Stay Tuned: June 2022

Photography by Mikaela Helane

Chauncey Graham, better known as 4200Kory, has been making a name for himself and his collective, Slum Baby Family, all throughout the Midwest. Kory lets listeners into his world on his latest release, Hold On 4 Dear Life, a project that embodies true storytelling of the trials he experienced as a youth. With the recent buzz from his music, this Indianapolis native continues to use his platform to represent the city and put other local artists on the map. I had the opportunity to sit down with the artist to talk about his startup in music, his collective brand, and his drive to further push the creative nature in Indy!

Tell us your musical background. 
I started doing music when I was 14/15. I was writing and recording music in my closet without a mic trying to sound like rappers I liked. I eventually started to find my own sound. I wasn’t doing anything at first. I was definitely sticking with raps, but as time went on, around 15, I started to get into everything.

I want to talk about the mix you curated. What’s the mood for it? What should we be doing while listening to it?
My intention for the mix was to make people think outside the box, especially when you gave me the direction of being more than one genre. I was like, oh, this is a good time for me to think about that since I’ve been listening to some other stuff like James Blake and Dijon, that’s some of my favorite stuff right now. 

Are there any musicians or artists that inspire you, locally or nationally? 
As of right now, Kendrick has been a really big inspiration right now. He has a voice that he doesn’t hesitate to use but at the same time, he doesn’t rush. He’s very intentional with everything he does. James Blake, because he’s able to carry music with just his voice, and I think that’s amazing. The late David Bowie is amazing and always motivational. As for the people around my city, I like the scene that we have. I like how we got a bunch of different flavors. 

How does Indianapolis impact or influence your creativity?
It’s the landscape. Whenever I think of an idea or I go into writing a song, I have to think of the cultural influence. It’s everything. When I look at my favorite artists, they take pride in where they’re from. No matter how bad they paint it, they still say, “I’m from here!” and that’s what I want to do. Why would we be different from anywhere else? Some people dislike and hate the city but we got something! I understand it to a fault, because I came up in a condition where I didn’t really want to be here either; but I feel like you have to take pride in where you’re from and make the best of it. I left and came back and nothing is Indianapolis, to me. 

What are your interests outside of music? 
My family always referred to me as a renaissance, I like to do a lot of stuff. I love sports. I played basketball, tennis, golf, track, and football. I like to create, no matter what it is. I like reading. I’ve been reading a lot more and I even got my guys on reading. I listen to a lot of music. I like the philanthropy things that I get into, as far as inventing in my community. My collective, Slum Baby Family, enables me to do whatever I want. I never want to be put in a box. Music has always been a getaway and as I progress in music, I want to use it to get to a place with can financially support me and then I’ll move on to making bigger investments.

What’s your biggest musical accomplishment thus far? 
The Saba Baby show I did was nice. That was a really big event. I also really liked the Louisville show I did, and the interview I had in Chicago. If I had to choose, it wouldn’t be one thing but it would be the progression of the shows that we’ve done. I recently just started doing shows. My first five shows, after releasing Hold On 4 Dear Life, I watched the tickets go up. I think that’s one of my biggest accomplishments, just seeing the growth. 

What can listeners expect next from you? What are you working on? 
I am working on a summer project and that’s more of a holdover thing. When I go into big bodies of work, they really depend on where I’m at in life. If my phase isn’t over, I can’t push a project. I can have fun and rap and push that out, and that’s more of a complication, which is what this summer project is. Besides that, I’m just working on building something with my collective. I want to change the narrative of Indianapolis, and that’s what we’ve been doing. We go to different cities and people are like, “Man, I didn’t know you rapped.” It’s fun to put people on and show them what we got and piecing together with artists that I genuinely connect with. We’re just focused on growing in whatever aspect.

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