an ode to Kansas City barbecue and one of its founding fathers, Ollie Gates.
Four years after Tech rhymed “Gates” with “mixed plate,” a Springfield rapper is bringing back barbecue rap.
Joshua Kennedy, 31, is a sixth-grade teacher who lists hip hop as an extracurricular activity. Kennedy’s new album, Good Clean Fun, features a song about his insatiable hunger for Kansas City barbecue.
The song, “BYOMB,” stands for Bring Your Own Man Bib.
“BYOMB” begins with the line “Kansas City has the best barbecue in the world and it makes me fat.” That blunt declaration is followed up with shout-outs to Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Jack Stack and Oklahoma Joe’s.
“Time to eat/Let’s get some meat/perhaps a carb or two,” goes the chorus. Listen to the full song onKennedy’s Bandcamp site
We caught up with the Springfield schoolteacher after school last week and learned that his love for Kansas City barbecue can’t be contained on a three-minute track.
Chow Town: How’d you come up with a song about Kansas City barbecue?
I live in Springfield, which is two and a half hours away. I used to always drive up to KC for Chiefs and Royals games with a friend of mine, and we would freestyle rap in the car the whole trip. I remember on one trip, I came up with the rhyme “Let's eat some barbecue, perhaps a carb or two.” As a rapper, I'm always thinking of rhymes at work, or while I’m driving, or at the grocery store.
Did eating barbecue really make you “go one size up in pants” like you say in the song?
Oh, yeah. I mean, there were some other factors. Part of it's getting older. When you’re 20, you can eat whatever you want. I'm 31 now. I'm at that age where these things start to catch up to you.
We’d go up to Kansas City fairly often for Royals games in the summer, and for a couple years I had Chiefs season tickets. We would go up on Saturday, eat barbecue, spend the night, then eat more barbecue Sunday before the game. Then on the way home, we’d stop for barbecue again.
Does Springfield have any good barbecue?
There is one very good place here. It's calledRib Shack
. It would probably be in the top five in Kansas City.
How many KC barbecue restaurants have you been to?
Back when people had MySpace, I had a page and I used to write a blog entry every time I went to a KC barbecue restaurant. I would give a five-pig rating to each place, with one pig being terrible and five pigs being awesome. I probably did pig scale ratings on 15 to 20 places. Nowadays, I don't get up there too often because I have a bunch of kids.
How many kids do you have?
Three kids, all 4 or younger. We still make it up there once in awhile, but since it's not very frequent, we go to Oklahoma Joe's. That's my favorite and my wife's favorite.
You mention a place called Fat Charlie’s in your song. Where is that?
Fat Charlie's unfortunately closed down. It was a hidden gem, right down the street from the stadium on Blue Ridge Boulevard. Fat Charlie's was just a couple of guys that set up a smoker and had a little barbecue thing in the parking lot. It wasn't an actual restaurant, just a setup in the parking lot. It was super cheap and really good.
That was my second favorite place in Kansas City behind Oklahoma Joe's. One day I drove by and they weren't there anymore. I was devastated.
Jack Stack, Arthur Bryant’s and Gates all got shout-outs in your song. Do you have any more favorites that didn’t make the cut?
My second favorite place right now isLC's
, which I did not mention in the song. I didn't have enough time in the song to say everything I wanted to say. First of all, their sauce is delicious. I buy a bottle of it and bring it home when I go. Really pretty much everything (is good). Burnt ends, pulled pork, onion rings, fries...
What’s your go-to order at Oklahoma Joe’s?
I like their ribs a lot, but working with a budget, usually it's the Z-Man (sandwich) and fries.
Are you trying to start a rap battle with Tech N9ne? Because he’s all about Gates.
A barbecue rap battle? That might be a little scary. I don't know if I want to get in the ring with him.
Have you played “BYOMB” for your students?
Yes. We went on a field trip yesterday and I was playing it for some of them on my cell phone on the bus. I just releasedmy first music video today. It's about the 1985 World Series, when the Royals beat the Cardinals. They all hated it — they’re Cardinals fans down here.