Born and raised in the Pine Lawn neighborhood of Saint Louis, Missouri, Kareem Jackson has been honing his weaponry in the war for music supremacy. Through his unwavering integrity, genuine rhymes and expansive delivery, Kareem – better known as Tef Poe – is proving to the musical world that he is the commander-in-chief.

Tef Poe encompasses and continues to perfect the artistry and performance skills necessary to go the distance in today’s ever-changing musical climate. His growth and expansion has been expedited through many skirmishes. Originally building a reputation as one of St. Louis’ elite battle rappers earning him medals of honor such as Lyricist of the Year from the Evening Whirl… Tef has since risen through the ranks and positioned himself as a seasoned veteran. His solo projects “Glory To God,” “The Redeemer,” Money Never Sleeps”, & latest release “War Machine” have been well received by the public, critics, and media outlets alike.

Tef has commanded large crowds opening for Chicago’s Lupe Fiasco in addition to being featured in the SXSW Smoking Section Showcase. His hits “Show Stealers,” “Crazy,” and “Out The Kitchen” have successfully cut through the propaganda and reached the masses via radio play in multiple markets. In addition, Poe has been featured on major hip hop sites such as thisis50.com, globalgrind.com, thesmokingsection.net, riverfronttimes.com, rockthedub.com and several more.

Tef Poe continues to lead his own plan of attack working with local artists as well as performing throughout the country. He will win the battle and the war. For him, there is no other option aside from complete and total victory. That mindset propels him beyond commander-in-chief… to the War Machine.

Black Spade

At his core, Black Spade is a producer who makes music because he loves to. His sounds are grounded in the past while still sounding futuristic, and most importantly come from the heart. Spade says, "To get my music out there to people… at the end of the day that's what really counts."

Family Affair

Steddy P is not your average rapper, and he'll be the first to admit these are not average times, so he writes an array of songs depicting his life as best he can, simply honest. Steddy P has also become involved in video editing and graphic design, so now his platform for expression is much bigger than it's ever been entering a new decade and the most important time, now.

A native to Kansas City, MO, Steddy has an enormous passion for the music he creates. His experiences in this harsh music climate date back to 2004 during his stint in college, assembling Steddy English mixtapes with resources from Streetside Records and Kinkos. Hailing from Kansas City, Steddy was forced to research the art form that caught his attention so much.

With no major labels or legitimate endorsers, Steddy P along with Andy Price and Eddy English started IndyGround Entertainment, a label striving to create an aesthetic separate from popular culture, focusing regionally on the Middle of Map, USA. At first, the label placed emphasis on the Interstate 70 highway stretch from Lawrence to St. Louis and everything in-between; but now thanks to a grassroots approach and five years of hard work, IndyGround continues to expand nationally. Along with business partner Adam Hoffsette (Magic8 Designs), Steddy runs the IndyGround Headquarters out of downtown Kansas City, MO.

Sharing stages with some of the best live hip hop acts in the business has definitely made critics pay attention to Steddy P. Frequently performing as opening support for these acts in the Midwest region, he leaves the usual conventions of stereotypical rappers by the wayside, earning stripes month by month for over the last two years along side DJ Mahf relentlessly touring the Midwest region.

Steddy P has recently opened for Tech N9ne, Talib Kweli, Brother Ali, Murs, P.O.S, Cool Kids, Flobots, Blueprint, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Blackalicious, Qwel of Typical Cats, and the list goes on...

All too often when people think of Little Rock, Arkansas, the first thing that comes to mind is HBO’s award-winning documentary Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock. Not any more. With the Rock on his back and a Razorbacks’ fitted cocked just so on his dome, rapper SL Jones is out to prove that Little Rock gangsters can bang in more ways than one.

Born Bryan Jones, SL first turned heads when a verse cut at OutKast’s Stankonia Studios caught the ear of Killer Mike, with the pair eventually touring together and collaborating on mixtapes I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind and Underground Atlanta. Following came the release of SL’s debut mixtape, C.O.L.O.R.S.: Bangin’ On Wax, a project that featured the likes of Clipse, Chamillionaire, Trae Tha Truth, and Big Kuntry, in addition to fellow Grind Time members Killer Mike and Pill.

It wasn’t long after, though, that SL knew he had to strike out on his own, and beginning in 2011 he did just that, starting with the release of The Number 23. Hosted by Don Cannon, features on the mixtape included Pill, Trae Tha Truth, Waka Flocka Flame, and Yo Gotti, while Lex Luger, Don Cannon, Shawty Redd, M16, and more handle production. Closing out 2011, SL Jones released his Flight Risk mixtape, Jones’ most personal, most aggressive work-to-date, a project through-and-through influenced by SL’s childhood neighborhood, 23rd & Wolfe Street, with production from Lex Luger, Shawty Redd, and more.

The two mixtapes garnered strong reviews from XXL Magazine and Atlanta’s leading alternative weekly, Creative Loafing, and earned the young gunner well-deserved accolades from FADER, Complex, The Source, HipHopDX, The Smoking Section, Nah Right, RCRD LBL, Dirty Glove Bastard, and more, including a sit down with MTV News’ Mixtape Daily and a nationally televised “On Deck” feature with MTV2’s Sucker Free.

Now, as one of hip-hop’s brightest young talents, the Little Rock rhyme slinger has his eyes firmly on the future, with a new album, Paraphernalia, produced entirely by lauded Atlanta producer DJ Burn One, on the way as he continues to show and prove his way through the industry and into fans’ playlists. "I just want people to listen,” says SL Jones, “and they'll respect it for what it is.--quality music."

GEE WATTS

With a steadily growing, organic fan base, not to mention cosigns from Kendrick Lamar and Nipsey Hussle,the 20 year old's raw and straightforward style glistens from front to back. It's hard to argue with his claim to his town. At 20 years old and only two years rapping and producing, he's released one of the best mixtapes to come from Kansas City. With visions of repping the whole of Kansas City in a way that no on else has, Gee Watts grew up on Kansas City's North Side. He benefited from a strong family, but still fell into the rougher side of life that his neighborhood is known for. Still, Watts was always recognized for his intellect. In the gifted program during his school days, he wrote poems prolifically. At 18, while taking a break from a basketball scholarship to be there for the birth of his child, his friends encouraged him to take rap seriously. He put the street life away and focused himself on his art. During the following 2 years, Watts released an unbelievable amount of material – 7 mixtapes, in 6 months, called The 12th Tapes as well as his EP, Dopamine. In all of his 9 projects the audience can feel the struggle to do right by his family and his art with the constant allure of the street life that brought him up. From his first rap to this most recent mixtape, Watts has maintained an honesty that is relatable to any listener.

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The Gramophone

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P.O.E. Fest with Rockwell Knuckles, Black Spade, Family Affair, Steddy P, SL Jones, GEE WATTS, KO3

Friday, November 1 · Doors 9:00 PM / Show 10:00 PM at The Gramophone