By Ashley Kane:

The MidWest takeover of Hip Hop, more specifically St. Louis, Missouri: Part 1 of a 3 Part Interview.

It seemed to happen all at once, early 2000s three major acts put music in St. Louis on the map (JKwon and Trackboyz, Nelly and Basement Beatz and finally Chingy and Trackstarz).

The ride for some was short and others maintained some level of longevity. Since those three “legs ” as Tarboy refers to them, we’ve seen little out of St Louis on a superstar level. Of course, Nelly is a phenomenal entrepreneur with successful clothing lines, movies albums, TV shows and more.

What happened to our spotlight? Why didn’t St Louis’s music scene flourish like Atlanta’s? What’s next for the city, a buzzing independent scene? Let’s talk about the real stuff. The world according to Tarboy: You may know Mark “Tarboy” Williams as Grammy nominated producer for JKwon’s smash record “Tipsy” and Nelly’s hit record “Airforce 1’s”. When you meet him, it’s a face you’ll never forget.


As I sat down with Tarboy Williams we discussed the rise of hip hop in St. Louis, Missouri. I talked in length with Mark “Tarboy” Williams about his rise in the industry and his view on How the Midwest Was Won.

With all the money being filtered through St. Louis by several major record labels, there was great opportunity for Trackboyz. The producer duo had already sold millions of records before JKwon’s Tipsy. “Kwon wasn’t our first plaque we put on the wall” explains Tarboy. They had already done Nappy Roots and Nelly’s “Airforce 1’s”. Williams noted that JKwon was “by far the most talented youth I had ever come across”. As Williams has told me several times it was like a snowball effect, the lifestyle becomes irresistible. The money, the fame, the hit records; it all took off. But at what point did things start to spiral in the wrong direction? Did big egos cloud their vision or was it something smaller? What happened to the St. Louis music scene?

………….. To be continued


See what Tarboy is up to now! Follow him on Instagram @TarboyWilliams