McDonnell, who is also an English major at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an insurance adjuster in Creve Coeur, gets as much grief for posting MySpace bulletins promoting pro-life rallies as for being a white rapper. But still, he pushes forward with the Christian rhymes he was born to spit.
Waxing theological today outside of Coffee Cartel in the Central West End, he wears a nose ring, a gray skullcap and a red DC Shoes T-shirt, which can't fully hide the crucifixion-scene tattoo that covers most of his chest. ("This is only half of it," he says. "There's also going to be an angel collecting the blood in a goblet.")
Brazil or "the economic power of the future...always," as Yo!'s political-science professor used to call it is near and dear to McDonnell's heart. He's spent about a year there on a few different trips, doing missionary work and touring with his "national" crew, Shadow of the Locust, which is largely based in San Diego. (His "local" crew, Dead Republic, consists of people such as Emcee Noiz, Alleyes Manifest, Dropjaw and Mattiburns.)
While in São Paulo last year, he recorded a song with Pregador Luo, who McDonnell calls the Jay-Z of Brazilian hip-hop. You can find the song, "Na Missao," on Wut's album, Last of the Metaphysical Poets, which was released in April and is for sale at Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-721-4096). Check Wut out on MySpace at www.myspace.com/wutmetaphysical.
Send 'em in! It's only October, but Yo!'s already preparing for year-end "best" lists, especially where it comes to local hip-hop. So drop your CDs off at our office in the Tivoli building on the Loop, or else mail them to "Yo! RFT Raps," c/o the Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. No mixtapes, please!