Black Spade

With influences from Prince and J Dilla to Radiohead and fusion-era Miles Davis, St. Louis MC/producer/vocalist Black Spade clearly is not the pop-rap of fellow Gateway City natives Nelly and the St. Lunatics. His musical palette -- warm and trippy synths, gritty hip-hop beats, and falsetto-infused, downtempo neo-soul -- is more in tune with the left-field soul/funk scenes of underground Detroit and L.A. Born and bred in St. Louis, MO, Black Spade (real name Veto Lamar Money) developed into a skilled artist performing as part of local indie rap/soul collective Soul Tyde, which originally formed in 1998. Their first, and only, album, Hip-Hop & Soulful...Ish, sold just a few hundred copies upon its release in 2003 before the crew broke up not long afterwards. Out on his own to establish himself as a solo artist, Spade was discovered by an A&R from the downtempo/deep house-focused label Om Records at a performance in the California Bay Area in 2004. By 2007, the multi-threat soulster was signed to Om and issued the digital four-song EP, Loves Right Here, later that year. His debut full-length with the label, To Serve With Love, appeared shortly thereafter in 2008. ~ Cyril Cordor

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