By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
The Act: DOA (Deadly On Arrival)
The Nut: Another Lou rap duo with its eyes set on the prize, DOA tempers its pop sounds with more seriousness than most mainstream rappers.
Rappers Diablo and Chill, both 24, have moved from selling records from their trunk to getting their new album Straight Outta Nowhere nationally distributed by New World Records and WEA.
The new single, "Gangsta's Prayer," lifts the standard children's prayer ("Now I lay me down to sleep....") in its entirety for the song's hook the way Puffy Combs lifts beats. It's a poppy song about death in the same vein as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Tha Crossroads," minus the sing-song delivery.
The violin-heavy production owes more to the West Coast gangsta funk of the '90s than other St. Louis artists, thanks to producer and New World label-owner Milan Ross.
DOA's Straight Outta Nowhere is a refreshingly brief 43 minutes -- ten tracks long and no skits, avoiding the overkill common to most Lou rap albums.
DOA has no connection whatsoever to Vancouver punk legends D.O.A.
Best Lyric: "I'm making your head bob/The only way to beat me is to give me a hand job." -- from "You Think You Know"
Check them out: On Soul Train and Rap City in early June
From the band to the Lou: "Check out the new album. It's fat-free, no filler."