Most of you should have been at this event. If you weren't here's what happened: A bunch of hip hop acts performed, some won awards, others didn't. Some of the acts were mad they didn't win, some were fully supportive of their fellow artists. Those that won were jubilant, yet humble. There were some really funny interludes done by hosts Rob Ford and Finsta (including a dance off and Trinidad James parody). It was a typical awards show. What made it such a big deal, is that it was in the city of St. Louis - and well attended I might add.
St. Louis is not known for its rich hip hop culture. Some may even laugh at the thought, given that Nelly and the St. Lunatics have been the biggest rap acts to be cultivated in and claim St. Louis as home.
Some that have been around since the golden era of Hip Hop remember a time when Red Sea, the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, the venue at Hi Pointe and some others hosted rap and DJ battles, hip hop ciphers and all the other usual suspects in the hip hop art category, such as b-boys and graffiti artists. Even then, there was no love for St. Louis in the Hip Hop game, industry or whatever name you choose to call it.
St. Louis' love affair with Hip Hop has been so one-sided, any sane person would have told us to get out of this dysfunctional relationship long ago. Like the hopeless romantic lover, St. Louis artists stuck with it. That sacrifice seems to be paying off now. With Rockwell Knuckles having shown up on MTV's Sucka Freestyle radar, Tef Poe now the current BET: 106 and Park Freestyle Friday champion, among being in XXL magazine's The Break and Source Magazine's Unsigned Hype last year as one of the rappers to watch, St. Louis Hip Hoppers may be making some headway. The battle is not won. However, it seems that the St. Louis faction is beginning to win some skirmishes in seemingly obscure places, like South by Southwest and quite a few online forums. The war for supremacy is not yet over. Not that St. Louis will reign supreme forever in Hip Hop - even New York and LA fell off with the Dirty South movement - but it seems as if it may be time to shine, and the young talent in the city is taking full advantage of their platforms - with hard hitting lyrics, mixed with unique styles of production (among the more palatable, typical Hip Hop/Rap production) from local heroes like Tech Supreme, Trifeckta and others from around the globe. Of course this article has not accounted for all the St. Louisans out there doing big things, but they are... and please believe that this is a trend, not a fad. Non-midwesterners beware. Chicago, your little hip hop cousin is coming into its own, and we don't intend to stop now.