Artist Spotlight: Tef Poe

Tef Poe may be local, but he’s ready to take on the world. After spending the past few years releasing a steady stream of mixtapes and sharing stages with Common, Big Boi, and Lupe Fiasco, he’s finally made his way to the pages of XXL and earned recurring appearances on BET’s 106th and Park. He even signed a deal with a major label distributor, which means his music is going to become available to fans everywhere pretty soon. But no matter how big he gets, you can always count on Tef Poe to stay true to his St. Louis roots and represent the city he calls home.


Specifically, he wants to use his talent to act as a voice for the St. Louis most people never see. Sometimes it’s through his acidic lyrics (“I’m out here walkin’/Beatin’ up the pavement/Ronald Reagan turned my neighborhood into a slave ship”), but other times his activism takes on a more traditional role. He serves as an official performer for Amnesty International and regularly contributes an editorial feature called “I’m Just a Rapper” to Riverfront Times.

But don’t confuse Tef Poe with other politically charged MCs who take themselves too seriously and tend to get a little preachy from time to time. He also has a killer sense of humor that makes him one of the city’s most likable musicians. Whether it’s quick-witted lyrics or the way he told XXL that one of his career goals is to sell more records than Creed.

Want more Tef Poe? Check out his War Machine 2 mixtape, which boasts guest appearances from Killer Mike and Royce da 5’9”, on DatPiff. Also, be sure to support this hometown hero when he takes the BMI Stage at 3:00 on Sunday, September 8. Forest Park won’t know what hit it.