Comedian Tru Wag wants St. Louis to be proud of its unique accent
The first few words out of a person’s mouth can give you an idea of where someone has come from and where they’ve been.
This is especially true for many St. Louisans.
The St. Louis accent has been a source of pride since homegrown musicians Nelly, Chingy and J-Kwon topped the Billboard charts in the early 2000s. Songs featuring the trademark emphasis on the "r" sound in words introduced the nation — and the world — to the sound of a city. That tradition continues with rappers like Smino, who proudly proclaims where he’s from in nearly every song he performs.
Comedian Tru Wag, born Brandon Wagner, is also proud of his accent and his city. He told St. Louis on the Air that he learned to appreciate the unique drawl while traveling abroad.
“I remember being on a cruise ship in the Bahamas. I believe it was someone from New York [that] heard me say, ‘sturr’ like to stare at someone. And they asked me, ‘What you say?’”
The native St. Louisan began making skits and “accent challenges” in 2021 highlighting and celebrating his accent on Tik Tok and Instagram, where he has amassed over 208,000 followers between the two social media platforms. Wag said the idea to do the accent challenges came to him easily. “I wanted to do something that not only would be funny or something [others] could relate to, but something that was me. …Something I could speak a lot about.”
Wag’s content has connected with St. Louisans from all corners of the region — and he’s getting recognized for it, though not just for his accent.
“A lot of people do come up to me whenever I step out, and I don't think I have a very distinctive face. I think I look like a lot of people in St. Louis,” he said and laughed. “It's surprising that they can pick me out and notice me. It's a blessing.”
For more about Tru Wag’s thoughts of accents around the region and an accent challenge game with host, Elaine Cha, listen to St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast or Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.