50-Plus St. Louis Hip-Hop Artists You Should Know


Dharma Jean The younger cousin of Theresa Payne has no intentions on living in her shadow. She can sing, write, rap and perform like none other. Something about her is very magnetic and I've sat in a room with her and felt like I was in some type of movie about old school classic musicians. She has the hunger and drive to accompany the talent. I think this summer will be huge for her.

Lil St. Louis Destined to be a household name in St. Louis and beyond a member of the Derrty Ent. powerhouse roster with superior names such as Trixie, Murphy Lee and the buzz heavy JGE. Lil St. Louis is most definitely the hood department of Derrty -- his mixtapes can be found scattered through the city and his buzz seems to have inflated overnight. He uses the Internet to his advantage while maintaining his street cred. His delivery is filled with the hunger and pain of a cat that has really lived the things he's rapping about.

Gas House Gang William H, MVP, Indiana Rome, Saint O: a super group. They recently dropped a solid EP, giving us all a glimpse of what the future has in store. Quickly carving their own lane and taking no prisoners while dropping trunk-rattling bangers, they specialize in combining lyricism and lifestyle raps while painting the picture from the perspective an upcoming St. Louis rap crew filled with hunger. Hopefully we will be blessed with a follow up or full length LP from these cats. GHG is its own movement and each member has a respective grind of his own away from the actual group.

Aye Verb, Icepack Ill, Hitman Holla These gentlemen dedicated their lives to putting on for St. Louis. Each of them is arguably the best battle rapper alive in his own right. You can witness their most epic moments via YouTube versus some of the most dangerous emcee's on the planet. It takes talent to perform on the level they do and often it is overlooked. All of them have serious fan bases and the numbers to support them. I know new music is on the way from Aye Verb and Hitman has a classic collabo with Murphy Lee floating around in the clubs. Icepack Ill has the flare and God-given ability to entertain people. In order for a city to be respected in hip-hop you need soldiers on all fronts.

LMNOP His music is rich in originality and approachability. He reps the east side and has been patiently pushing his music for years. I remember listening to this guy back in the myspace era. LMNOP is no stranger to longevity and also has a heavy fan base in Kansas City. He is also one of the new breed of east side rappers that has recently played a huge role in the current movement being born across the bridge.

MME A high energy group of young guys that are very likeable and enjoyable to watch. They make music that is refreshingly comparable to hip-hop from the golden era. I like these guys because the group members are knowledgeable and willing to grow at their own pace. They are often supported by the solid production of Michael Franco and are surely a crew of prospects who should be watched closely. Their shows usually do decent numbers and they seem very self-reliant.

Julian Keaton A local artist with fewer than one hundred shows under his belt. Even with his lack of experience, he has somehow managed to become one of the most opinionated people I've ever met. He serves as the perfect reminder that rappers cannot blog about other rappers unless they are ready for war. You can see Julian doing his thing at the Pre-Slum Fest party at the Gramophone. Be sure to come out and support his ascension in the local hip-hop rankings. His debut album is on the way, he has even reached out to people like my personal long time friend DJ Spec for help. He desires to be more than a rapper and these efforts should be applauded. In the classic words of Houston Texas rap legend J.Prince "Yo! Face!!"

D.I. Skreet If Skreet puts it in his raps then chances are he's done it in real life. He completely embodies the spirit of the street hustler and describes such a lifestyle to the listeners with ease. Skreet is also co-owner and co-founder of 1909 Studios downtown with Tech Supreme and ILLustrious Vision photographer Nick Morris. His movement the Renaissance Fam is being strengthened everyday due to his very own devotion. Skreet has mastered the art of spitting beautifully crafted tales about life in the trap. He also doubles as a producer alongside partner in crime Indiana Rome when needed.

Nato Caliph His music is packed with a message that today's current music climate lacks. The institution of the conscious emcee is not deceased, and Nato's mission is proving this. He makes music for people who know and believe our society is not functioning properly yet we can fix it. Nato Caliph stands up for the true school listeners that still believe in the basic elements of hip-hop. Listening to his music will help you learn a thousand things. He is in the same vein as KRS-1 and Rakim but with a modernized U City influence behind his music. I didn't want to blurb about too many members of my own crew, but Nato's music deserves a mention.

Yo Banga Yo Banga is a gangster rap icon in the city of St. Louis. He has a relentless grind and merciless way of describing the streets of STL. I respect his music because once again a great rapper finds a way to introduce you to their entire universe. I know I've said that maybe a thousand times but this is one sign of a great emcee. He has the soldiers in place to support his movement alongside with the street appeal to back it up. He is a humble dude with a reputation that supersedes him. He was recently featured on the cover of the RFT in a jaw-dropping article that talks about the ups and downs of his career and life. This is raw unapologetic street music with a purpose. In his own words, "I don't owe you sh*t but I owe my lawyer."

Bren Suarez One of the best storytellers I've ever encountered. Bar for bar, Bren reminds you of golden era hip-hop that was rich in lyrical content and supported by trunk heavy boom-bap beats. He is a veteran emcee that is not afraid to speak his mind and can freestyle with the best of them. I recently posted some of his music on footklan.net so go there and search his name if you are interested in hearing what he has to offer to the world of hip-hop.

KD The Assassin KD makes music from the eyes of a young man with a very mature soul. He has a very serious street smart ghetto prophet-like demeanor. The Assassin is also primarily backed by the flawlessly layered production of Stephen "Instrumental" King. KD occupies a lane that many of us dare not to tread. He is fresh off of tour with the legendary Wu-Tang Clan's Cappadonna. He has also established musical tidings with the likes of Shyheim the Manchild. His hypeman and rhyme partner is also the legendary Hi Pointe emcee 923. He is a emcee with the ability to discuss politics, drug deals, and world news on a level that is understandable to all. KD The Assassin makes music for the mature music lover that is not impressed by the monotony of hip-hop.


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