Eddie Cox has always been fascinated by words, whether he’s stringing together freestyle raps with his friends or fine-tuning coherent arguments on debate teams.
That interest has translated well to his star turn as hip-hop artist Sir Eddie C. The Belleville native is making waves in the St. Louis music scene and recently notched his first performances in New Orleans and Chicago.
On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Cox joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about his musical craft and inspirations. He began by describing how his hometown carries a rich history of creatives but lacks the outlets to catapult the talent out. That’s where debate came in handy for Cox.
“Because that was definitely something I did to basically figure out a way to use words and express myself because I was always writing hip-hop lines, but I wasn’t able to get them out in a certain way,” he said. Cox honed his debate skills all throughout high school and college and competed on national levels.
The first time he heard himself on a track came after he was gifted a MacBook laptop from his mom. He created a song with a friend after fiddling around with the GarageBand musical application.
“I was like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing,’” Cox recalled. “It was a really weird transition because I would be at debate tournaments prepping for rounds about really deep political issues, all the while, when I had off time, mixing records and making songs at debate tournaments.”
He eventually made a full transition to music. He continues to express political viewpoints, such as in his latest track “Lil Black Boy.” The song encapsulates black pride, reiterates that the black community is not a monolith and calls for embracing the community as an inclusive collective.
During the segment, Cox also talked about his track “Idols,” which pays homage to his mother, Darlene Clark, and her support in his transition from politics to the musical arts. He had the chance to play the song for her 11 days before she passed away in 2018.
“Most people will make those types of songs and lyrics after someone has passed, and I really got to show my appreciation for her,” he said. “For her to say that ‘No, you should be doing music; I appreciate you doing this,’ meant the world. And that’s really the only co-sign I really ever need in music.”
When it comes to describing his musical style, Cox said he makes “regular people rap.” From feeling confident, going through breakups to digging into social issues, Cox’s music runs the gamut of human experiences.
“I do feel like in hip-hop, sometimes, people are forced to pick a lane … and stick with it. [But] I always appreciated artists that were able to do … all the arts and really represent a broad spectrum of what it means to be a human being,” he said.
“I feel like that’s what makes my music really identifiable and accessible to so many people because I’m not just one thing … I feel like every time I drop a song, I’m brand new.”
To expand on his and others' artistry, Cox co-formed a rap collective with local artist Zado in 2017. It’s expanded to also include musical artist Teacup Dragun and other visual artists. noWhere aims to harness a similar essence to influential rap collectives such as Roc-A-Fella and the Wu-Tang Clan.
noWhere’s latest performance will take place March 21 during Blank Space’s 8th anniversary celebration on Cherokee Street.
Listen to the full conversation:
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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