Once again in 2018, the RFT recognizes St. Louis' unparalleled musical talent by presenting the STL 77, our list of 77 acts who did big things in the last twelve months. From now through June 16, the kick-off date of our huge two-day music festival ShowcaseSTL, we'll be announcing two honorees per weekday on our music blog. For last year's STL 77 picks, go here; for the complete lineup for ShowcaseSTL, go here.
Najii Person never hesitates to say exactly what's on his mind, and that honesty provides a fascinating insight into the mind of one of St. Louis's best up-and-coming lyricists. While many rap artists prefer to curate a specific type of track, or lean on a single producer to help craft a trademark sound, Najii uses everything from old-school boom-bap beats and piano samples (which you can hear on "God Knows") to cutting-edge post-trap (best exemplified on "Not Around") to frame his thoughts. The sonic diversity of Najii's work might make another rapper come across as unfocused or — even worse — like a musical tourist. But thanks to an obvious love of a wide range of hip-hop along with the honesty of his lyrics and his humble, rapper-next-door delivery, Najii's output simply reads as glimpses into the mind of a complex, multifaceted and thoughtful human being.
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Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Smino, early Lupe Fiasco