You may have seen this excellent vid floating around the Interwebz in the past two weeks. "So St. Louis" is the work of one Corle 2 Da, a Belleville rapper looking to make his mark on this side of the river.
"A lot of people call it the new St. Louis anthem," says Corle's manager Ron Boles, with Red River Entertainment. "We really are happy with it. We're gonna put the video in Vintage Vinyl where people can buy it."
The 30-year-old started rapping with friends at age 12. Though he was born in Alton and currently resides in Belleville, Corle considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool, Provel-eating, Cards cheering, Rams-lamenting St. Louisian.
"The whole area around here thrives off of St. Louis," Corle says. "I'm in the city every day, my grandparents were from here, I've been a Cardinals fan since I was a kid, I live fifteen minutes from St. Louis, I'm just representing the area and the city that I'm from. It's a whole Midwest thing."
While "So St. Louis" is an original track, Corle is hardly a pioneer in St. Louis rap anthems. He pays homage to his River City rap forebears -- he cribs a famous Murphy Lee line from the song "Atlanta," a collab with Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg ("I'm so St. Louis, just ask my tattooist") and his video looks a whole lot like Murph's "STL Niggas." In fact, both videos prominently feature many of the same locations, although we give Corle props for posing under the Riverfront Times sign in his video. (Murph gives more love to White Castle than his adoring fans at the RFT.)
"When I was writing the song, I wanted to take a well-known line that Murphy Lee had put out in one of his songs a couple years back and bring it back to life and kind of build my own song around it," Corle says, adding that he'd jump at the chance to do a remix with Murphy Lee.
The plot thickens, though: There's also a three-year-old video also titled "So St. Louis" by Taz that bears a striking similarity to Corle's, though it looks hopelessly amateur in comparison.
"Yeah, I've seen that," Corle says. "I'm not familiar with Taz, but he's doing his thing, he's got a lot of hits on that video. Personally, I don't know the guy. Maybe he has a big following, I'm not sure, I really don't know anything about that. I didn't base anything, my song or my video off of what he had done. I didn't even know he had that out there when I wrote my song."
Corle said he wrote the song "this time last year," which is also around the time that Murph's "STL Niggas" song came out, though the official video didn't hit YouTube until March 2, 2010. "I hope he doesn't take offense to it, I actually shout out to him three times in the song sayin' 'Whats up Murph?'" said Corle.
All controversy aside, Corle's song will get in your head, and he's already fielding requests for the So St. Louis t-shirts seen in the video, made by Corle's friends at Hollow Wear.
"I've got a couple major labels looking at him," Boles says. "We didn't even expect this, 7,000 hits in less than 2 weeks."
Corle's working on an album -- he says it will be out in December or January -- and plans to shoot another video in October for a new single called "Digital."
"I'm a believer in hard work," Corle says. "You get out what you put into it, gotta stay loyal to the people that help you out along the way, I believe in hard work I don't expect much and hopefully everythings a blessing on top of that."
Compare and contrast:
"So St. Louis" by Corle 2 Da Locales: A rooftop pool, Iron Age, Blueberry Hill, Imo's Lines We Like: "I'm still a Rams fan and they sorry as shit." "If county brown come and get me, then my homies got my bail." "103 The Beat rest in Peace."
"So St. Louis" by Taz Note: This video was posted in 2006 but looks a helluva lot older than that. Highlights: Rollin' Chevys on Nat. Bridge, namechecking Chingy and are those Red Hot Riplets we spy at 1:55? And oh yeah, the clip art. Tagline: He so St. Louis, she so St. Louis, I'm so St. Louis.
"STL Niggas" by Murphy Lee feat. Holla Murph, why are you so hungry?: "I'm a Imo's eatin' nigga, a White Castle nigga," "Half a order fried rice, St. Paul ni**a," Hometown Eats: Murph gets it all in, from Bread Co. to Best Steakhouse. "STL Niggas" is the only video in the bunch that gives respect to Ted Drewes.