Rap Group 3 Problems Could Be St. Louis' Next Breakout Act. Here Are Their Best Videos

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Photo by Ben Westhoff
Swagg Huncho (left) and Lil Tay of 3 Problems, a North County St. Louis group whose popularity is suddenly snowballing.
3 Problems is a St. Louis-based rap group making some of the most beautiful and troubling hip-hop out right now. Its members are Lil Tay, who lives in Jennings, Swagg Huncho, who lives in Ferguson, and Relly Rell, who recently got ten years for second-degree murder.

All three of them are 18, and though most RFT readers likely haven't heard of them, they're practically celebrities among North County high school kids. They get recognized on the street, they posed for pictures at the Michael Brown protests, and they're increasingly asked to do features and shows. (You can catch them tonight at the #OshayParty at 419 Gano Ave.) They even recently got written up in Rolling Stone by an amazing local journalist. (Ahem.)

The guys get compared to Rae Sremmurd and have something of a Chief Keef vibe as well -- melodic but rough. More than anything, their music has a timeless quality, with honest-feeling stories about growing up in a tough environment. Their hooks are incredible -- just listen to their most recent mixtape, A Problem Story -- and judging by how quickly their following has been snowballing, they could be breakout national stars. (They're definitely hindered by Relly Rell's incarceration, but the other two members are so skilled that they can make it as a duo.)

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Wizard World Comic Con Brings Music from the 8-Bit Universe to the Live Stage

Categories: Live and Local

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Jason Hayes of Critical Hit.
Get ready, St. Louis -- a sea of zombies, superheroes and aliens is once again about to take over the America's Center on Washington Avenue. When pop-culture/sci-fi convention Wizard World Comic Con returns to the Gateway City this weekend, the Rams' home will swap out AstroTurf and tear-filled beers for a wall-to-wall assault of celebrities and comic-book references that even ace reporter Lois Lane would have trouble sussing out.


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Kimya Dawson to Play Surprise Show at Foam This Wednesday

Categories: Live and Local

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Photo by Rhett Nelson
Kimya Dawson
Singer/songwriter/Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson will play a surprise solo show at Foam this Wednesday.

The booking comes courtesy of local music blog iwenttoashow.com. Thanks to a Twitter conversation, the site's co-founder, Jess Luther, had originally booked Dawson to play a show in her Soulard apartment -- "We occasionally host house shows for travelling musicians and locals when proper venues aren't available or financially viable for the artists," she explains -- but interest proved significant enough that the show has now moved to the Cherokee Street venue.

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You Could Win Free LouFest Passes, Starting Today

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Photo by Bryan Sutter
Matt and Kim performing at the 2014 LouFest.
Getting free tickets to this year's LouFest isn't quite as easy as being the fourth caller or hitting refresh on your browser a zillion times once a link goes live -- but it may be a whole lot less maddening.

The festival organizers have placed a limited number of "Scratch a Lou" tickets in select businesses around the city. Stop by before they run out, start scratching, and you could find yourself the lucky winner of a two-day pass to the festival, held Sept. 12-13 in Forest Park.

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Kevin Buckley Reinvigorates Grace Basement with Month-Long Foam Residency

Categories: Live and Local

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Courtesy of the artist
Kevin Buckley
The walls of John D. McGurk's front room are covered with framed photos of musicians who have played on its stage -- men and women armed with guitars, fiddles, bodhran drums and Uilleann pipes, musicians who have kept Irish folk music alive and well in St. Louis. Kevin Buckley is playing his fiddle on this narrow stage directly below a framed photo of himself in slightly younger days; the same benevolent intensity is evident in his eyes both in photograph and in person.

The Irish Brigade, the Minnesota-based duo of Mike Wallace and Joe Smith that performs a few month-long stints at the Soulard pub each year, is holding court on this uncrowded Wednesday night. Buckley sits in with them regularly, and tonight the trio works through "Down by the Salley Gardens" before launching into a full-throated take on the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" (McCartney is an Irish surname, after all).

Buckley says little and sings less; he's an apt sideman in this modest setting, and when the band moves away from sing-alongs and Pogues covers to instrumental jigs and reels, Buckley shines. His skills on the fiddle have given him prominence in the Irish folk world, and alongside fellow St. Louisan Ian Walsh, Buckley plays traditional folk tunes at McGurk's every Monday night.

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Ambitious Last in the American League Project Will Finally Be Released This Week

Categories: Live and Local

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Courtesy LITAL
Art and music meet in Last in the American League.
If the eyes are truly the windows to the soul, Chuck Crittenden's betray the passion behind his normally stoic nature.

"I don't usually show a lot of emotion," Crittenden says, his blue eyes pulsating with energy, "but I'm really excited."

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Fresh Produce Beat Battles Are Back

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Courtesy of Fresh Produce
Ben Stein
After a four-year hiatus, St. Louis' Fresh Produce Beat Battle is back this week, with a new show called Fruit of the Boom.

Known for showcasing the best new talent hip-hop talent in St. Louis, the Fresh Produce Beat Battle was held monthly for four years before taking its long break. In that time, it drew a wide spectrum of hip-hop fans in the region, impressed by the caliber of producers the contest brought into the scene.

We caught up with DJ Who and Ben Stein, both members of the Basement Sound System, to chat about providing a fertile proving ground for aspiring producers and rappers, allowing them to "get out of the basement and out in the world."

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Pokey LaFarge on His Rounder Records Debut, Something in the Water

Categories: Live and Local

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LaFarge: "This is an album I think I'm finally proud of."
The last time RFT Music caught up with Pokey LaFarge, the year was 2010 and the St. Louis songwriter was fresh off the release of his third album, Riverboat Soul, released by Free Dirt Records. "I'm pretty happy with it," LaFarge said of the record at that time. But, he confided, "It will probably be a couple more years before I get the sound that I want, and that will be with a bigger ensemble."

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Spectator's Music Is as Beautiful and Enigmatic as Rock Gets

Categories: Live and Local

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Ted Carstensen
Megan Rooney and Jeffrey Albert are the core of Spectator.
Even in the sketchy borders of rock music, a "St. Louis sound" should not, could not exist. And even if such a descriptor did present itself, the band Spectator would sound nothing like it.

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St. Louis Misfits Tribute Band We Bite Has a Hearse Now, Fittingly

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Nikki Strychnine
We Bite bassist Nikki Strychnine is dead serious about his new ride -- a 1990 Cadillac de Ville hearse.

In its continuing quest to emulate its horror-punk heroes the Misfits, the Gateway City's own We Bite acquired a hearse this week to cart gear from show to show. That's right: Instead of transporting dead bodies to the graveyard, this former funeral carriage is transporting music lovers to heaven.

Or to hell, as the Misfits tribute act would probably prefer.

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