We all know that this past year wasn’t an ideal climate to build a brand in. As I observed the production of artists (from my bedroom mostly) in the city, here are a few that I think made enough strides to have a breakout 2021.

MC Tres – University City, MO

There aren’t many acts I’ve seen be as consistent in building a brand in the last 3 years than MC Tres. His music has evolved without losing character or substance. He’s been able to get better musically while also refining a merch brand that would rival (and surpass) most artists signed to major labels. His attentiveness and dedication to detail produce the most polished product in the city. He’s UCity confident but it’s understated. I’ve watched him develop the vision and I believe the volcano is prime to erupt this year. To wrap up 2020, he released Late Night Flights.  Stay tuned, he’s only just hit the runway. 

Stape – South St. Louis, MO

At only 26, Stape seems like a veteran in the city. Over the last 5+ years he’s been able to maintain a strong fan base with little effort. He released 3 projects in 2020 before the year hit the midway point. The limitations of the pandemic obviously slowed him down some but as the year has turned again he’s ready to come hot off the starting blocks. Few people in the area have amassed the amount of streams and views as him. As we see more acts breakthrough nationally in the market it won’t be long before that includes Stape. 

Rahli – Dellwood, MO

It’s been nearly 2 years since rumors started spreading of then, Rallo, signing to a label. The official announcement eventually followed but as 2020 started to close out we began seeing more movement on his behalf from the powers that be. Based primarily on the potential that comes with even a little support provided by a major label, my hopes for Rahli are high.  I’ve long been a fan of his unique rap style and raw street stories and the powers of the machine will give him a megaphone. The razor sharp rhymes his raspy voice provides over hard beats are unmatched in a world filled with singsong rap.  He’s dedicated to putting Dellwood in the spotlight and I’m sure they all appreciate it. He’s proven he can make regional hits but time will tell if they’re able to translate nationally. 

AGameSTL – North St. Louis, MO

Mr. Charisma. Big smile. Life of the party. Passionate. Unwavering confidence. That’s how I would describe AGameSTL. He’s been long revered in the city but has branched out to other cities over the last several years. Then he made the move to Los Angeles. The land of opportunity proved to be true as he gained more national recognition by winning a talent competition on Revolt TV. That success was only partially limited by the anomaly of 2020. He ended the year announcing a new deal with indie powerhouse AWAL. Staying the course has him on track to be bigger than ever. Those two-a-days might be starting to pay off.

DJ K Mean