Missouri rappers and hip-hop groups


Missouri may not be the first state that comes to mind when one thinks of hip-hop music, but over the years it has produced several notable rappers and hip-hop groups who have made their mark on the genre. From the early beginnings of rap to the current state of the Missouri hip-hop scene, this article aims to explore the history and evolution of Missouri hip-hop, highlighting some of the most influential names in the game.

The history of Missouri hip-hop

Early beginnings and influences

The origins of hip-hop in Missouri can be traced back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when hip-hop music was gaining popularity in New York City. Missouri was one of the many states that were influenced by the birth of this new genre and quickly began to develop a local hip-hop scene. Though hip-hop music initially struggled to gain a foothold in Missouri, the genre gradually gained momentum and began to sprout from the ground up.

One of the earliest and most influential hip-hop groups in Missouri was the Force MC’s. They were formed in the early 1980s and were known for their energetic live performances and their unique blend of hip-hop, funk, and R&B. The Force MC’s helped to pave the way for other Missouri artists and played a significant role in the development of the local hip-hop scene.

The rise of Missouri rap in the 90s

The 90s saw the emergence of several successful and influential rap artists from Missouri. Often associated with the West Coast sound, Missouri’s hip-hop artists were known for their unique blend of gangsta rap, G-funk, and midwestern sensibilities. The likes of Tupac, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre were some of the biggest names in the industry back then and Missouri artists were quick to follow in their footsteps.

One of the most successful Missouri rap groups of the 90s was Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The group, which was formed in Cleveland, Ohio but had several members from Missouri, achieved massive commercial success with their unique blend of rapid-fire rapping, harmonies, and melodic hooks. Their breakthrough album, “E. 1999 Eternal,” went on to become one of the best-selling rap albums of all time and helped to put Missouri hip-hop on the map.

The impact of Nelly and the St. Lunatics

Although Missouri hip-hop was already gaining popularity in the 90s, it was not until the emergence of Nelly and the St. Lunatics in the early 2000s that the genre became a force to be reckoned with. Their commercial success and signature sound helped to put Missouri hip-hop on the map, and paved the way for other notable Missouri artists.

Nelly, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri, burst onto the scene in 2000 with his debut album, “Country Grammar.” The album was a massive commercial success, selling over 10 million copies worldwide, and helped to popularize the “St. Louis sound” which blended hip-hop, R&B, and pop. Nelly’s success paved the way for other St. Louis artists, such as Chingy and J-Kwon, to achieve mainstream success.

The St. Lunatics, a hip-hop group from St. Louis, were also instrumental in the rise of Missouri hip-hop. The group, which was formed in the mid-90s, achieved commercial success in the early 2000s with their debut album, “Free City.” The album, which featured the hit single “Midwest Swing,” helped to popularize the midwestern sound and put Missouri hip-hop on the map.

In conclusion, Missouri hip-hop has a rich and diverse history that spans several decades. From the early beginnings of the local hip-hop scene in the 1980s, to the rise of Missouri rap in the 90s, to the commercial success of Nelly and the St. Lunatics in the early 2000s, Missouri hip-hop has left an indelible mark on the genre and continues to influence artists to this day.

Notable Missouri rappers and groups

Nelly and the St. Lunatics

Nelly is often regarded as one of the most successful and influential rappers to come out of Missouri. With an impressive discography spanning over two decades, Nelly and his group the St. Lunatics helped to popularize the midwest sound and put Missouri hip-hop on the map. Hits like “Ride Wit Me” and “Hot in Herre” remain staples of the genre to this day.

Tech N9ne and Strange Music

Tech N9ne is another well-known Missouri rapper who has amassed a loyal following over the years. His independent record label Strange Music has been releasing music since the late 90s, and has helped to cultivate a unique sound and style that is synonymous with Missouri hip-hop.

Stevie Stone

Stevie Stone is a rapper from Columbia, Missouri who has been turning heads in the industry over the past decade. His unique blend of midwestern grit and southern swagger has earned him a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim. He has released several albums and collaborated with a variety of artists over the years, cementing his status as one of Missouri’s most talented rappers.


Smino is a rapper and singer from St. Louis who has been making waves in the industry since the release of his debut album in 2017. His fusion of jazz, funk, and rap creates a sound that is both fresh and innovative, earning him comparisons to artists like Anderson .Paak and Frank Ocean.


J-Kwon is a rapper from St. Louis who gained fame in the early 2000s with his hit single “Tipsy”. Although he never quite replicated that initial success, he remains an important figure in Missouri hip-hop and has continued to release music and tour in the years since.

The Missouri hip-hop scene today

Popular venues and events

There are several venues and events in Missouri where hip-hop music is regularly performed and celebrated. The Pageant in St. Louis is one of the most popular venues, known for hosting hip-hop shows and concerts featuring some of the biggest names in the industry. Other notable venues include The Uptown Theater in Kansas City and The Blue Note in Columbia.

Local record labels and producers

There are also several local record labels and producers that have been instrumental in the development of Missouri hip-hop. In addition to Strange Music, notable labels and producers include Maxx Beats, whose beats have been used by several prominent Missouri rappers, and T Major, who has produced tracks for Nelly and many other Missouri artists.

The role of social media and streaming platforms

As with much of the music industry, social media and streaming platforms have had a significant impact on Missouri hip-hop. Platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify have allowed artists to reach a wider audience and gain recognition outside of their local scenes. Social media has also played a role in helping to build fan bases and promote new music.

The future of Missouri hip-hop

Up-and-coming artists to watch

Although Missouri hip-hop has already produced several successful and influential artists, there are many up-and-coming rappers and producers who are poised to take the industry by storm. Artists like Tef Poe, Swoope, and Mae C are just a few of the many talented musicians who are making waves in the Missouri hip-hop scene today.

The influence of Missouri rap on the national scene

Despite being a relatively small player in the hip-hop industry, Missouri’s contribution to the genre cannot be ignored. Many of the state’s most successful rappers and producers have helped to shape the sound and style of hip-hop, influencing artists across the nation and around the world.

The potential for growth and innovation in the genre

As with any genre, there is always the potential for growth and innovation in the Missouri hip-hop scene. With a vibrant community of artists and producers constantly pushing boundaries and exploring new sounds, there is no telling what the future may hold for the genre and the many talented musicians who call Missouri home.