At Boombox Knocks, we really respect independent hip-hop artists that do more than “drop a hot 16” or produce the next “banger”. We look for heart and soul…and Miles Bonny has both. This is an editorial snapshot of how i was introduced to his music, and how him and his scene had a part in changing my outlook on the whole genre – mattx
Near the end of my time in the Midwest, I was slowly getting away from the prog/indie/metal scene and gravitating towards a life surrounded by underground hip-hop. There was not much hip-hop music to grab on to in Springfield, Missouri. It was not that there was a lack talent in the area, D.J. P., DJ Platinum, DJ Imperial, DJ Episode and several others, were definitely doing their thing in the late 90’s and turn of the century. They taught me all the basics about DJing, and molded my allegiance to indie hip-hop with a severe dislike for label rappers and whack talent. They were very good at presenting the crowds they played for and showcased great underground and East Coast hip-hop.
DJs were the only hip-hop lifeline I knew existed and, to my knowledge, is kind of where it stopped.Â I began running with DJ Platinum and he was called upon to play this show,in a little town called Lawrence, KS. Platinum was to play an opening set for some band I never heard of called Atmosphere, who at the time were drawing a couple hundred kids. Also on the bill was a guy named Mac Lethal and a group called Archetype.
Little did I know on the ride there, that I would fall in love with hip-hop music in a whole new way because of Lawrence friggin Kansas.Â From what I recall, we got there and learned Atmosphere could not make it to the venue, so Platinum, Archetype and Mac had to hold The Bottleneck down on their own. A few people showed up and it was a blast. There was an after party at the Archetype house, and it too was grand.
It was through this weird little trip that I learned about Lawrence, Kansas’ rich musical approach to hip-hop, and eventually to the introduction to several very talented and motivated groups. Lawrence had this fresh community of acts that i could seriously boast about all day.
One cat that had his finger in almost everything to do with that scene was a fellow named Miles Bonny.
Bonny was producing for a group called SoundsGood, comprised of Bonny on the gear and trumpet accompanied by a cerebral yet comedic and laid back sounding emcee named Joe Good. Those two guys were a fun match up. Great to see live, and a their CD flaunted a production quality that I could not believe came out of a bedroom studio.Â Just Miles and Joe having a good ol’ time recording in haze of mellow reality and party jams.
Another aspect of Lawrence I was not ready for was the constant interaction of talent that is just natural for real musicians. Where I was from, the music scene was every man for himself. You held your cards close, and made your moves on your own. But in Lawrence everybody jammed with everybody else, and didn’t seem to hold back when they did.
Bonny was a vital part of those projects that eventually got recorded and released on his label INNATE SOUNDS, most notably a collaboration with I.D. from Archetype on a project called The Find.Â It was a one time collob as far as recordings went, and completely separate in sound and theory from any ofÂ the SoundsGood or Archetype music.
As the website Bonny moderated LawrenceHipHop.com (R.I.P) was truckin’ along, and with the advent of social networking, he began to take full advantage of the internet and all of its resources. This cat was everywhere…i personally tip my cap to the early hustle he developed as far as graphic oriented websites, MySpace design and marketing, SGoo TV ( internet video about the SoundsGood life well before YouTube was accessible), artist promotion and more.Â INNATE SOUNDS was always on the cutting edge, and has never stopped.
The trip Bonny has been on (before and after these years) is diverse, and very much worth exploring. Trying to sum it all up in a blog entry is futile, as it branches out all over the place with each twig having it’s own unique story. It would be very Un-Lawrence of me to say, or even lead you to believe that, Bonny was the sole essence of that community. Far from it. But, I can say that his work, and the gifts Lawrence Kansas gave me in the form of recorded music were a key inspiration to basic philosophies I use to this day. Each One Teach One and K.I.M. would have taken a long time to find their way to me in Springfield without the insight that crazy vibrant little scene provided.
The next chapter of the Miles Bonny saga is about to be presented to the world in the form of his latest solo release Incense & Wine.
Check it out, and buy it if you like it.
And do your homework on INNATE SOUNDS. They have a MASSIVE catalog that goes from hard underground hip-hop to jazz, to R&B…a lil’ something for everyone.