Red Bull Presents Soap Box St. Louis: An Exclusive STL Mix

Music icon Oliver Sain and funk bands the Real Thing and the Playboys usher in the CD with St. Louis-themed funk tunes "St. Louis Breakdown," "Do the Funky Robot," and "Bumpin' Bus Stop."

 

Soap Box St. Louis, quite simply, has to be two hours of the funkiest, hippest music to ever come out of St. Louis, Mo. Spanning the years between 1974 and 2006, DJ Trackstar, Chilly C, and Wes Allmond's selections bring to light the diverse, bombastic sounds that have came from the Gateway City over the last three decades.

Music icon Oliver Sain and funk bands the Real Thing and the Playboys usher in the CD with St. Louis-themed funk tunes "St. Louis Breakdown," "Do the Funky Robot," and "Bumpin' Bus Stop," while Rome and Ant-C's "Get Loose" and Dangerous D and Charlie Chan's "He's My DJ" transitions the album from funk to late '80s-inspired hip-hop.

"Get Loose" foreshadows the Lou's "fun rap" persona, while "He's My DJ" is a throwback classic, the gold standard of deejay odes from California to New York City. The cutting, scratching, and mixing highlights Chan's innovative strategies (even back then) with the turntables and beautiful intros possibly the biggest hit out of the St. Louis hip-hop annals pre-"Country Grammar (Hot Sh**)": "Trick With a Good Rap" by Sylk Smoove and King Odie. The 1992 party starter eventually made Sylk Smoove the first rapper from the Lou to sign a major-label rap deal.

If lacing Chan's mix wasn't enough for Dangerous D, he morphs into D-Rebel on "On a Roll" (with G-Wiz) and sure as day the flow is wicked as the alter-ego D-Rebel represents. After Rebel's yell, none other the St. Lunatics' groundbreaking, underground hit, "Gimme Whatcha' Got" bleeds through the speakers, sparking the reminiscence feel of the first half of the disc. Up next, Jai and Katt Davis-Bits and Pieces at their finest-with "Cloud IX" cleverly display the depth of the STL hip-hop scene, while the Midwest Avengers' frantic, hard-hitting, metal infused "Bounce" entreatingly bangs, proving its mantle for reaching number one on alternative rock station 105.7 the Point back in 2005.

An archetypal St. Louis album without the rhyme-spewing presence of F5 Records would be inept, so label reps the Altered St8s of Consciousness' "Headbangers Ball" and Jai Davis' "Cadillac Music" sandwiches, quite admirably, underground stable "This Is Soul Tyde" by Soul Tyde and "Two Step" by ST member Black Spade. The four song sequence is as vintage St. Louis hip-hop as it gets, paving the way for the Ruckus Crew's R&B inspired, free-flowing "Free."

The new-age aggression of 87 Billion Dollar Click, A-Bex, and Rockwell Knuckles shine on "Street Medley No. 7" as the emcees lyrically bang over a Tech Productions instrumental. Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R.'s "Always" secures its place in St. Louis hip-hop history after landing on the disc and freestyle wunderkind and Select Records recording artist Nite Owl's "Walk With Me" (produced by Chilly C) sets the tone for the next wave of classic St. Louis music. The former single charted on the Billboard Charts in early 2006, while the soul-infused latter is the first single from Nitro's new album, The Radical Source, due out in 2007. B+ | Toriano L. Porter

RIYL: Nelly, Oliver Sain, Bits and Pieces, Midwest Avengers, Nite Owl, Soul Tyde

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