by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
Kansas City rapper Steven Cooper has announced a new album titled “COOP,” the first album in a distribution deal between his record label, Bigger Entertainment, and Universal Music Group.
Before a recent show at The Bay in Cooper’s hometown of Warrensburg, Mo., Cooper gave CMN the details on his follow-up to January’s album release, “Atmosphere.”
“I wanted to go back to that late ‘90s, early 2000s sound, so this is going down that road,” he said. “And I think ‘Atmosphere’ did too, it kind of started it off.”
With “Atmosphere,” Cooper said he wrote something like 100 songs so he has plenty of material to pull from. He’ll be working with Brooklyn-based producer Kevin Andreas, with the beginning stages of the record being done separately with Cooper working out of his home studio in the KC metro and sending tracks back and forth to Andreas via the internet.
Cooper has made it a point to break from industry norms throughout his career. With songs such as “Born to Do” and “Bigger,” Cooper’s lyrics are upbeat and positive. But “COOP” marks a bit of a break from his norm.
“I do think this is probably my angriest record,” he said. “There’s been a lot of drama that has been going on. I haven’t really ever made a record where I let go and vent. I’m always going to stick to my core, which is making for the most part positive and uplifting stuff. And even sometimes that can be taken so many different ways. But there is a couple of songs I just needed to get off my chest.”
He has plans to do one-off shows in places like Wichita, Kan., Rapid City, S.D., and New York City to promote the new album but is shying away from a full-fledged tour because he is still auditioning for roles in film and television. Cooper did say he is focusing on getting the recently launched Bigger Entertainment label off the ground.
Part of that process is signing acts to Bigger that fit with the direction Cooper is pursuing. Blue jay, a folk-pop duo out of Columbia, Mo., will join Cooper and fellow Kansas City rapper J. Cotti on Bigger’s lineup.
“With Bigger Entertainment, at first it was going to be an all urban-based label,” he said. “But I think it’s already getting some attention from people outside of that so we wanted to branch out. Anything that feels big and epic and something new, that’s what we’re trying to capitalize on.”
J. Cotti is also working on his first album with the UMG partnership, titled “Welcome Back Cotti.” He’s been working with Cooper and several area producers getting tracks together, but Cooper has been helping him with his vocals. Cooper said the album should be released fall 2017.