It seems strange, but there hasn’t been a single serious (read multidimensional) lyricist to emerge from St. Louis. Sure, there have been a handful of rappers that have repped for the city. But it’s not like the St. Lunatics or J-Kwon are about to set the world on fire with their lyrical wizardry. Hoping to add some much needed depth to what he feels is a mostly superficial scene, Huey is here to save the Lou.

“I feel like there’s a whole sound from St. Louis that people ain’t really heard yet,” says the 19-year-old Jive signee. “I mean [Nelly and Chingy] are good at what they do, but I feel they’re more of a commercial-type thing. There’s no real life in that shit.”

Huey, for that matter, has been keenly focused on introducing his poignantly danceable poems to the masses. After years of paying his dues and hawking rhymes in his hood, Huey was introduced to nascent entrepreneur turned manager Angela Richardson in 2002. She turned out to be the link Huey needed to connect with the prominent local DJs that made his regional heater “Pop, Lock & Drop It” a breakout hit. “[Angela] was sending out packages and all of that,” remembers Huey. “Everybody got to callin’ us and flyin’ us out places. That’s when everything happened.”

Early this year, Huey will release his full-length debut, The Notebook Paper, which fuses energetic club joints (“Closet Full”) with heartfelt gems, like “Mama Where U At.” “I’m versatile, man,” says the upstart MC. “I got the hoodness, the consciousness, the struggle, the girls in the clubs shaking they booties—the full spectrum, man.”

This wide-ranging mix, along with Huey’s devotion to the craft, is what makes him so enticing. “I ain’t just say, ‘Okay, I wanna rap because the industry seem like they making money,’” he says. “I might go commercial with my singles, but at the same time, I have some stuff on my album that the streets and the world can actually relate to.” He might blow up, but he won’t go pop.

------ Read the rest of this month's Show & Prove picks in XXL’s March 2007 issue (#89)

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