The Thirteen Best St. Louis Rappers

Categories: Best Of

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Strange Music's Stevie Stone.
This year's Best Of St. Louis issue has hit the streets, and as in the past, we chose a winner for best solo hip-hop artist of 2013. But there's more than just one rapper worth your time, and many of them were winners in previous years. So here's our top ten-ish (OK, thirteen; we kept thinking of more) list of best St. Louis solo hip-hop artists. (This list is in random order, with the exception of the top spot.)

See also: St. Louis concert calendar

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Bo Dean
We all know branding and marketing is important, especially in the rap game, and Bo Dean has done an exceptional job of branding his image. The man is commonly known for or remembered by most of his fans for this Afro. Sure, his hair style is ambitious (and stylish), but he also an incredible wordsmith. His mashup series is a remarkable showcase of skill, as Bo is truly capable of demolishing any track that is placed in front of him. He's a special type of emcee with a once-in-a-lifetime type of talent. His latest mixtape with DJ Smallz is nothing short of a cult classic. His crew members Step or Get Left all carry their own charisma as they contribute an energy that is similar to the early '90s Wu Tang Clan, with a rough, rugged and raw 36 Chambers type of vibe. Bo Dean is one of the most important lyricists we have in the underground scene today. He's not only a talented rapper, but he is also a visionary, a hustler and, to make his story even more rare, a first-year teacher. Imagine this: Your favorite rapper is also a teacher. Google his latest work TriAtomic with Domino Effect; you won't be disappointed.

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Kenny Knox
Kenny Knox is one of the most respected gangster rappers in the history of St. Louis. He has a no-nonsense approach to the beat and a distinctive delivery that cannot be easily imitated. Kenny Knox is a rapper's rapper trapped in a gangster's body. Recently he leaked a sea of songs from his highly anticipated 3Pac project. He can easily switch lanes and hop on a track with a group of battle emcees, or he can write a compelling, story-driven narrative educating the listener about the woes of street life. He also has double-time duties as an actor and visionary or activist. The message he stencils in his rhymes often showcases an unapologetic overtone and a vengeful way of thinking. He was shot and left for dead, yet he survived, so his music carries the energy of a guy who realizes he can be murdered for rapping under such a violent guise. This is gangster music filled with consequences but very little remorse. Kenny Knox is a gangster-rap artist often heard over crisp new era styled production with hardbody beats and a very loud battle cry.

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Rockwell Knuckles
A hybrid mixture of everything we love about hip-hop music, Rockwell Knuckles hails from north St. Louis and can write any kind of rap song the human mind can think of. His projects are often emotional roller coasters. His persona is that of a dark hero who discovered rap at a young age and allowed his talent to drive him crazy. His music often carries a sing-songy approach, followed by rhyme schemes and melodies supported by his deep vocal baritone. He is the type of emcee tastemakers would compare to Lupe Fiasco, yet his music has a range comparable to the late-'90s greats. Knuckles moved to Brooklyn, New York, for a spell, but he has now returned home fresh off the heels of signing his indie record deal with XMG. As of now he is labelmates with stellar greats such as Mickey Factz and Kanye West's cousin Tony Williams (a.k.a. the residential G.O.O.D. singer featured on every Kanye West album). His versatility and dynamic stage performance are his calling cards. He created a masterpiece with his Choose Your Own Adventure mixtape, which despite being released years ago, is still referenced by his fans as one of the Holy Grails of St. Louis rap music. The lead single from this project "Government Name (Spontaneous Lover)," produced by Trifeckta, grew legs and over the course of time has became a cult classic in our city.


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55 comments
Brian Mull
Brian Mull

rap, crap, it's all the same......

Dan Brown
Dan Brown

Ask how Richie incognito feels about the opposite of "I hate whitey". The double standards will never stop in this country, if it wasn't so fucked up it would be funny.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

because that one guy says "i hate whitey" way better than the other guy.

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

It'll be dead within 10 years, yet rock & roll lives on!

Dave Davis
Dave Davis

Christian Rap rules St. Louis This'l

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

so...can "got bitches in my escalade, 30 inch rims." be said "brighter" than someone else?

ABTN
ABTN

Nite Owl

Brian Mull
Brian Mull

Hey, I got an autotone, maybe I can give this crap a try.....

Shannon Hayden
Shannon Hayden

rap sucks.it do's not contribute one positive thing in society

GaryApplesauce
GaryApplesauce

Aside from Black Spade, Tef, & Rocky... this is some of the same old, tired ass, regurgitated hood rap.   Production has gone stale.  Lyrics about the same old shit.  If this the best STL has to offer, that's a shame. 

John Prophet
John Prophet

I think it's funny that the people who think rapping requires no talent at all haven't become millionaires yet. If it takes absolutely no talent, why not toss off a quick rhyme and win next year's VMAs? You could grind on Miley Cyrus without having any talent at all.

Riverfront Times
Riverfront Times

I cannot tell if this is something you feel strongly about or not. Need more exclamation points.

Norm Manis
Norm Manis

who wants to rap? Who wants to listen to that garbage? Its all a damn joke. People are getting rich off of no talent turds making noise thats sounds like shit. The worst part of it all is that stupid morans buy and listen to it. Its like shitting on a plate in a restaurant and saying here you go. Eat this.

Norm Manis
Norm Manis

rap is crap and for no talent turds that cant sing or play and instrument. Bottom line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Classless !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aurellius TheSaint
Aurellius TheSaint

Mad Respeck To All The Emcees & Rappers On Tha List / I Fux Wit All Of Em -#Honorable_Mentions

Lena Wheat
Lena Wheat

Aurellius TheSaint is the best from the 618/314 area..♥ ya!!

Robert A. West
Robert A. West

But only a select few do it well with enough consistency to listen to their material

msboyd2008
msboyd2008

Hmmmm.... I don't see Nato Caliph and Fallout from Illphonics....ijs!

msboyd2008
msboyd2008

Ummm.... What about Nato and Fallout from Illphonics?

jayking0071
jayking0071

Stevie Stone is good people...and he can kill it on a drumline.

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

idk man. i did like the first one on the list...

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

btw i am exagerating for anyone who thinks that i'm being 100% serious. but i can't believe that no one from indyground made it.

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

Congrats to the homies getting much deserved shine. Propers RFT for shedding light on our scene.

Joe Happy-Pork Chop Wood
Joe Happy-Pork Chop Wood

I've tried to relate to it but usually for the wrong reasons I cannot stand rap... gives me a headache makes me feel nervous for some reason... and besides that I can't relate to it... I can relate better to folk music country music blues music jazz music... which seems to have some kind of emotional quality and redeeming or sympathetic or soothing at least for me rap has none of that plus I cannot stand the culture... I have that through for rap singles in there and I like Tupac Shakur's later music other than that that's about it is articulating honest as I can be about.

Anna Felixidocious Ross
Anna Felixidocious Ross

Thank you for your insightful, articulate comment that adds to the conversation. I think we need more people like you in the world.

IndyGround Crew
IndyGround Crew

happy to see Tef and Rocky, Nick Menn, and the man B Magic, but where is Farout??? He travels as much as anyone from there except for Stevie, who's also fam, Show Me State got it!!

tmarkbiz
tmarkbiz

Not liking rap makes you racist? I guess not liking rice makes you racist too.... Or salsa....

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