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Up-and-coming rapper Sxnny elevates the CoMo hip-hop scene

January 14, 2019


After a brief hiatus, Sxnny is working to establish a community for local rappers to flourish.


When she started rapping, what was once a loose, scattered collection of people nursing their drinks became a real audience, which formed on the dance floor directly in front of the short, young black woman gripping the mic.


"This is where I have a voice," Sxnny says. 'Its very cathartic for me."


The September 2018 multi-artist showcase at The Blue Note was the third time Sxnny — pronounced “Sunny” — performed for a live audience. She sports a smooth neo-soul sound, reminiscent of rising Midwestern acts such as Saba and Noname.


Her real name is Ciara Bazemore, but she recorded under the moniker Young Cleopatra in her Kansas City high school. She took a break from rap until her junior year at MU. She was brought back into the rap scene by T’Keyah Thomas, co-founder of the open-mic series OneMic, who reminded her of how hip-hop and poetry dovetail. Sxnny started making music again, working with a variety of producers on tracks you can find on her Soundcloud. “She has a writing mode that she goes into where she sort of tunes everything out and gets super creative,” says Christina Lee, Sxnny’s girlfriend and an MU student.


Right now, Sxnny’s music is a collection of singles, but they sound cohesive and are often supported by loops of string, keyboard and drum beats. The songs she has released focus on personal growth, heritage, fate, free will and love, among other themes. “Come from nappy roots like Solange hair / Just want my fam to relax and lay back like lawn chairs,” she raps on “Flow.”


Sxnny admits the hip-hop scene in Columbia takes a backseat to rock and country, but she also says it’s bubbling. Her cousin Steddy P is well-known in rap circles, and his Kansas City label Indyground has been influential in this area. Lee says Columbia has a hip-hop scene that’s “invisible to a lot of people,” but she’s glad Sxnny is a part of it because it’s “very close-knit.”


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