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Anyone who’s been paying even partial attention to the music coming out of Chicago for the last half-decade or so has invariably come across a native of St. Louis. Yes, there is a healthy Lou presence that invariable became a part of the Renaissance. Led by Zero Fatigue point-man Smino, the contingent has added a soulful bounce to the music here. With the rise of Smi, it was inevitable that we’d start seeing his close collaborators dropping as well and this week we got the full-length from Bari, MSTRGLSS.

For anyone who’s been staying up with local music as even a pasing habit, Bari’s name should be relatively familiar. One of the more prolific featured acts to pop up alongside a steady stream of talented hometown artists, he built a reputation even before releasing the expectation-raising EP, The Prefix last year. That appetizer has manifested into a full meal on MSTRGLSS. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most fun part of covering music in a city for an extended period of time is watching artists, producers and the like grow, evolve and create work that represents them appropriately. On MSTRGLSS Bari proves he’s much more than an also-ran, maintaining a certain signature St. Louis bounce throughout that makes the 13-track project feel distinctly shorter.

They’ve had something beautiful happening over at Classick Studios for years. The emergence of Smino, Ravyn Lenae, Monte Booker and now Bari among others is a testament to the creative environment the collective has established with the likes of Elton Chueng who has consistently had his hands on some of the most fun and forward-thinking hip-hop the city has seen. We’re still digging into this one fully, but expect plenty more on Bari in the coming months and, as always, check out Mild Sauce Radio to catch the singles playing regularly.

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