted a place to perform.

Disc jockey Drew Wilson, who goes by Alpaca Radio when he performs, remembers how local artists came together to create a solution. "Instead of looking for a scene, we could make our own," he said.

Wilson regularly works for IndyGround artists and at local shows. He deejayed for Z.A.P., a local funk group that opened for future hip-hop legend, Common, on Oct. 24 at Jesse Hall. Although he hasn't signed with the label, Wilson says he is good friends with a lot of its artists who inspire him to keep spinning records.

"I've always loved music, and it's really been the people I've met," said Wilson, who began deejaying in his basement in 2007. "They were just people that took music to another level."

One of the people Wilson met was Steddy P., whose smooth, laid-back sound complements his emotional lyrics. Against the mainstream grain, he doesn't rhyme about money, sex or violence; he speaks out about hip-hop, his life and his hopes.

"This music is everything, I should've got a wedding ring," Steddy P. rhymes in his song "P.S." from his album, "Dear Columbia."

On the track, "State of the Union," Steddy P. calls out rappers who mimic the mainstream standards he calls "regurgitated TV dinner cookie rap." It was that song, Wilson said, that pushed him from the couch to the turntables.

But Wilson still works his day job as do many others on the IndyGround label. At Lee St. Deli, he makes flaming penguins and nachoburgers. Kadir, manager of IndyGround, is a certified public accountant during the day.

The opportunity to turn hip-hop from a hobby into something approximating a business arrived with Mad Real Mondays. The hip-hop night highlighted acts from Columbia and across the country. More important for Steddy P. and company, the weekly event got the IndyGround label noticed.

The innovator of Mad Real Mondays at Sapphire Lounge, Melissa Bushdiecker, takes the view that Mad Real Mondays filled a gap.

"I wanted to create a place where like-minded individuals could get together once a week and celebrate the music that we love because hip-hop gets a really bad rap from big business and mainstream media," Bushdiecker said.

"So the kind of music we listen to, the hip-hop I love, is hip-hop that makes me think and teaches me something," she said. "There's a lot of people working toward the same goal — which is bringing people together in peaceful gatherings and trying to be true to the hip-hop movement."

IndyGround's hip-hop movement gained momentum as word spread of Mad Real Mondays. Kadir, who goes by ThE.SiS, went to Mad Real Mondays as a lover of the music.

ThE.SiS started at the bottom. He went from the audience to selling T-shirts at the weekly event, then worked as a doorman. In the midst of all this, he said he started writing poetry. Steddy P. signed him to the label as a spoken-word artist in the summer of 2006. ThE.SiS went on a 60-show tour with Steddy P. in October 2007, he said. After that, he was promoted to manager of IndyGround.

"He hates it when I call him my boss," ThE.SiS said about Steddy P. "Because it's hip-hop. It's community."

And IndyGround's hip-hop community grew.

Jason Bommarito, an MU graduate also known as J-Bomb, used Mad Real Mondays to showcase his newfound interest in hip-hop. He went to freestyle. Now he is an emcee and musician for IndyGround with his first album, "Civilized People," set to be released in March.

J-Bomb's hip-hop is rock-inspired. He steps to the mic, casual in a brown striped sweater and jeans, and strums a guitar while he rhymes.

"You can't describe my sound," said J-Bomb after his Bluebird performance. "People would ask, 'What do you do? Acoustic hip-hop?'"

The crowd doesn't seem to care if his sound has a name. They respond with bopping, shout-outs and clapping. Since signing with IndyGround, he has booked shows in St. Louis and around Columbia and was scheduled to play at the IndyGround Monthly on Wednesday at The Blue Fugue.

The success of IndyGround has earned it a monthly gig at The Blue Fugue. Its artists have performed elsewhere in Missouri, including Kansas City and St. Louis. IndyGround duo, Rhyme University, has two albums available on iTunes. The brothers Black Caesar and Bustrip live in Texas and Illinois, respectively, and have played gigs there and in Missouri. Steddy P. finished out 2008 with a New Year's Eve show in Lawrence, Kan.

The latest addition to the label, Dallas Music, performed at Bluebird and will perform at Record Bar in Kansas City on April 17. Splitface's album, "A Face in the Crowd," can be purchased on iTunes and

IndyGround Entertainment continues to grow in popularity, evident by its celebration of its four-year anniversary Dec. 10 at The Blue Fugue. With anticipated shows and album releases, IndyGround's underground music scene shows few signs of slowing down.

The group's manager has high ambitions for the crew.

“I would like to see everyone on the label have notches — plural — on their belt,” ThE.SiS said, meaning more albums and tours, "(with) everyone as motivated, if not more motivated, than they are now.”

- Jonathon Braden, Khadijah Rentas, COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN



Steddy P, whose given name is Ray Pierce, has been an emcee and performer at the Sapphire Lounge’s hip-hop night, “Mad Real Mondays,” since it began in September 2005. He’s listened to hip-hop since he was 7, after seeing artists such as Dr. Dre, Public Enemy and LL Cool J, and the show “Yo! MTV Raps” on cable television.

“When my parents weren’t home, I’d have all the TVs on in the house,” Steddy said.

His brother, Kevin Pierce, aided in nurturing what Steddy calls an “addiction.” For Christmas, Kevin gave him a tape or a CD of Slick Rick or KRS-One, and Steddy would listen to them over and over. His brother was a musical inspiration: His guitar skills landed him a gig on Janet Jackson’s 1997 Velvet Rope tour.

Growing up in Kansas City’s Southtown, Steddy, 23, began writing at age 9 or 10. He wrote lyrics and poetry because of the freedom it allowed. “I was one of those ‘fall in love with a girl and start writing about it’ type of guys,” Steddy said.

That laid the groundwork for songwriting; so far, he estimates that he’s written at least 100 songs. Fifteen of them appeared on his first album, “Steddy Progression,” released in March 2006 by IndyGround Entertainment. Steddy helped start the Columbia hip-hop label with his pal Andy Price.

“You just grab something you can relate to,” Steddy said of songwriting. “It’s not like writing a paper, because it has no particular guideline.”

Writing is second nature to Steddy, who is on track to graduate from MU in May with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He’s influenced by everyday interactions that come to have deeper meaning, such as the current political atmosphere and “how people react to things.”

“Steddy will conceive an idea, think about it and then write it,” said Melissa Bushdiecker, Steddy’s girlfriend and founder of Mad Real Mondays. She also bartends there on Monday nights.

Steddy said that in his writing, he tries to counter stereotypes surrounding hip-hop — that it’s violent, disrespects women and is connected to drugs — with lyrics that are social commentaries.

Hip-hop began in the 1970s in New York City. Now worldwide, it is a cultural movement that embodies attitudes of urban life and ethnic groups and includes break dancing, graffiti, DJ-ing and emceeing. These are known as the four elements of hip-hop.

He quoted hip-hop pioneer KRS-One about the difference between rapping and hip-hop: “Rap is something you do; hip-hop is what you live.”

Steddy has a new album coming out on March 30, “Last Man Standing,” and one of the songs reflects the death of his half brother a year and a half ago. “So where does that put me,” the lyrics of “That’s Life” say. “I don’t know but I’d like the answer and exactly why my brother’s God decided to give him cancer.”

A year ago, Steddy said, he was in Lawrence, Kan., to see KRS-One when the performer asked whether there were any emcees in the crowd. Emcees in hip-hop “command the crowd and are great orators,” Steddy said. They keep the crowd interested in the event.

Steddy raised his hand and rushed to the stage to perform with one of his mentors. Caught up in the moment, he felt like a natural.

Before he first took the stage — at the start of Mad Real Mondays — Steddy did house shows for his friends in Kansas City. The house shows were an opportunity to practice his “battling” or “freestyle” skills, which are terms for improvisation. That first night of Mad Real Mondays, Steddy performed an a cappella piece and “fell off,” meaning he forgot the lyrics. He paused onstage, thought back to what he’d written and, as he put it, “killed it.”

By then, he’d already taken the name Steddy P, because he thought he needed a name that would be recognized. The name "Steddy" comes from a break dance crew called the Rock Steady Crew. Steddy was a break dancer for seven years from the time he was 10 but quit because he dislocated his shoulder. The Rock Steady Crew influenced Steddy and the ’80s, when hip-hop was in its prime, Steddy said, and he wants people to be reminded of when it was in the golden age.

P, more simply, stands for progression. His friends mostly call him Steddy now.

He’s excited about the release of “Last Man Standing” because it embodies what he’s been through, and it’s more personal because it addresses issues that directly relate to his life. With this album, he sees himself as more of an artist, because he’s already been through the process — this is “another notch on my belt,” he said.

Steddy and Price dreamed up the idea of owning a record label when they were freshmen at MU. The seven artists on the label — Thesis, Sergio Slayer, Agents of Phizix, John Spartan, Eddy English, Grayhound Bustrip, and Steddy P — were found at Mad Real Mondays and they “clicked right away,” said Price, IndyGround’s graphic designer.

The goal is to have several CDs out from all the artists and tour the Midwest and the East and West coasts by 2008, Price said.

Because Steddy makes his own beats, his own music behind the words, and writes his own lyrics, he plans to “always be an independent artist making independent music.”

As for his competition, Steddy seems untroubled: “It’s not who’s the best, but what you bring to the table.”


"Creative Loafing Review Dear Columbia...P.S."

A Kansas City native and University of Missouri grad, Ray Pierce (aka Steddy P) rhymes with the unpretentious, matter-of-fact delivery of a Midwesterner on Dear Columbia. With a voice that recalls El-P, he has an ear for understated beats that bring out the best in his flow. Though interested in bigger things ("I lurk in the belly of the beast/Middle of the map... I don't wanna do it anymore" he raps on "Watch Me") Pierce is principled and clearly proud of his underground status. So while it's refreshing that he's trying to forge his own path, it's not always clear where he's trying to go. Unlike say, fellow Kansas Citian Mac Lethal, Pierce doesn't come especially hard and doesn't forcefully establish a persona. What fires Steddy P up? What drives him nuts? He's talented, he's cool, but it would be nice to hear Steddy P really fly off the handle. 3 stars - Ben Westhoff

"Pitch Magazine Review of Dear Columbia...P.S."

By. Kyle Koch

For a Missouri rapper, it takes moxie to include Columbia — that bare-knuckled town of pickup trucks and sanguine necks between Kansas City and St. Louis — in the title of your album. But, like any MC worth his mic, Steddy P. values authenticity above all. Hence, his new release, Dear Columbia ... P.S., which reps a city that's a road trip away, both literally and figuratively, from hip-hop's urban core. As double-entendres go (and they abound in Steddy P's verse), Dear Columbia is a clever title. Like much of the album, however, it's smart but not excellent. On many of the tracks, Steddy force-feeds long-winded lyrics into the production, riding the beat like a monster truck over an anthill. But he does deliver some spritely gems when guests appear — and when he subsequently slows his stream of consciousness — such as on the breezy anthem "When Your Mouth Is Moving" (featuring Big Zach and Prof), and "The Key Holders" (featuring Approach). Help from the neighbors is always nice, but Steddy will have to holster the syllabic gunslinging if he wants his next solo run to take flight.
- Pitch Magazine KC

"Vox Magazine 30 under 30 recipient"

Ray Pierce was in a good place. He was a year and a half away from graduating college, and he felt like things were in position to take off with his music. Then his older brother died from cancer, and his entire life paused with the devastation.

But instead of stopping forever, Pierce channeled this energy.

“When my brother passed, I got on this huge kick of tomorrow not being promised,” he says. “So I rapped harder, and I just went through life stronger.”

He put this motivation into his second full-length CD, The Last Man Standing, released in April under his rap name of Steddy P. Much of the hip-hop to come out of the Midwest has been criticized for being simple or formulaic. This album challenges these accusations by dealing with socially relevant subjects, including politics and the death of his brother.

The 2006 MU graduate also co-founded IndyGround Entertainment with longtime friend Andy Price. The two formed the company in 2005 to create an outlet for local emcees and artists to distribute their work. In just two years, IndyGround has released four full-length albums and is now embarking on its first large-scale tour, which will go as far north as Minnesota. And Pierce’s music has developed a diverse local fanbase. Sean Canan, lead guitarist for local rock band Bockman, says there is something about his music that goes beyond just one genre of fans.

“He has more energy than a ton of rock bands I’ve seen up there,” Canan says. “And some of the things he does lyrically are just insane.”

Pierce’s status as a rapper doesn’t keep him in a rut, says Peter McDevitt, who books shows at The Blue Note. “Steddy hasn’t let himself be pigeon-holed into simply being a performer at Sapphire Lounge,” McDevitt says. “He has shown through his drive and determination that he wants to take his music to anywhere that there is an audience willing to hear it.”
- Vox Magazine, by Adam Daniels





Steddy P is a native to Kansas City, MO. Passion, experience, and purpose inspires the young emcee, and more so performer. Face it, trying to define music within the constraints of the written word steps outside the performance arena, in other words, he’ll see you at the show.
The debut album- “The Steddy Progression” (March 2006) challenged the repetitive contemporary conventions so many mainstream artists fall victim to; performing songs like “Predetermined Basic.” Steddy P’s follow up album- “Last Man Standing” (April 2007) not only answered criticisms from the first release but received positive reviews and 4 out of 5 stars from The Maneater.
“Dear Columbia...P.S.” (July 2008), the third album from Steddy P., features appearances from Big Zach of Kanser, Approach, and DJ Mahf of the Earthworms. Fall 07', Steddy P. headlined the “Unemployed Scholars Tour” which spanned across 15 cities in the Midwest. The experience has had significant impact on the writing and production of his new breakthrough album, due out in July this summer.
The Virgo EP (September 2008) was written and recorded in Los Angeles, CA and Lake of the Ozarks, MO. A limited edition ep that everyone must have.

Steddy P has shared stages with the likes of KRS-ONE, The GZA,
Blueprint, Mac Lethal, Approach, Sadat X, Blackalicious, and Bigg Jus of Company Flow.

Imagining Steddy P coming from anywhere else other than Missouri is impossible. His Midwest drawl (or lack thereof) is unmistakable; his delivery is blunt but doesn’t belong to either coast. -Drew Deubner, The Maneater

For such a politically minded and, at times, fatalisitic guy, Steddy has never seemed depressed or distraught about the f@cked up world he so artfully describes -Jordan Sargent, Move Magazine

Politically minded and socially conscientious, Steddy P. finds that the common thread among his subject matter is having passion. Again, he talks about people's tendency to build themselves up without credit to their name from hard work and discipline. Instead, he said, they just make excuses for why they can't tour or don't have the time to commit to their passions.
-Mary T. Nguyen, Columbia Tribune