Marcus Yates is driven by rhythm. His love of dancing and desire to inspire others to move differently sparked his career as a songwriter and producer. And he wants his smooth and ethereal brand of R&B music to speak for itself.
The Kansas City native graduated in 2010 from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. Yates spent some time in Los Angeles in 2017 before moving back to KC in 2019. Last year, he released his debut EP, YEAH, THIS ONE HURTS, which muses about love and its trappings.
Since then, he’s already dropped three new singles in 2021 as he continues to sharpen his craft. “In the Greatest Way” is a hard-hitting diversion in style and features KC’s rap mogul—and Yates’ first cousin—Tech N9ne. The song has reached over three hundred fifty thousand listens on Spotify since April. His latest single, “After All,” was released June 4.
What was it like growing up in Kansas City?
It’s home. Growing up, I was celebrated for how well I practice things, and ever since I was a kid, Kansas City has celebrated my talents. My stepbrother and I were dancing around the city. I was actually known as one half of this dance group performing at park events and birthdays. The entertainment around 2004 was just amazing. We had talent shows like Spotlight on KC, and the whole city was just there. And it was super fun.
How did your musical journey begin?
The first project I worked on with my stepbrother. We were in this group called Prep School, and they knew we had star quality. So we were getting beats and songs written by Krizz Kaliko and that whole crew. They were sending us stuff over to rap to or basically mock. And hey, we just took it and ran with it after that.
What role has Tech N9ne played in your career?
He gave me my first opportunity with another artist on the Kansas side named Irv Da Phenom. We were rapping on a song that was only released in another country. I started making beats after that, and they were so trash. But Tech really encouraged me to be delusional. There’s a certain level of delusion you have to have in order to stay focused on growing. I think that played a major role.
What inspired your latest singles?
Mainly, love is the inspiration. “Nice and Neat” was about a situation where I’d be with a girl who would make it seem like we’re something that we’re not. Even though I was heartbroken, I got to make a joke of it. “Giving a Care” is about being carelessly in love and not really holding back any type of feelings. Being direct, being faithful and enjoying sex.
What are your musical goals?
I don’t have any that are definite because I change all of the time based on the temperature of the industry and how things are going. And I know that I stay myself. That’s a goal of mine throughout all this process—to make sure I’m distinguishable amongst fans. I really want a unique spot in people’s brains and hearts.
The District Fish & Pasta House: “It’s my cousin’s spot. If you go there, ask for a chicken fettuccine. It is so flavorful.”
Gates Bar-B-Q “Growing up, it was the main one that people go to. That’s right down the street from where I grew up.”
Case Park Lookout “You can just see land and reflect. I used to go there with my girl when we were first talking and pick each other’s brains.”