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

Chip Smith Repping the legendary One Dime crew. One of the first local groups to brutalize radio and get more spins than you can count. Chip is still highly active and doing his thing so catch him in the streets with mixtapes and new music on deck. He has a very electrifying stage show and is really a joy to watch. He has rhymes on top of rhymes and knows how to put a project together. He still has a massive following and can do numbers at multiple venues in the Lou. His new music is different than that of the One Dime era but it's still jamming with heavy content and enjoyable hooks.

Tez Banga One of my favorite rappers period. I know you're reading that last sentence like, "WTF?" Who would've ever thought that Tef Poe is a Tez Banga fan huh? I like his beat selection and I think with the right resources behind his situation he is money in the bank. St. Louis loves Gucci Mane and Boosie. The truth is Tez and his brother Rell Flexin are capable of competing with the big dogs in this particular lane of hip-hop with ease. Tez is also a producer and makes the perfect backdrop sounds to accompany this kind of music. I download anything he releases and I enjoy the music. Tez and Rell are like Gucci and Waka to me.

Potzee True story I was with Young ILL on the Northside somewhere when I first heard this man. We both thought Potzee was Murphy Lee when we originally heard him. The song was so raw we started pumping our fists in excitement. I hope that doesn't come off disrespectful because Murphy Lee is one of the best St. Louis rappers that ever lived. One might make the argument that Murphy Lee is the best STL lyricist of all times so being compared to a talent of his magnitude shouldn't be taken lightly. We all know the classic record "Good Evening." Potzee is still active and in the process of releasing new music. He had an incredible run a few years ago and I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult for him to duplicate such success.

Scriptz N Screwz The first group I ever met from the East side. These cats are very creative and often do not receive the credit they deserve for being remarkably consistent.Loose Screwz is one of the best producers in the city. Scriptz is one of the most slept-on lyricists I've ever met. They've received love from critically acclaimed bloggers and video spins on MTVU. This is one of the most unique duos ever to do it in this town. In the history book of St. Louis hip-hop they will have their own chapter. SNS is Miles Davis bastardized hip-hop step-child. They have mastered the art of doing exactly WTF they desire to do.

Ajule' I think he may have changed his name recently but I'm not sure. This man is one of the most respected St. Louis rappers ever. I remember being young and hearing people say his name as if he was a worldwide famous super star. From major recording deals to indie deals and powerful singles with the likes of 2Chainz, he has done it all. A street artist with the respect of the streets and the old school Hi Pointe alumni in the palm of his hands. He's had classic battles with the most respected battlers from his era. Some names are permanent in St. Louis hip-hop.

D-Mac Come on now. D-Mac is the Beanie Sigel of St. Louis. One of the most amazing freestylers to ever live. D-Mac has street cred and lyricism cred flawlessly combined. Let me say this again, Mac is one of the most amazing freestylers to ever live. You can't mention D-Mac without mentioning Luqmon the Don. During the Hi Pointe era these cats were God-like figures on the scene. We've all seen Mac go on a ten minute freestyle run as if it was natural. D-Mac is one of the best St. Louis lyricist rappers ever born. He's had epic battles with Skeeme from the Ruckus Crew, Ajule, Fatality and more. Outside of St. Louis he is one of the best freestylers to ever live. This is not a matter of opinion to me. I think this should be embraced as fact.

Ebony Eyez The queen of St. Louis hip hop. Ebony has had major recording deals and national under her belt. She's dropped amazing singles we've all danced to. She's stepped on stages at open mics and went toe to toe with some of the best St. Louis lyricists ever. She's worked with the biggest producers from our town and has had an amazing career despite the up's and down's of the music industry. You can check out her new music videos, and bodacious freestyles via YouTube. Often we forget about the women of this culture and Ebony Eyez diligently embraced the task of making us remember them.

Thelonious Kryptonite First off, I think he has one of the illest rap names ever. You can catch him at Lola every Friday hosting w/ DJ Nune. He is a natural born freestyler with bars for days. He has spurts and moments where he reminds me of Mos Def and Talib Kweli. His stage show is solid, and he seems to always know what he wants to do next when you see him live. Krypto is one of the best in the business. Combine him and DJ Nune at the same place at the same time and it's instant fireworks.

I could continue typing and naming people I deem worthy of being mentioned here. I am not the judge jury or prosecutor of local hip-hop. It's always been my personal goal to showcase our town's hip-hop scene in the most positive light possible. I am really a fan of all the people I mentioned. There are a few artists that I've heard say unsavory things about me, and I write it off as the competitive nature of hip-hop.I mean zero harm to anyone and I'm just doing my best to throw positive energy into the universe.

If we all join forces and think about positivity opposed to negativity all of our situations would immaculately change. I was offered the chance to write a weekly column for RFT Music, and I knew from day one I wanted to use this column to help bring my brothers and sisters in the local hip-hop scene up a few notches.

Sometimes we all get a little tied up in the hustle, and we forget about the basics. We all have humble beginnings. Some of us are a little further along than others but we are all representatives of the unspoken stories of St. Louis. If I forgot anyone I apologize and I think the fans should use this as a chance to have constructive conversations about our favorite St. Louis hip-hop artists. If there are any artists you feel deserve shine mention them in the comments below and I'll be sure to check them out.

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