Bird Zoo
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Bird Zoo

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop EDM




"Quality and quantity: 
A conversation with Kogan Dumb"

Lamar Kendrick is a busy man. An emcee by the name of Kogan Dumb, he maintains a fine balance between high quality and quantity, with a string of singles, albums, guest spots and video work. Known for his work as part of the incredible Bird Zoo, over the last few years, Kendrick has branched out with a series of EPs, culminating in the recently-released “38 Bucks Club,” the finale to a loose triad of music. Here, Kendrick explores themes of class in the never-ending struggle to balance personal interests — in this instance, his art — with an ever-increasing laundry list of responsibilities. It’s this perseverance that makes Kendrick so incredibly relatable, which shines through on all of his work.

He has a pragmatic perspective on his output: “The only thing I do is focus on the weird details of things I see. I describe them to people in a way where I’m bringing you down the rabbit hole of my life. I confuse a lot of people with my word play, but I don’t make my music for close-minded people who don’t think in color.”

That is certainly applied in his recent release.

“‘38 Bucks Club’ is a mindset,” he says. “The one thing I love is that as soon as people hear the name of the project, it sparks interest and confusion. The name came from me thinking about the popular brand Billionaire Boys Club. I figured I’m never going to be a billionaire, so I need a club for me and my peoples. With my trilogy, I feel I have come with the most abstract and creative names and concepts for my projects. So, this is a perfect ending to this year’s run, musically. The first EP, ‘Mussolini’, is produced all by me, ‘Yen AM Dollar Sign’ has multiple producers, and ‘38 Bucks Club’ is back down to one producer again, Axel Roley.”

To say that Kendrick has an air of confidence about him is an understatement, though understandable given the level of his work. Of his own evolution as an artist, he believes, “I am such a totally different monster than when I started. I have evolved to a point in my city I don’t feel like I can be touched. As an emcee, I have completely found my own lane as a writer, and performer. I dare artists to share the stage with me now. As a producer and filmmaker, I have been learning from people that are better than me at both. So I tell those people all the time, I’m learning all I can to be better than them one day. I’m just so much more intense on my craft. I want to win badly now, but that requires time.”

As such, Kendrick believes that being an artist is more than just releasing new music, but is about overall exposure. As to his recent spate of material, he explains, “I feel like I have been up to everything. Out here in the city, building with people. The music comes first in a sense because, if you’re a rapper, you kind of need songs out. But I’m way more than a rapper, so I’ve been running laps around the city, making sure my name is good in the streets, while learning new skills that complement my existing skill set.”

He continues, adding, “It’s all about who you know. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t know the right people, you’re not going to shine and get discovered. Only gems I can drop is to get out and network with the right people. Work at your craft and make sure you have something to offer that no one else can.”

And an artist he is. He employs his talent for cinematography as a filmmaker with a string of short films pertinent to the local hip-hop community and beyond. As a contributor at the magazine BLK JAW, Kendrick plies his trade as an artist in an effort to revitalize the format. Regarding the vibe and format of the magazine, he concedes, “I feel like nothing can beat holding something in your hands some times. I feel our printed material is classic collector’s type stuff. Our audience is going to be geared toward whatever the issue is about. Like our last issue was about the hip-hop scene. So our release was geared towards the hip-hop crowd. If/when we do a rock issue that will be our audience. We want to be with the people out and involved with the culture.” - Leo Weekly

"The 2015 LEO Playlist: Our favorite local songs of the year"

Kogan Dumb – “Most Abstract”
With the release of “38 Bucks Club,” Kogan Dumb has not only introduced the world to the incredible talents of producer Axel Roley, but also made an album of remarkable class and style. The beat features heavy jazz work, taking you into the club, and making you feel like you belong there, which is exactly what KG wants from you. Conceptually, “38 Bucks Club” is for the working-class intellectual, the sort of person that mixes a hard work ethic with waxing philosophical, and “Most Abstract” perfectly encapsulates that feeling. Is Kogan Dumb the most abstract ever? It’s hard to say, or to even identify the virtue of that ranking, although it’s wholly refreshing to hear someone brag not of any materialistic gain, but of their artistic acumen. It’s that love for his art that makes Dumb shine and everything about this track reflects that love of his craft. - Leo Weekly

"Louisville hip-hop poised for breakout year"

Louisville hip-hop has a long history, but not much of a story.

For years, the scene was largely underground and insular, with brief flashes of success on a national scale.

All of that is changing.

The rise of Bryson Tiller over the last seven months is the most obvious example of the scene's emergence, with his "Trapsoul" album reaching the Top 10 of the Billboard charts and selling more than 1 million copies.

But it runs deeper than one hot artist.

Hip-hop has become a major part of Louisville's music culture, with celebrated artists such as 1200, James Lindsey, Jack Harlow, Kogan Dumb, Dr. Dundiff, Otis Junior and more leading the way. The spirit of collaboration is intense and the once notoriously cloistered scene is now part of the mainstream, with hip-hop shows part of the regular rotation at rock 'n' roll clubs.

As the music continues to flow, the city's reputation is growing, said Syk Sense, a Grammy-nominated producer who works with Tiller and Harlow.

"What Tiller's doing, there's no one else who can do that, in my opinion," said Syk, who's based in Nashville and worked with Drake on ‎his album, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late."

"He's unique and I feel like he's representing Louisville really, really well. It's just opening people's eyes because, before, the hip-hop scene wasn't really heard of."

Louisville electrified by vibrant music scene
Highly-anticipated albums from Lindsey (formerly known as Jalin Roze) and Jecorey "1200" Arthur are coming this summer, just in time to catch a piece of the spotlight. Arthur has been pushing the limits of collaboration, working with the Louisville Orchestra, while Lindsey is widely credited with sparking hip-hop's recent surge.

Lindsey's 2014 appearance at the Forecastle Festival, at which he partnered with rock and jazz musicians, was a turning point for hip-hop and Louisville's mainstream. His shows are now commonly found at rock clubs such as Zanzabar, The New Vintage, Highlands Taproom and The Mercury Ballroom.

"Everything is ramping up," Lindsey said. "Five years ago, if you came to one of my shows there might be 20 or 30 people and probably half of them would be my family and friends. The other half would be the family and friends of the other artists playing.

Louisville artist James Lindsey during a late nightBuy Photo
(Photo: Marty Pearl/Special to The CJ)
"You come to a show now and there'll be hundreds there and you can't find anyone you know. I think that that's really dope. It shows that good music is good music, whether you're white, black, no matter which side of the city you grew up on. If people like your music they're going to support you."

It doesn't hurt that the music is stylistically diverse and getting better, said Lamar Kendrick, a writer, producer and filmmaker who emcees as Kogan Dumb.

"One thing that's helping our scene is that everybody doesn't sound the same," Kendrick said. "The one thing I can pull from everyone's styles is maybe an energy. Artists understand that people are actually starting to listen, so it feels like they're taking their time creating something that people want to hear."

Louisville has enjoyed hip-hop notoriety before.

Before his unexpected death in 2008, Static Major had laid the groundwork for a major career as writer and performer; he co-wrote Ginuwine's million-selling single "Pony" and Lil Wayne's multi-platinum No.1 hit, "Lollipop."

Nappy Roots, a hip-hop group with roots in Louisville
(Photo: Provided)
And since 2002, Nappy Roots has established a modest empire. The band, with members from Louisville and Bowling Green, scored a platinum debut with "Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz" and has released five more albums, three on its own label, building a self-contained business model that has them on the road for 200 shows a year.

"I think Louisville has always had pockets of talent and right now, with Bryson Tiller basically the hottest R&B artist in the world, that's shedding light on Louisville," said Nappy Roots' Buffalo Stille. "Instead of being little pockets of talent there are pools of talent. Everybody is killing it right now. I love going to open mics and seeing the talent. It's like being a fan again."

There have been other, related, changes, Stille said. When he was coming up there was no one to look to for inspiration or advice, which was also a problem for Roze 15 years later. Father Jah, who began performing in the early 1990s as a teenager, said that the norm was to cultivate rivalries instead of partnerships, with his Unstopable Sound Agency in constant battle with the 502 Headz.

As artists have embraced collaboration, the scene has grown. "I think it's dope what's going on with the scene now," Father Jah said.

One of Louisville's best known rappers, 1200, showsBuy Photo
(Photo: Marty Pearl/Special to The CJ)
Jeremy Brown noticed the same and helped start a movement designed to maintain momentum. Brown, who performs as Wize Mathematics in CPHR DVN, was among a group of musicians who founded the LouiEvolve Hip Hop and Arts Festival and website. The idea behind both was to promote the scene and encourage its growth.

Brown said that bringing some structure to the scene will help maintain its momentum. That kind of structure is what Stille, Father Jah and Lindsey didn't have while growing up.

"It's really hard for a young black man to make it here," Lindsey said. "Even after the Forecastle set, a lot of the people who wanted to help only worked with rock music. The cool thing with rock music is that there are proven acts in town. There's My Morning Jacket, Houndmouth, White Reaper – the list goes on. You can see the path they took.

"With rap, there's no real path, nobody to look up to. In Louisville, there's no blueprint. In Atlanta, there was a template. Same with Chicago. Maybe five or six years ago we might not have been able to really catch up (with those cities), but now that the door's open there are so many artists who can run through that door." - Courier Journal


Still working on that hot first release.



Abstract and free vibes is what drives this band Bird Zoo. While everyone is following the same sound and trends, Bird Zoo is trying to push the envelope. The visuals complement the sound and vice versa. Truly focused on the art, Bird Zoo just wants to shine as thought provoking creators.

Band Members