Ever since I've started this blog I get a few music submissions. Luckily I don't get noticed in person and artists don't hound me to cover their music. I don't want to do it that way. I want this to be real. I don't want anyone to ask me to post things. I like discovering things for myself and coming to my own conclusion of how I feel about someone's art. It's honesty. It's organic. It just feels right instead of watered down.
A few pet peeves I have about artists in St.Louis is seeing artists shoot themselves in the foot. Repeatedly. Another is letting their mouths or fingers(when it comes to Social Media) do the talking instead of their art. Their product. You can't make the people want it. The people have to make that decision for themselves to want what you're selling. There is no way around it. You can't talk your way to greatness. You can't announce your way to greatness. You have to work, grow, and expand.
I made a list of 6 acts from the city of St.Louis who move smart when it comes to their art. 6 acts we can all learn from. Not bite or copy, but learn from. 6 acts that I respect. Peep game.
DJ KIMMY NU
DJ's don't get love anymore. They get more criticism today. You don't understand how much pressure is on a DJ. No matter what, someone will be upset or unsatisfied with the DJ when the night is over. Whether it's because someone wanted their music played and the DJ told them no or requesting songs and the DJ didn't want to get out of their groove and didn't play those songs. It's a tough job man. On the other side of the coin you have people pretending to be DJ's and giving professional DJ's a bad rep and that causes artists to not respect DJ's.
Roughly on 75%-80% of the flyers for events I see in the city. DJ Kimmy Nu's name is probably on those flyers. You know how high that percentage is? A true testament to her work ethic. She didn't have to send me anything or ask me to put her on my site. I keep telling people if you on your job I will find you. The people will find you. You won't have to submit anything to me. Don't get me wrong it's cool to reach out to any outlets that you have the opportunity to use but you still have to put in the work. She's all about business. I've been to a few events where she was DJ'ing and she's always on her shit and truly professional. Like I said before there are a lot of people out here playing DJ. Disrespecting the culture. Kimmy Nu is the opposite of that. She's all business and all about her craft. If you're an upcoming DJ, she is definitely one you should study.
This one is dedicated to the rappers who I mentioned who love to put the talk before the walk. You know the rappers that say shit like, "We bout to takeover!" "My new album is a classic!" "I'm the King of the city!" "When I drop this it's game over!" "I can kill any rapper on any song!" Basically a bunch of useless shit NOBODY cares about or pays attention to. I just sit and laugh at the rappers in STL who do this. Smino never does any of that shit. I told you when I first covered Smino on this blog I met him at SXSW 2015 and we were performing on the same show and there wasn't even more than 25 people at that show. I swear to god. A year later at SXSW 2016 Smino performed at least 8-10 shows I think. One of those shows was the ILLMORE. Blessings everywhere. When SXSW hits you up to perform that's when you know you're on the right track. He has Lollapalooza coming up this summer. He's touring Europe in April. What a difference a year makes. A year. Let that sink in. Let's forget the 2016 he's having. The numbers he's doing. What I respect about Smino besides him being a stand up individual is the foundation all his achievements stand on. He moved to Chicago. Literally slept in a studio. Kept good people in his circle who he could trust. He didn't do any talking and he just focused on his work. He didn't flood the streets with mixtape after mixtape or album after album. He took his time like he was cooking gumbo. I'm talking that good gumbo ya granny make. He dropped very solid songs and pushed those songs then at the end of the year he hit you with 2 EP's and boom. He got all the Juice like the hood candy lady. I never heard him say he's the best. I never heard him say his projects will be the best. He doesn't talk shit and the funny thing is he could talk shit if he wanted to. He has the numbers/plays. He's about to be on one of the biggest festivals in music. He's been on almost every respectable blog you can think of. He just puts his art out there and let the people speak. A lot of these aspiring rappers in St.Louis are so obsessed with competition and trying to impress other rappers that it handicaps them. A lot rappers do a lot of talking and have no numbers or a fan base. Just focus on making something that you can be proud of and creating with your friends like Smino.
A very underrated band. I've known the lead singer Larry for a few years and it goes back to what I've been saying. Just shut the fuck up and make music. Just make moves. You don't have to announce everything. The Illphonics do that. I seriously won't hear or see them until it's time for them to work and promote a new project. I like that about them. They're always doing very interesting shows around St.Louis and always traveling to do shows. They're probably one of the most consistent acts from St.Louis. Their material is always crisp and their live shows are always on point. Consistency is key.
Rocky is an artist that's slightly "Off." If you see him perform live you can tell he's not like anyone else in the room. No one can really figure him out and I think that's cool. You never know what to expect from Rocky. He has this mystique to him. I met him at Slumfest in 2015 and went to introduce myself and he knew who I was. I was like "What the fuck?" It showed me he keeps his ear to the streets. He's aware. He never sleeps. I ain't nobody so I was impressed honestly, but he gave me props on my music (When I was making music). He's the only artist that will literally pop out of nowhere and perform and then just vanish. He doesn't move by any standard he does things his way. He shows you that being unconventional has benefits. He moves at his own speed. What I learned from him is that there is always exceptions to the unwritten rules people write in this game. It's okay to have your lane.
Let me put on my marketing hat for this one. Rappers think they can be Future, Curren$y, Lil Wayne, Early Wiz Khalifa and release music every month or 4 projects a year. What rappers fail to realize is that those artists have established buzzes and fan bases. Wiz Khalifa before he had a deal was doing this but what people don't understand is that Wiz had a team/management behind him with Rostrum and was getting paid shows. All the focus was on him. If a local guy does this all his mixtapes or albums will just be lost and forgotten. No one knows you. If you're not an artist that can drop a project and at least sell 5000 - 10,000 copies of it then dropping back to back projects is straight up pointless. If you're smart you'd follow what Arshad Goods is doing. Black Sunday was released a year and some change ago. He's still doing shows for that album. Still performing that album live and going to different cities performing this album. He putting together a tour for it this summer. He's still pushing that album. A lot of aspiring artists release a album then immediately go on to the next project and leave all that music behind to just die off. There's billions of people in the world. Just because it seems like St.Louis has heard enough of it doesn't mean you stop pushing that project. Go see what Indiana talking about. Go see what's up in Atlanta. Go to Seattle. All these cities in this country haven't heard of you. You need to start making connections to get your music in those markets. Arshad does that. It creates a demand especially if you're dope. People are going to fiend for your next release because it's been so long. WORK YOUR ALBUM! SQUEEZE EVERY PENNY AND OPPORTUNITY OUT THAT MOTHAFUCKA!
This list wouldn't make sense without O.G's. I met John (M.C/Vocalist) at a show at The Firebird and he was just having a conversation with us outside after the event, dropping gems on what it takes to be an artist. How to be professionals. How to build your brand. At the time I had no clue that he was over 20 years deep in music. The Midwest Avengers are really dope and mix rock with hip-hop. They've been doing their thing for years and have real fans. Traveling to do shows. They're making a living off of what they love to do. The thing I respect about these guys is that they never hesitate to help out upcoming artists on the scene. They're never afraid to share their wisdom. A lot of people never offer knowledge in fear that the person they're giving the knowledge to will surpass them. Only weak people think that way. If I need any help John always reached out. When no one would let me perform at their events John and So'n'So reached out to me to perform at their shows. They always let us know that they're impressed and proud with how our crew represents hip-hop. They are seriously the most selfless individuals in the city. No lie. We were looking for venues to throw a show and John went out his way to help us with the search and connect us with the right people. They don't owe us anything but you would think they did by the way they are always willing to help. This is what's missing in the city. We have a lot of veterans hating on the younger artists for no reason. They aren't willing to compromise or share ideas. Some go as far to steal ideas from the younger artists and curators. The Avengers are always willing to help out the younger guys. If you really love hip-hop and have passion for the culture these guys will support you. The youth can learn a lot from these guys. It's okay to help people. It's okay to teach people. Sharing knowledge won't weaken you. It gives you strength. One thing I've learned the past few years is that the more selfless I became the more blessings came my direction. These are definitely some individuals you can gain wisdom from.