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Rapper with Hall roots rolls with the changes
0911 Kato
Kato's latest album, "Ears & Voices," is set for release Friday at several locations in Atlanta.

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Listen to one of Kato's beats mixed for his new album.

Rapper Kato said it's been two long years, but he's ready for everyone to finally hear his new beats.

"Ears & Voices" is the second album from the Flowery Branch native and features 24 hip-hop cuts - but he said it has something for everyone.

"I've got a lot of features on there, mainly local underground emcees, it's a bunch of stuff," said Kato, whose given name is Chris Ju. "Some instrumentals, remixes and about 90 percent of the production is done by myself."

Now living in Atlanta and breaking into the hip-hop scene, Kato said when he put the album together he wanted to offer more than just hip-hop music.

"I wanted this to be an album not only for hip-hop listeners but also for emcees and artists on the come up," he said. "Those (five) instrumentals are really for the artists that want to try and get out there and they can't afford to pay for good production. I threw my own instrumentals on there so they can use those."

Kato has a few favorites on the album like "I Got You," "Gone" and "Get It Hot."

"I really like No. 7, which is titled ‘I Got You,' which features Levar Thomas," Kato said. "He used to live down here in Atlanta and he moved to New York. He's a real talented R&B, soul singer.

"It's a little more personal and I put a little bit of everything on the CD."

Kato added that "Gone" features Mojo Swagger, who is "pretty well known in the underground scene in Atlanta."

Another favorite, "Get It Hot," features emcee A'Leus and was produced by Kato.

Mic Masters of The Fresh is featured on "One Shot" and "Dreams" on "Ears & Voices." On this album, Masters said, Kato has bridged musical gaps.

"Kato is needed," Masters said. "He bridges the gap for a lot of generations and creeds. He's a prime testament of it; the kid is amazing.

"Being an artist, you get a feeling from each producer you work with and Kato makes his beats tailored to you."

Masters added that he reached out to Kato about a year and a half ago on MySpace and they have been close friends and music partners ever since.

The album, "Ears & Voices," is set for release Friday at several locations in Atlanta and on a couple Web sites. Cloud 9, Moods Music and Criminal Records will have Kato's CD; all are located in the Little Five Points neighborhood in Atlanta. Or, fans can download "Ears & Voices" on iTunes.com and cdbaby.com.

"I will be making the entire mixed tape available for download," said Kato, who is attending Georgia State University. " I know some people might think why would I be selling the CD and also offering it for free download ... I figure people that still buy music and still support the artist by paying for the album, people that download music and don't really know about me and don't want to spend the $8 to buy the music, I figured it would be better to let them have the music.

"Things are changing and you have to roll with the change."

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