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In May, James was charged with disorderly conduct in Kansas City, Kansas. A judge ordered him to pay a $170.50 fine. He doesn't want to talk about that one. It's just another time when something happened to him, and people talked about it only because he's the son of the mayor.
"People think he's getting spoon-fed by his parents," Coleman says of his friend. "I could probably name how much money this dude has in his bank account, and it's not very much. We're both fucking broke as shit. But he's a grown-ass man, so his actions are his actions."
"The No. 1 thing that I hate is how this reflects on a man who did everything for my brothers and sister that he possibly could," James says of his father. "He worked his ass off, tried to put us in the best schools. This is literally the most inspiring person that I've ever been around in my whole life. And I hate how the things that I've done, even if they're true or not true or whatever, how they reflect on him. Sometimes you have to learn in your own way, and I'm still learning."
Mayor Sly James didn't return messages left by The Pitch with his spokesman. But Kyle James says his father, who played in bands as a young man, is supportive of his music career.
"My dad is supportive of whatever I want to do that is legal, that is time-fulfilling, that is not going to outright harm other people," James says. "He's completely supportive of me being passionate about something. That's hard to do. He's letting me be me but at the same time giving me guidance and input."
And James insists that the dust-ups haven't been about drawing attention to his fledgling hip-hop career.
"Music wasn't even on my mind at Fran's," James says. "I'll just chalk that up to not having direction, not being focused, and allowing myself to be in a situation where I became vulnerable. And when I was vulnerable, I probably didn't handle it or deal with it in the most mature way that I possibly could."
He goes on: "I want to be known for music. I want to be known for talent, not for rash decisions or trouble. I don't want no trouble."
"He's really driven to do what he wants to do now," Coleman says.
Inside Coleman's Armour Boulevard apartment on this August afternoon, his caramel-colored cat, Achilles, roams the living room and flops down for attention. The one-0x00ADbedroom space is decorated with paintings, drawings and photos of famous black Americans: Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, Michael Jackson, President Obama. Family photos share wall space.
"I'm in my mother's stomach," he says when he points to a 1987 image of his parents in a church. There's a shot of his dapper father in his law office. Coleman takes his fashion sense from his father and has the tie his dad wears in the picture.
Coleman has just split a marathon push with James to finish the mixtape. As Coleman shows off his place, the mixtape has gone live for downloading and streaming on bandcamp.com — for free.
"I wanted to make it as accessible to people as I could," James says. "Especially being the first thing that I put out. All I want is as many people as possible to hear it."
Four hours after its release, the mixtape has been played about 500 times.