The Domino Effect
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The Domino Effect

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Duo Hip Hop Alternative




"The 10 Best St. Louis Albums of 2016"



While much of the production on hip-hop duo the Domino Effect's eight-song Satellites leans toward silky retro jams, Cue and Steve N. Clair's verses are rooted in the here and now. Some of the tracks on the group's 2015 album, Unknown, were in direct response to Michael Brown's killing and the subsequent unrest in Ferguson, and those issues and others are also present on Satellites. "We talk about real things," says Cue. "We talk about things that are relatable; we always give you that subject matter."

The clearest message comes through the track "Chainge," which uses a ballad tempo and uncluttered, piano-led production to make its bones. "From our perspective, there ain't nothing new under the sun," explains Clair of the song, which traces a line from slavery through the present day. "We spelled it like 'chains' for a reason. It's kind of like a reaction toward all the police brutality and things like that." - Christian Schaeffer

"Meet 6 of STL's underground hip-hop stars"

Clair and Cue are childhood friends who began making music together back in middle school back in 2000, long before The Domino Effect.... - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"The Domino Effect's Unknown: Listen Now"

The Domino Effect, the slightly skewed hip-hop duo of Cue and Steve N. Clair, has been making music since 2008 and releasing albums since at least 2011. The pair most recently released TriAtomic, a collaboration EP with local Bo Dean, but Unknown puts the partners back in the middle of clacking beats, syrupy backing tracks and a few TED Talk-sounding spoken word samples.

It's a heady mix of soulful songs punctuated by the emcees' sharp-cornered verses, and the album's sense of political consciousness seems to bubble and boil over with each passing track.

We'll cop to having our interest piqued solely by the title of the album's opener, "Riverfront Times," but unless it's a super-oblique diss track to this publication, the name has little to do with the song's killer soul-jazz instrumental and spitfire verses. While much of the production favors laid-back grooves and symphonic soul, some of the album's best moments tweak the formula. The synth-y, metallic bursts and stoic piano chords play off of each other in "Cinderella Story," but the track features some of the duo's clearest-eyed statements of self-actualization. That song ends with snippets of newscasts that describe the scene from last summer's unrest in Ferguson, which collectively serve as a segue to "Ground Zero." Cue and Clair take a personal, street-level approach to the Ferguson situation and its continuing fallout, slowly morphing into both a condemnation and a rumination.

Coming in the middle of this twelve-song album, "Ground Zero" serves as the catalyst for the Domino Effect's more political material. The substance of "Problemz" is pretty surface-level -- the intro recites a list of modern worries, from disease to famine to police brutality -- but the track's popping rhythm and the overall message -- "stay woke" -- resonates. Oddly, it's the song with the most provocative title, "Black Genocide," that plays it coolest. With a spare and spacey backing track, the members of the Domino Effect discuss unjust systems and the fear of oblivion -- to "remain forever unknown." That's but one example of how Unknown smartly subverts its title; sometimes it serves as an underdog's boast, sometimes it defines the fear of eradication.

Stream the album's "Riverfront Times" track below: - Riverfront Times

"[LISTEN] The Domino Effect – Satellites EP"

This project was so good it would be a crime not to share it with you guys! Today we could all use some music therapy, and the Satellites EP is the perfect escape. Check it out and let me know what you think of this St.Louis duo below in the comments! - Larissa Price

"DELUX Top 10 St. Louis Rap Albums of 2015"

2015 saw a lot of national attention come to the city of St. Louis for the music coming out its artists. Not since the days of Nelly and the St. Lunatics, Chingy, and J-Kwon has there been so much to be excited about. While each artist in this top ten list would agree that they aren’t stopping with the level of success currently achieved, it will be an absolute joy in watching how far they will go. Here is my list in no certain order. - Delux Magazine

"The Domino Effect Re-Release Their Last Album, Unknown"

The Domino Effect re-release their last offering, Unknown, with a couple new songs. It still has some of your favorites like “Riverfront Times”, “Problemz” and “Push.” Check out the album below and support the duo with a purchase via Bandcamp. - Stereo Assault


I’m happy to see that I’ve been paying attention to St. Louis’ The Domino Effect for years and seen their growth lyrically. They were already an awesome duo, but NOW??? I can’t even explain how much of a problem they are! What I love the most about The Domino Effect is how they give you great music that makes you aware of what is going on in Black America. Whether they are aware of it or not, they are a factor in making African Americans among other races what we (Blacks) are going through. Not only that, but they make you aware of what is going on in the world period. Now this may sound like a CNN article…but picture a CNN for blacks with dope lyrics and a catchy beat. That’s The Domino Effect.

In their recent visual for “Problemz” they make you aware of what’s going on in St. Louis after the Michael Brown shooting and riots. Have you noticed a decrease in the media about St. Louis’ conditions? Yes. But if you’re living there like The Domino Effect (Cue and Steve N. Clair) , you don’t need media to remind you of how racism still exists.

In the video you see the damage that has happened in St. Louis. It’s heart breaking….it’ll make you angry…but the music…well uplift you and make you ready to dance.I played this song 5 times….so I know you’ll listen to it at least 20 or more. Their album ” Unknown” releases March 24th! Until then…Press play!! - WHEREKANIKAB.COM

"The Domino Effect Delivers Syrupy Smooth Hip-Hop with a Positive Message on Satellites"

The Domino Effect, the hip-hop duo comprising rappers Steve N. Clair and Cue, like to boast that they are "the most known of the unknowns." It's a subtle subversion of hip-hop bragging, and the seemingly contradictory phrase underlines the group's upward mobility as well as its unwillingness to sacrifice its art for commercial gain. The pair's 2015 release Unknown made its status plain in the title, but for the just-released Satellites, the Domino Effect retains its underdog pose while delivering eight strong, varied tracks that rely on throwback soul samples and word-on-the-street rhymes in equal measure.
"We've got two perspectives," says Clair of the group's known/unknown divide. "In the sense of underground hip-hop in St. Louis, we're trying to start it off on the lowest of the low on the totem pole. The people that follow the underground scene know us, but people who follow Hot 104.1 FM have no idea who Domino Effect are."

Cue, who handled much of the production on the eight-song set, emphasizes his and Clair's commitment to "always sticking true to ourselves, to that known Domino Effect DNA. It's about always keeping our same style, that same element of hip-hop that we bring into our city."

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That DNA stays largely true to Unknown, with tracks that can hit hard, including the assured "Reign Supreme," but are more often content to use jazz and syrupy soul music to lay a funky foundation. For Cue, the band's trademark is twofold: He describes the production as "kind of nostalgic and trippy." That vibe shows itself on the jazzy syncopations of "Protocol" and the smoothed-out jam "+Frequencies." As a producer, Cue most clearly tips his hand with a nearly unadulterated sample of the Stylistics' quiet storm classic "Betcha By Golly Wow" for "314-Life." Cue notes that the sample is a nod to the sounds of their youth.

"That's stuff we grew up on — putting the Stylistics on and bumping that when you're getting ready for a cookout or something," says Cue. "With Satellites in general, it feels like every song is taking you on a ride through the galaxy. I've always been intrigued by that type of sound."

Clair says that the varied sounds speak to the duo's wide influences and gives credit to his brother Klick Klac, who offers production on a few tracks here. "All three of us are musically inclined — you'd be surprised," says Clair. "We are definitely influenced by '70s soul, progressive rock and psychedelic music. Hip-hop might be the third on the list that I listen to."

If the production leans toward silky retro jams, Domino Effect's verses are rooted in the here and now. Some of the tracks on last year's album were in direct response to Michael Brown's killing and the subsequent unrest in Ferguson, and those issues and others are still present on Satellites.

"We talk about real things," says Cue. "We talk about things that are relatable; we always give you that subject matter."

The clearest message comes through the track "Chainge," which uses a ballad tempo and uncluttered, piano-led production to make its bones.

"From our perspective, there ain't nothing new under the sun," explains Clair of the song, which traces a line from slavery through the present day. "We spelled it like 'chains' for a reason. It's kind of like a reaction toward all the police brutality and things like that."

Even the more upbeat "314-Life" doesn't tiptoe around heavy subject matter. While the track is styled as a throwback jam and a celebration of city living, Cue, Clair and guest Indiana Rome mix childhood memories with harsh reality.

"There's been a lot of murders of people that we may not know, but are always one person away from someone we know," says Cue. "We tried to make a feel-good record while keeping perspective of everything that's been going on." According to Cue, Rome's verse came in at the eleventh hour but adds another layer to the song. "Everyone's got their own perspective on what it's like to grow up in STL," says Cue.

The recurring thread of real-talk is bracing in places on Satellites, but the album provides smart, humane commentary on St. Louis circa 2016 and shows Cue and Clair's appreciable skills, rhymes and heart. A layer of positivity is never too far from these songs' surface.

"That's one of the main reasons we're doing music: to lift someone's spirit and make them feel good," says Cue. "We may talk about more negative situations, but we always try to bring a positive mode and higher learning as opposed to just rapping about whatever on any track. We put our emphasis on teaching you something."

Stream the new album below: - Christian Schaeffer

"[WATCH] The Domino Effect – Protocol"

The Domino Effect is back with a brand new visual titled, Protocol. Check out the new visual right now and see why The Domino Effect is currently one of the leading faces of St. Louis Hip Hop. New EP “Satellites” out now. COLD. BLOODED. Song Produced by CUE.
Directed & Edited by:
TKND (Kiddo) x STEVE N. CLAIR (Flyy Awayy Films)
TKND – - Larissa Price

"[PREMIERE] The Domino Effect – Impala 16"

After taking TBP on the road to St. Louis, we found that there is no doubt that The Domino Effect was a major stand out in the up-and-coming city. The Hip-Hop duo just released band new visuals for their hit single ‘Impala 16’! Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below! - Larissa Price

"Watch St. Louis duo The Domino Effect’s new video ‘Impala 16’"

The Domino Effect – Impala 16 (Video)

St. Louis has been quiet in the mainstream rap game for a minute but that doesn’t mean you can forget them. The duo known as The Domino Effect recently dropped their latest video Impala 16, directed & edited by Steve N. Clair.

The visual serves as one of the singles from their album Satellites which came out back in November. Watch the video below and stream the album down bottom. - Big UU

"Q&A: Domino Effect calls S.L.U.M. Fest recognition a blessing"

The Domino Effect is up for a handful of awards at Saturday’s S.L.U.M. Fest Awards at Delmar Hall, including group of the year, album of the year for “Satellites” and video of the year for “Protocol.” The duo is made up of Cue ColdBlooded and Steve N. Clair. Both men rap; ColdBlooded produces the majority of their work, while Clair shoots the visuals. The group’s newest project is “Satellites,” which includes “Impala 16” and “Protocol.” “Satellites” is the follow-up to “Unknown” (2005), which was dedicated to racial injustices and the Michael Brown aftermath.

How do you describe the music of the Domino Effect?

Cue • It’s like floating on a cloud. It’s really melodic, easy on the ears. It’s a constant unifying energy that makes you feel good. It’s very beautiful but very gritty at the same time. There’s no middle ground. Steve • It’s more easy listening (than the last album). I can relax and enjoy these vibes. But we still incorporate the black struggle.

What’s “Satellites” all about?

Steve • It’s our shortest joint — our first EP. But we still make an EP sound like a complete body of work. I understand why people call it an album. It feels like an album. Cue • It’s some of our best work. It takes you on a ride.

How did the Domino Effect get together?

Cue • Me and Steve have been friends since the sixth grade. When we were 11 or 12, we would sneak rap. His dad would’ve gone and we would record on tape and freestyle. His brother would play beats over the keyboards. We were always into music, but we didn’t officially form until ’08, ’09.

Who are the group’s influences?

Steve • First and foremost is Outkast. Then I would have to follow it up with Little Brother and Clipse. We grew up listening to Little Brother. Cue • A Tribe Called Quest, Pharrell Williams, early Kanye West, Timbaland, J Dilla.

How did the group’s name come about?

Steve • We decided if we wanted to do this, we wanted a name that stuck out, something not typical in the hip-hop realm. You might see the name on a flier and think it’s a rock band, and you come and see us and it’s straight up hip-hop. That (messes) their heads up. That’s definitely what we were going for. Cue • Domino is a chain reaction. If you are creating an art, you should not be afraid to express that. Don’t shy away from creating that art. Do what you do.

What’s it like juggling your solo career with the Domino Effect? (Steve released a lauded album project last year, “The Introspections of Steve N. Clair.”)

Steve • It’s not really a challenge at all. Everything we do we do as a unit. (Cue ColdBlooded produced three songs on Clair’s solo project and mixed the project). Cue was here for the whole process.

What’s your feeling on the importance of a S.L.U.M. Fest Award?

Steve • It’s always a blessing to be recognized for anything you’re doing. But it’s not about the trophy. It’s about getting the recognition. We came from having two or three people paying attention. Now we have the whole S.L.U.M. Fest behind us. They provide a platform for us to be heard, no matter how many people hear it. - Kevin C. Johnson

"New Music: The Domino Effect (@TheDE_Music) x Bo Dean (@RealBoDean) x Benny Rodriguez (@jayjaybenny) x Enigma (@STLEnigma ) ‘Cold Winter II’"

St. Louis’ own Cold Blooded, Inc. (The Domino Effect, Benny Rodriguez, Bo Dean & Enigma) releases Cold Winter II. Produced by Cue (One half of The Domino Effect), Enigma starts the song off with a spoken word piece and then each rapper goes in bar for bar on the record. This track will be featured on the re-release of the album UNKNOWN by The Domino Effect in late January or early February. - Music Villain



Hailing out of the Midwest, specifically St. Louis, Missouri, The Domino Effect brings a refreshing vibe, aura, and sound to the city and hip-hop on a musical aspect. Influenced by artists such as Outkast, N*E*R*D, A Tribe Called Quest, Lupe Fiasco, Little Brother, Clipse, and more, it’s not too difficult to notice that their sound is truly unique and demands attention nonetheless. The Domino Effect isn’t for a chain reaction, it’s more in the sense that if you’re creating good art, then never be afraid to express it in any form that you choose to make it.

The alternative hip-hop duo (Cue & Steve N. Clair) officially formed in late 2008, but have a history going back to adolescence attending the same middle and high schools, but please refrain from labeling them just as rappers. Steve has a bachelors degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in Mass Communications Television/Film and has several visual works accredited to his name and Cue has bachelors degree from Fontbonne University in Sports Management (he also played baseball there for 4 years) and has several production works accredited to his name. These are not your ordinary MCs.

Residing in a city where the music scene is flooded with talent, yet doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, The Domino Effect adds to that attack of hidden talent embarking a style that stands out from the rest and won’t shy away from tackling subjects such as poverty, racism, politics, and the media. Their unique sound and fearless, yet inspiring lyricism puts them in their own category alone. Recent achievements by the duo include best group/duo & best producer (Cue ColdBlooded) for the 2016 SlumFest Awards, a nomination for best group by the Riverfront Times in 2015, Top 6 STL artists to watch (Steve N. Clair) by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (2016), and Delux Magazine’s 2015 top 10 albums of the year (The Introspections of Steve N. Clair). The Domino Effect also have shared the stage with National Recording Artists such as Talib Kweli, Freddie Gibbs, GLC, Dee-1, & J.R., & has since released 8 studio projects since their start in 2009. Stay tuned for what The Domino Effect has in store!

Band Members