Black Spade
Voted the Best Hip-Hop Artist in this paper's Best of St. Louis issue for two years running, Black Spade is showing no signs of letting up. He remains active in the local scene despite his very recent move to New York. Spade's thoughtful rhymes and wide range of subject matter set his music apart from the status quo, and his voice is well suited for a little soul-singing and harmonizing over his verses and hooks. As if that weren't enough, he is also one of the area's more innovative producers in recent memory. His critically acclaimed debut To Serve With Love was followed up by his first ever mixtape, last year's Build & Destroy. The album features all-new tracks (no "industry beats"), with appearances from members of both the Force collective and his California-based crew, the Hawthorne Headhunters. (CC)

It's been a big year for Vandalyzm: Last summer, the U. City rapper dropped the rerelease of his first album, Megatron Majorz Redux, on Soulspazm Records. It promptly hit iTunes' top 200 hip-hop albums list, comfortably sandwiched between 50 Cent and the Notorious B.I.G. Then this spring, a few weeks after Vandalyzm took his show on the road to Austin for a couple of performances at SXSW, he released his latest mixtape, Vandalyzm Is the Stepfather, with featured appearances from Tanya Morgan, Naledge of Kidz in the Hall, Diz Gibran, Marv Won and Nickelus F (among others). If you're looking for a primer, check out his January mixtape, B!%^h Im'Mis Talented, his selection of his own favorite tracks. (RFT)

Tef Poe
The Force is indeed a force in St. Louis hip-hop, and Tef Poe is one of its strongest members. His most recent album, the (ahem) tour de force War Machine, dropped late last year. It represents a departure of sorts for the battle rapper, who wanted to have more girls come to his shows. In March he followed it up with a new remix and video for his single "Out the Kitchen." But if you're hoping for more solo work from the scrappy MC, you're going to have to wait. Right now Tef is collaborating on EPs with fellow Force members Rockwell Knuckles and Black Spade (who also happens to be his brother); the project with Rocky, tentatively called Prestige Worldwide, is due out later this year, and War Machine 2 is slated for release this summer. (RFT)
7 p.m., RFT Outdoor Stage at 11th & Washington

Sleepy Kitty Arts

Location Info



500 N. 14th St.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Lucas Park Grille

1234 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Washington Avenue

Nato Caliph
Few musicians of any genre are as respectful as the Force's Nato Caliph. Just check out the video for the slow jam "Her" that the hip-hop artist put out last summer. It features his wife, Dana, and their two children. Caliph's also proud that none of his rhymes contain any profanity and describes his work as "an abbreviated sociology course." His work, whether it's gospel-tinged singing or just smooth rhyming, is endlessly enjoyable. His message is perhaps best encapsulated in the refrain from "Appreciation," the lead single from his most recent album, last fall's Knowledge Cipher: "This is hip-hop — appreciate me." (RFT)
7 p.m., RFT Outdoor Stage at 11th & Washington

Rockwell Knuckles
It's no surprise to see Rockwell Knuckles nominated again. The Force member is one of St. Louis' most eclectic — and energetic — hip-hop performers, ranging from traditional beats to more experimental sounds, and sometimes he even sings. His single "Government Name" off the Everybody Wins compilation was RFT's best local single of 2010. Rocky demonstrates his usual clever wordplay over a breakneck beat and then, for the refrain, moans, "Spontaneous lover," like, our reviewer wrote, "Prince on a Viagra bender." This year, Rocky's already released a project called You're Fucking Out, I'm Fucking In, notable for its sci-fi production and the killer single "Silly Human," and he's currently working on an LP with fellow Force member Tef Poe. (RFT)
7 p.m., RFT Outdoor Stage at 11th & Washington

Lavelle Spitz
Lavelle Spitz is a fresh new talent finding his sea legs in the increasingly promising St. Louis hip-hop scene. Though only a few years out of high school, Mauri Lavelle Roberts has energy and ambition to spare — and isn't afraid to be his own hype man. After putting out his full-length, Looseleaf Statements, he got busy working on mixtapes; check out the new The City Slicker, which pairs Spitz's rhymes with unexpected grooves. He also participates as part of the reggae/funk extravaganza the Noam Chomskys and plays out on his own whenever possible. (DB)


This hip-hop quartet — including MCs Kama, Mathias, Black Patrick and DJ Mahf — comprises well-known solo talents, but together they prove there's strength in numbers, and never more so than on the group's latest release, 2009's Midnight at the Capricorn. Though the men give nods to St. Louis in their songs, the group has proven that spot-on scratching, tight vocals and unrelenting energy can grab fans far beyond this river town's banks: They've played Austin's South by Southwest, Hollywood's House of Blues and even hopped around the Continent, performing at military bases. (RFT)
10 p.m., Club Amnesia

Scripts 'N Screwz
The East St. Louis duo Scripts 'N Screwz delivered a nice Christmas present to their fans last year in the form of the EP The Hangover, which featured Loose Screwz' solo effort "On 10," previously released as a single and video in August and subsequently picked up by MTV. Screwz was also kind enough to serve as A to Z's SXSW correspondent this past spring. Scripts, meanwhile, has released his own solo album Director's Cut, which explores the dark, psychedelic side of hip-hop, drawing inspiration from Hollywood crime classics. The video for the single "The Darkness" appropriately featured Scripts being interrogated by soul singer Helen Marie. (RFT)
Midnight, Club Amnesia

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