OSAWATOMIE — A decade has passed since Tyler Keast last visited some of Osawatomie’s most prominent landmarks, including the dam, ballfields and football stadium.
A lot has changed since then — for both the city and Keast.
The ballfields were a familiar home for Keast during his time at Osawatomie High School from 2004 to 2008. He was a star baseball player who had aspirations of playing in college.
A shoulder injury quickly changed those dreams, and Keast instead found himself studying business and marketing at Kansas State University.
All the while, a passion for song writing and rapping original lyrics steadily grew from a hobby into a primary focus for him.
He even sold his original song “K-State Stand Up” to the university while he was going to school there.
After college, Keast found success in the sales world while working for some top Kansas City companies, including Sprint, but he couldn’t shake his desire to perform. He also realized, though, that he had a wife and child to take care of.
He ended up staying in sales for the money and hitting the road on the weekends to perform at any venue he could. The weekend warrior routine allowed Keast to generate a name for himself and a fan following.
Last summer he decided to take the plunge, and he left his job in order to focus on his music full time. In December, he traveled to Michigan to record his first studio album, which he called “Oz” in tribute to his hometown.
He’s already filmed a few videos for the album, which can be viewed on his YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/tylerkeast, but on Sunday, Feb. 3, he took a trip back to his roots to film a video in his hometown of Osawatomie.
Although Keast doesn’t live too far away in Gardner, Sunday marked the first time since graduation that he really had an opportunity to spend a day revisiting the sights and sounds of Osawatomie.
He and a film crew from Viewpoint Visuals shot footage throughout the town for a song called “LFTD” (Live For The Day), and Keast said he was amazed at all of the improvements.
“They’ve really put a lot of money into the community,” Keast said.
The 29-year-old rapper plans to debut his album during a show March 22 at the VooDoo Lounge inside Harrah’s Casino in North Kansas City. Keast said he plans to offer digital downloads for those who purchase tickets, and physical copies will also be available at the show.
Tickets can be purchased by going online to www.myticketspot.com and searching for “Tyler Keast.”
Local community members don’t have to wait until spring, though, to listen to Keast’s music. His songs can be found on his YouTube channel, as well as on most other popular music sites, such as iTunes, Amazon Music and Spotify.
His Spotify bio states that “Tyler Keast is an up and coming Hip Hop artist from Kansas City with an innovative flow that boasts limitless versatility. TK has exploded on to the Hip Hop scene in the Mid-West combining witty punchlines with compound syllable rhyme schemes. His rapid fire flow & catchy, melodic style hooks are sure to catch your ear immediately.”