EST Gee Puts A Spotlight On Louisville With New Record Label and Mixtape

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Santa Anna/Sony Music

Who could’ve imagined a decade or two ago that Louisville, KY would be a hub for fire hip-hop and R&B? As Louisville native EST Marti puts it, “We didn’t really have a music scene growing up. It was just what you seen on TV and shit. That’s all we ever had.” Luckily, things change. Nowadays with the likes of Bryson Tiller, Jack Harlow, Vory and EST Gee garnering mainstream success, it’s difficult to overlook this part of the country’s impact on genres outside of country music. Aware of all of the talent in his hometown,  platinum rapper EST Gee is making it his business to put the spotlight on who in Louisville is up next.

For those unaware of what EST represents, it’s simple: Everybody Shines Together, a fitting title for Geeski and his crew. To put on for his city in an impactful way, EST Gee partnered with legendary record executive Todd Moscowitz’s music startup Santa Anna to create the Young Shiners label.

The record label’s OG roster is a squad of emerging Gee-cosigned rappers fresh out of Louisville. The current Young Shiners lineup consists of EST Marti, EST SkiMike, EST Lu Mike, EST Lil Zoski and EST DonWon. 

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Santa Anna/Sony Music

“It’s giving hope to people that’s from our city that never broke into the music industry, never thought about it,” says EST Gee. He also points out how the camaraderie among the Young Shiners crew can provide some motivation.

“They see that they can do it- they can work together and don’t have to go against each other to get to the top,” says Gee.

The EST crew’s first project, the recently released Shiners Are Forever is a 12-song compilation offering a glimpse at what Louisville’s rap scene has to offer. Showcasing everything from their skills to their swagger, the EST members show out all throughout the project that features appearances from Lil Baby and Lil Jairmy. Shiners Are Forever’s first single, “Disrespect” features a solo performance from EST SkiMike. 

The crew love among the EST team runs deep. Several members go way back. “We been knowing each other since we was kids,” confirms Gee, Marti and SkiMike. The gang first connected as kids playing football and after all that time are still locked in as a unit. “We were like 8 or 9 [years-old], won the championship and been winning ever since,” the “5500 Degrees” rapper continues.

Shiners Are Forever is the second project of 2023 from EST Gee. Back in March, he dropped off MAD, a 14-track tape featuring collaborations with Boosie Badazz and Young Scooter. He’s also appeared on recent albums from Kodak Black, Rylo Rodriguez, J. Cole’s Dreamville, Lil Baby and Future.

Who other than EST Gee could properly introduce the world to what the streets of Louisville, KY sound and feel like? Not only has the Louisville slugger been letting us know he’s one of the realest out. He’s also been a shining example of turning tragedy into triumph and providing a platform for others to shine. With his new Young Shiners record label and rap collective, EST Gee is trying to create something for the next generation and his city. 

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