Hip Hop

Earlier this year, iLLPHONiCS released a new album titled "Gone With the Trends."
Provided by iLLPHONICS

Earlier this year, iLLPHONiCS released “Gone With the Trends,” its first album on a new label called The Record Machine. Just a month ago, the group released a music video for one of the album’s flagship songs “96to99.” The hip-hop-funk-rock fusion band has been a staple on the St. Louis music scene since 2006.

Audio Agitation
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis music scene is a tangled mess of collaborations, established bands, one-off projects, guest spots, and unexpected guest spots.  It’s an atmosphere that contributes to some of the best music emerging from the city but makes less-hot projects easy to ignore.

Rapper C-Sharp is spreading the word about a voter participation initiative called "YouTurn 2016."
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, we take things in a slightly different direction by interviewing St. Louis musician C-Sharp about his get-out-the-vote initiative.

The St. Louis County native has launched “YouTurn 2016.” In addition to talking with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Willis Ryder Arnold about the importance of voting, C-Sharp is barnstorming across the city to talk about the value of voter participation.

Rapper Bates performs, a microphone is in her hand and one of her arms is outstretched.
Provided | Kazia Steele

St. Louis area rapper Bates has no problem making her voice heard.

Kyjuan and Murphy Lee pose for a portrait outside their new St. Charles vape lounge, Vape Ya Tailfeather.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If you live in St. Louis you probably know the song "Shake Ya Tailfeather" by Nelly, Murphy Lee, and P. Diddy. Now Murphy Lee, 37 and his brother Kyjuan, 39, are breathing new life into the song, in an unexpected way. They’re launching the vape juice line, Vape Ya Tailfeather.

“In the music industry I think somehow if you pay attention to your surroundings, you become a marketing genius,” said Lee. “You know how to sell it because you are the brand.”

Dancer Diana Barrios (back turned) with (l to r) participants Chocolate Gowdey, Bud Cuzz and Valerie Felix in a theater exercise
Nancy Fowler | file photo

This playlist was made a few weeks ago but we've decided to re-share it formally as part of the Audio Agitation playlist series because there's no ice or snow (yet) and you might feel like dancing.

Members of Blank Generation play Marquette Pool opening this summer. The group headlined a Play for the Cause show at Off Broadway yesterday.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis nonprofit called Playing for the Cause is trying to connect philanthropic musicians and their fans to causes they care about. Lynn Cook founded the organization on one simple idea.

“If you have 3,000 happy people in front of you every night, all you have to do is ask and of course they’re going to support you,” said Cook.

Almost exactly two years ago Jon Burkhart left a commune in northeast Missouri that he called home and moved back home to St. Louis. He brought with him a host of analog electronic musical equipment, a computer, and a new musical persona, Hylidae. The project was born in contrast to the rural lifestyle the musician had just ended.

“It was kind of like my retreat from communal life to be making solo electronic music,” Burkhart said.

A scene from R-S Theatrics' "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," showing at the Ivory Theatre through Sept. 20
Michael Young / Proivded by R-S Theatrics

In a post-apocalyptic world, what do you have in common with the other survivors? Finding food? Making fire?

Doh! It’s your love of “The Simpsons” show, of course. Specifically, a 1993 episode called “Cape Feare,” according to a drama called “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play,” by St. Louis’ R-S Theatrics. It’s a Russian Doll of a play, a spoof within a spoof, showing through Sept. 20 at the Ivory Theatre.

Delmar Records launched January, 2015
Courtesy of Delmar

Delmar Records is a new label focused on promoting St. Louis musicians on a national scale. Local musician James Irwin, who performs and records as James K, said the label is like a home for his music.

“I’ve been in situations where I’ve been offered deals through major labels and indie labels and it just never felt right; and I figured why not put my music out through an avenue that I was actually kind of in control of and I actually believed in,” said Irwin.

Sebastian “Tech Supreme” Lee is a cofounder of Delmar Records and a music producer.
Amy Harris/Courtesy of Delmar Records

Delmar Records is working to bring the national spotlight to a group of St. Louis musicians.

Cofounder and music producer Sebastian “Tech Supreme” Lee said the label’s roster features St. Louis musicians with strong careers who are looking expand their audience.  

Adult Fur ii, Album Cover
Adult Fur | Courtesy of the Artist

Local music collective FarFetched is a loose association of musicians from various genres and age groups. The group celebrates its fourth anniversary with a compilation album, "Prologue IV," and a release concert at 2720 Cherokee arts space on Jan. 9. The group is united by a will to experiment with genres, use digital means for music creation, and push boundaries lyrically and stylistically. In four years, it has grown to encompass 14 acts that range from hip-hop to progressive pop music.

Benjamin Kaplan
Act3

For the next six months chess and hip-hop will live under the same roof here in St. Louis. "Living Like Kings: The Collision of Chess and Hip Hop Culture" is an ever-evolving exhibit examining the relationship between the two art forms. Hip-Hop Chess Federation founder Adisa Banjoko, 44, thinks hip-hop and chess share a common noble truth.

“The spirit of competition in hip-hop and in chess is what helps us figure out who we are,” Banjoko said.

Prince Ea

St. Louis rapper Richard Williams, aka “Prince Ea” discovered hip-hop through the big beats and big egos of his east coast idols—artists such as Biggie Smalls, Mace, and Puff Daddy.

Over the past several years Prince has been making waves developing his own brand of hard-hitting, socially conscious lyrics, often about subjects as varied as Charles Darwin, colonialism, politics or brain chemistry.