You probably know its rich history with Blues music.
But the fast-paced city in Missouri has much more to it than that.
It was nicknamed the “Gateway to the West” because of its role in US history in the 1800s.
As it turns out, St. Louis is also home to some of the best American rappers and singers, some going back as early as the 2000s.
Here are the 20 best St. Louis rappers of all time.
While many will be fascinated by names like Akon, we’ve included a few surprising rappers you never knew came from the eclectic city.
Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, the famous Senegalese-American singer, was born in 1973 in St. Louis.
He rose to fame in 2004 with his “Locked Up” single from his Troubles (2004) debut album.
The album also contained the famous “Lonely” single that has become one of Akon’s best-ever songs.
His 2nd studio album, Konvicted (2006), earned him 3 Grammy Awards nominations for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Contemporary R&B Album.
The St. Louis rapper is one of the best singers of the 2000s, also known for his philanthropic activities in his Senegal home.
2. Metro Boomin
Leland Tyler Wayne, commonly known as Metro Boomin, is one of the best modern rappers from St. Louis.
His influence on contemporary hip-hop and trap music is there for everyone to see.
While his journey started in 2009, Leland only shot to fame in 2014 with Drake and iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” song.
He started his music career in his native St. Louis before moving to Atlanta to work with famous names in the rap industry.
He’s achieved the dream through his projects with 21 Savage, Migos, Gucci Mane, and Future, to mention a few.
St. Louis rapper Nelly’s list of hits is unmistakable.
He started his career in 1993 and has released countless hits, including “Country Grammar,” “Hot in Herre,” and “Batter Up.”
He launched his solo career in 2000 after quitting St. Lunatics and released his debut album Country Grammar featuring the Top 10 hit song “Ride wit Me.”
He has won several awards, including 9 Billboard Music Awards and 3 Grammy Awards.
In 2014, Nelly was ranked among the best-selling rap artists in US music history, putting St. Louis on the national and global map.
Lawrence Franks Jr. is another famous rapper born and raised in St. Louis.
He took inspiration from fellow St. Louis rappers Chingy and Nelly and is best remembered for his debut single, “Pop, Lock & Drop It.”
Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Huey was inspired to write rap lyrics about drugs and violence.
He was creating catchy beats at 15 before his brother introduced him to the celebrated producer Angela Richardson.
He adopted the Huey stage name and this point and went on to live up to the expectations.
Promoters and DJs loved him, and he became a big star when he released his second studio album, Redemption, in 2010.
Sadly, his career was cut short in 2020 when he was shot dead in the company of a male friend in their Kinloch home in Missouri.
Huey was only 32 at the time of his death.
5. City Spud
Lavell Webb, or City Spud, is best known as Nelly’s rapper brother who featured on the latter’s “Ride wit Me” hit single.
He was part of the famous St. Lunatics of the early 90s alongside Slo Down, Kyjuan, Ali, Nelly, and Murphy Lee.
He spent time in prison for robbery with violence, with his fellow St Lunatics members campaigning aggressively for his release.
Ultimately, he served eight years in prison instead of the initial 10-year sentence for the robbery offense.
He worked closely with his brother Nelly on the latter’s Country Grammar album and will be remembered as one of the best artists from St. Louis.
6. Big Boss Vette
Big Boss Vette is a St. Louis female rapper known for her confident rapping style.
She first came to the limelight in 2015 with her version of Dej Loaf’s hit song, “Try Me.”
But that was only the beginning, as the St. Louis native would publish her first hit, “Dog Ass Nigga” in 2019 to follow up the previous success.
He enjoyed commercial success with “Bad Bitch,” before her other hit, “Snatched,” went viral on TikTok.
Smino is best remembered for founding the Zero Fatigue musical collective alongside Monte Booker, Bari, Ravyn Lenae, and Jay2.
He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1991 and has shone with a blend of hip-hop, neo-soul, electro-funk, and R&B elements.
His first shot to fame was in 2012 with his debut mixtape, Smeezy Dot Com.
His background shaped his career, having grown up in a family of music lovers.
Every St. Louis rap music lover from the early 2000s probably remembers the “Tipsy” hit that pushed J-Kwon to nationwide fame.
Born in St. Louis, J-Kwon didn’t have the best childhood experiences, getting banished from home for alleged drug dealings.
The “Tipsy” hit marked the turning point in his career (and probably his life) after peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song earned global recognition, reaching the top 10 in the United Kingdom and Australia.
His other best singles include “Hood Hop” and “You & Me,” which helped maintain his success in the rap industry.
Marcus Tyrone Gray, commonly known as Flame, received several Dove, Grammy, and Stellar nominations for his massive contributions to the music industry.
The American rapper has sold more than 35,000 album units, becoming one of the best-selling St. Louis rappers.
10. Shorty da Prince
American radio DJ Shorty da Prince is another popular figure from St. Louis.
He moved to Detroit, Michigan, to pursue his radio career, where he worked for Hot 107.5 radio.
He diversified his career to focus on television and earned an opportunity at BET’s 106 & Park video show.
Shorty’s 2008 summer hit, “Wah Wah Wow,” became a fan favorite.
11. Murphy Lee
Murphy was one of the founding members of the St. Lunatics hip-hop group alongside fellow St. Louis rappers Nelly, Ali, Kyjuan, Slo Down, and City Spud.
Murphy is in the same regard as Nelly and is one of the greatest artists in the St. Louis rap scene from the early 90s.
His first studio album, Murphy’s Law, reached #8 on the Billboard 200 chart.
He’s featured in many songs, including Nelly’s “Batter Up,” “Air Force Ones,” and “Shake Ya Tailfeather.”
Howard Earl Bailey Jr., or Chingy, is an American rapper from St. Louis, Missouri, who started his career with Nelly in 2002.
He had his breakthrough when Ludacris signed him to his Disturbing Tha Peace (DTP) record label in the early 2000s.
Chingy’s debut single, “Right Thurr,” showcased his talent and skills to rap lovers, with many loving the catchy beats and simple lyrics.
There was no turning back for the St. Louis native from that point onwards, releasing more albums and singles to earn his place among the best rappers in the fast-paced American city.
13. Prince Ea
Prince Ea is a St. Louis native who attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
He’s a rapper, human rights activist, and spoken word artist with a massive following on social media.
Prince’s journey in the music industry began in 2008 after releasing The Adolescence mixtape.
He’s since become one of the most popular figures in the St. Louis rap scene.
14. Tef Poe
Tef Poe is a St. Louis rapper that has built a loyal fan base with his powerful imagery and honest lyrics in most of his songs.
He passionately narrates the story of the vibrant American city, spreading a positive message to his loyal fan base.
He challenges the locals to take charge of their affairs and has been involved in campaigns against racial injustice and other social issues affecting the people.
Travis Tremayne Tyler, popularly known as Thi’sl, is an American songwriter and record producer from Greenwood, Mississipi.
However, Tyler moved to St. Louis with his family at a young age and qualifies to be among the best rappers from Gateway City.
Thi’sl began rapping at 14 and recorded his first demo under the stage name Uncle Y.
The St. Louis artist rapped about gangsta life at the start of his career before switching to Christian rapping to spread positive vibes.
He’s been involved in many good things happening in Missouri, always speaking up against injustices while calling on everyone to heal the community.
16. Tiffany Foxx
Tiffany Foxx is a St. Louis-born rapper who takes a lot of inspiration from Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill.
Her major breakthrough came in 2005 after featuring on Snoop Dogg’s Welcome to tha Cuuch: Da Album compilation album.
She released the HERstory mixtape in 2010 as part of the June 5th hip hop group before Tiffany embarked on a solo career.
As a solo artist, the St. Louis female rapper has worked with the International Rock Stars Records record label, releasing 3 more mixtapes including Goal Diggers, King Foxx, and Yellow Tape.
17. Stevie Stone
Stephen Lewis Williams is from Columbia, Missouri, and founded the Ahdasee Records record label and released seven studio albums throughout his career.
He released his latest project, Raising The Bar, in April 2022.
Stevie was a Strange Music record label member for ten years before he formed his brand.
His mother, a choir director and singer who loved gospel, soul, and blues music, inspired him.
Stevie spent his teenage years playing basketball and practicing drums and piano to prepare for his journey in the music industry.
18. Ebony Eyez
Ebony Eyez became St. Louis’ first female rapper to emerge from the city on a major record label after debuting in 2005 with her 7 Day Cycle album.
She emerged after rapper J-Kwon had released his “Tipsy” hit single and was signed to Capital Records, where he started working with the TrackBoyz.
Ebony Eyez collaborated with J-Kwon for “Get XXX’d” for the 2005 XXX: State of the Union film.
She might have only enjoyed moderate success with her 7 Day Cycle, but Eyez is still considered one of the best female rappers from St. Louis.
Jibbs is an American rapper, born Jovan Campbell in 1990 in St. Louis, Missouri.
His career goes back to the mid-2000s, even though he started rapping at a tender age to earn his elder brother, DJ Beatz’s attention.
Jibbs released his first album, Jibbs feat. Jibbs in 2006 with Geffen Records.
His first single from the album, “Chain Hang Low,” was one of the most popular rap songs in 2006.
His best hits include “King Kong,” “Go Too Far,” and “Smile.”
20. Jackie Hill Perry
The last name on our list is an American poet and hip-hop star who found initial fame with spoken word pieces in the late 2000s.
The St. Louis native is best remembered with “My Life as a Stud,” “Jig-a-Boo,” and “A Poem About Weed.”
She released her first album in 2014 before marrying fellow spoken word artist Preston Perry the same year.
Jackie’s youthful stage was marred with promiscuity, porn and drug addiction, and gender confusion, and have appeared in most of her work.
Best St. Louis Rappers – Final Thoughts
There are countless things to love about St. Louis, from its blend of Southern and Midwest culture to the iconic Gateway Arch and its Blues music.
It’s even more interesting to find out that some of the biggest names in the rap industry, like Akon, started their career in the vibrant city.
The list of 20 best St. Louis rappers above suits any Missouri native or anyone looking for the best hip-hop stars from Gateway City.
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