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Rapper Murphy Lee has a new distribution plan: He wants you to text him

120721_provided_Murphy Lee
Murphy Lee
Grammy Award-winning rapper Murphy Lee discussed his rise to fame as a St. Lunatic, his new journey as an independent artist and why he wants fans to reach out and text him on Tuesday's talk show.

Nearly 20 years ago, Murphy Lee found himself on the fast track to hip-hop fame. He signed his first record deal with his crew — the St. Lunatics — while he was still attending University City High School. Just a few years later, he won a Grammy for his collaboration as a solo artist, “Shake Ya Tailfeather.”

But his journey along the way had its ups and downs. The rapper is transparent about his rocky path and what he hopes aspiring artists can learn from his past on his latest album, “2nd Time Around.”

“The first time around probably was the first phase of my career, which was ‘99 through probably like 2010,” Lee explained on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

“This second time around is part of my second phase when I went independent. And that's a big difference from being on a big label like Universal Records and then going to your own. So I'm just here to just build awareness, get everything back. … I'm just going around hat in hand and finding my fans one fan at a time.”

One piece of advice Lee gives aspiring artists comes in the new album’s title track: “Don't sign nothing unless that check right.”

Murphy Lee wants to do things differently this ‘2nd Time Around’
The Grammy Award-winning rapper, known for “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” sprinkles nuggets of wisdom throughout his new album.

“I was 15 years old, I didn't know any better. I just knew in order to get this song rolling, we had to sign contracts. That's what they told us, and so we did it,” Lee explained. “But I don't regret nothing. It was a learning lesson, and you know, I'm here to teach.”

Currently, only a couple of songs from Lee’s latest album are on streaming platforms. That’s because he wants fans to buy the album via his website, or by texting him directly at 314-408-8427, or 314-408-TICS (short for Lunatics).

And yes, it will be Murphy Lee himself replying.

“Text me, leave your name so I can lock you in. Ask for the album, you're going to get it. You also can get exclusives … if I drop a new video you're going to see it first. If I drop a new album or song or anything they get it first. If I come into your city, I'm able to contact you and we can meet and things of that nature. So it’s super cool,” he said.

Listen to the full podcast episode to hear about the role Lee’s family played on his latest album, what he makes of the local music scene and why St. Louis will always be home, no matter where he’s living.

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 and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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