Best Local Act Gone National

Black Spade

In 2008 Black Spade released To Serve With Love, an eclectic, futuristic fusion of hip-hop, soul and R&B. The disc put him on the national map. He signed to the chic San Francisco label Om Records (home to underground hip-hop icons People Under the Stairs) and received a glowing review from the tastemaking hipsters at Pitchfork Media. He played to a packed house at the CMJ Music Marathon in Brooklyn and performed at the music-industry showcase South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. But while Spade has made a name for himself outside of the 314, he's by no means left it. He hosted a handful of hip-hop extravaganzas at the Gramophone earlier this year and managed to singlehandedly save the hip-hop program at RFT's Music Showcase by arranging a last-minute change of venue. Perhaps most telling, however, is the banner on his MySpace page, which proudly proclaims his hometown: "Saint Fucking Louis."

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