When you're a rapper in Hutchinson, you have to take what performance opportunities come your way.
The genre is seldom turned to as events book talent. So when Key McCarthy was extended an invitation to headline Concerts for the Cause's sole show of the summer, he didn't hesitate to say yes.
"It's been a long time since I've been able to perform in Hutch," said McCarthy, who goes by the stage name KeyBoy. A little over a year, to be exact. But part of the reason has been due to a hectic touring schedule – and adjustment to life as a first-time father.
Thus, he's looking to make a big impact this time around. He'll be sharing the Flag Theatre stage Saturday with other locals like J Wheelz, El Chingon, Foety Foe with Last Equinox and B Ray, as well as McPherson trio EGK and Manhattan's DJ Spauhn behind the turntables.
Seriously making music since the 2010 death of his older brother, McCarthy feels like hip-hop is starting to make inroads in the city, and he's grateful to the Flag for allowing him to perform at what he understands will be the first rap concert to be held there. If all goes well, he doesn't expect it will be the last, either.
"It's kinda cool that we get to open the doors like that," McCarthy said. "We're hoping we can impress them and keep the shows rolling through there."
Other venues around the area have seemed more amenable to bringing in hip-hop acts than in the past, he's noticed. All he asks is a chance to share the art form he loves.
"It's almost like it's an addiction that I love," he said, "especially being on the road and being able to do the music for the people and just performing. Gotta love performing, man."
He'll be doing that a lot later in the year when he embarks on his third national tour this October. With more than 20 shows in a month's span, starting at City Limits in McPherson, he'll head off for the West and East coasts and several spots in between.
The audiences in Hutchinson and beyond will get to hear both his older and newest songs, which he's been steadily releasing on the YouTube and Soundcloud streaming platforms – including the single "Baby," featuring his newborn son, Key Jr.
The bulk of McCarthy's tracks bounce along at a blistering pace, thanks to his rapid-fire lyrics, but even he admits his style has been changing.
"I feel like my sound has changed," he said. "I've got a variety of music. I've got your crazy hip-hop, your deep hip-hop, but then I've also got your catchy hooks, your good-time feeling music." And there's also one that takes on a bit of a country vibe.
"I've been working on making music that everybody can relate to."