2015 saw a lot of national attention come to the city of St. Louis for the music coming out its artists. Not since the days of Nelly and the St. Lunatics, Chingy, and J-Kwon has there been so much to be excited about. While each artist in this top ten list would agree that they aren’t stopping with the level of success currently achieved, it will be an absolute joy in watching how far they will go.  Here is my list in no certain order.


Doughboy – Sakrifices


I’ve been queued in to Doughboy since I heard him on a Y.E.$ joint  years ago. One of his claims to fame is a run in with Gucci Mane that enabled him to go on tour with Guwop.  Sakrifices has made its rounds getting attention from around the nation. Karen Civil is fan and posted the single “Break Da Knob” on her website it is also getting play on HOT 104.1’s mix shows. His latest video for “4 & a Baby” feat Solo Lucci is an amazing representation of what  Sakrifices is all about. If you aren’t hip to Doughboy it’s time you started.

LA4ss Hood Hottest Youngin


LA just keeps getting better and better. A real Trapper with a love for his family and associates there’s one thing for sure the young rapper is committed to putting in the work and time to reach for the highest rungs on the ladder to success. The HHY project is proof that young LA is no joke. Riding down Union I heard it on blast in the car next to me as two young females were rapping along to the LooseCannon artist. Check out what the kids are listening to: https://soundcloud.com/la4ssofficial/sets/la4ss-hood-hottest-youngin

3 Problems – Free Rello The Mixtape


R.I.P. to Swagg Huncho. The latest project from 3 Problems rounds out the list of the top 10 projects released in December 2015. The Free Rello The Mixtape hosted by DJ Wildboy is filled with all the street lyrics we’ve come to expect from the group which Ben Westhoff of Rolling Stone described as “threats, brags and stories of real-life tragedy over menacing beats and anthemic choruses”. From A Problem Story to Free Rello you feel the joys and pain of what it is to grow up young and black in the hood. Swagg Huncho and Lil Tay are actually the 2nd youngest rappers to be on this list but the streets will grow you up fast. My favorite song on the tape out of many would have to be “Go and Get Some Money” feat A1 Tk.  Whatever lies ahead for the group  and their families and friends I hope that it is peace and success.  Check it out here: http://www.datpiff.com/3-PROBLEMS-Free-Rello-mixtape.754087.html

Indiana Rome – Dope Dlrs 2


Indiana Rome is Saint Louis’ most vocal purveyor of the hustle, as evident on the cover of his latest mixtape/album Dope Dealer 2. Serving as a follow-up to last summer’s release of the same title, twelve tracks spliced with skits and musical intermissions narrate Rome’s respect and admiration for those getting the guap. Whether it be through the streets or the speakers, the money motive is clear and indiscriminate, mixing freely between metaphors to genericize dope and leave its definition to the listener’s interpretation. – Words from Mike Roth review on Deluxmag.com Listen now: http://indianarome.bandcamp.com/album/dd2

Tef Poe War Machine III


Tef Poe’s War Machine sagas are known to be some of his best work and helped earned him his well-deserved reputation.  From attacking presidential candidates to throwing shade on the black church he is putting everyone on notice. I listened to the entire project front to back it is without a doubt the best project he has ever done, having created his own genre of music which I’d call Militant Conscious Rap. This album is a brilliant militant hip hop masterpiece. Stream War Machine III on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/tef-poe/sets/tef-poe-war-machine-iii

Thi’sl – Heavy is the Head


Heavy is the Head is a 14 track offering from Thi’sl a Westside native of St. Louis, who not only holds a Grammy for engineer work he has done but also has sold quite a number of albums and tours as an independent rap artist. He eats off music which few are able to say. This project is filled with great production, writing, and delivery and is a masterful work. On the song “Yesterday”, Thi’sl shares the track with songstress Theresa Payne and Hip Hop pioneer and living legend Scarface. The song is a somber tribute to those who we have lost to soon and may lose due to street violence, a heartfelt remembrance to brothers and young kings, RIP Marcus Johnson. Listen to HITH here: http://www.livemixtapes.com/mixtapes/35656/thisl-heavy-is-the-head.html

Steve N. Clair – The Introspections of Steve N. Clair


The Introspections of Steve N. Clair is amazing lyrical prose that provides listeners a map of the hood and a glimpse into the mind of Steve N. Clair. His first actual solo project is a collection of well thought out lyrics over mostly jazzy production.  Clair is one half of the rap duo The Domino Effect whose project Unknown was top rated and whose performance at SLUMfest was one of the best of the entire festival. Introspections came to my attention very late but I am glad it did. There isn’t much that I can say about this project because I just want you to listen to it.  Listen to The Introspections of Steve N. Clair now: https://soundcloud.com/stvnclair/sets/the-introspections-of-steve-n-clair

St. Oeaux – Via Dolorosa

 via dolorosa0

There are a lot of great records that appear on this project as well as some great features from MC Keem for example but one of the many things that make this project so dope is its personal nature and anthems. The project seems to be an extension of Saint who not only talks about the upcoming birth of his child but the realities of losing a parent. Joints like “Real or Fake” are getting airplay on the FM dial and as lover and supporter of great music from a greater talent you just have to love that. Jesus Fix It happens to be one of my favorite on the project but the whole thing is a great compilation.   https://soundcloud.com/saintorleans/sets/via-dolorosa 

Lil St. Louis –MDGDAMOB


Earlier this year my mentor DJ Smallz told me personally that Lil St. Louis is the next artist to blow up out of St. Louis with quality street music.  Weeks later Lil St. Louis drops his MDGDAMOB tape hosted by Bigga Rankin.  It landed on the block and was well received by fans and supporters. There was no departure in style or substance from Lil St. Louis with this his latest 21 track offering with features from Yo Gotti, Alley Boy and LA4ss. This project reminds me of something I heard Jim Jones say in how rap music belongs to the streets. MDGDAMOB is a street record and whether it is your choice or music to listen to or not you better respect it because after all it is the street. Heavy Video here for a visual and you can cop it here:  http://www.datpiff.com/Lil-St-Louis-MDGDaMob-mixtape.701862.html

Murphy Lee vs Jay E Back to The Basics

back to basics

Whenever Mr. Wintertime drops a project you just know it’s full of bravado, wit, and his signature flow. In Back to the Basics Murphy Lee and Jay E, drop 15 straight bombs that will get your head bobbin’ and feeling a groove. It’s really a return to the music that earned him his solid reputation as one of the Midwest’s best hip hop representatives.  It’s pure Midwest hip hop feel good music which goes to show that the blending of East, West, and Southern influence still produces a winning program. Features on the project ranged from Future, Paul Wall, MC Keem and one of my favorite duos Legend Camp and was a lock for this list in its guaranteed appeal for all rap music lovers. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/back-to-the-basics/id1022955914


Don’t Get Mad if you arent on the list.

If you believe there was a project that should have made the list let me know in the comments section.

If you are an artist that would like to submit your music to DELUX send it to us via email at music(at)deluxmag.com

DeWarren Smith