Hip Hop America: Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Minnesota

I was feeling a bit inspired from my post on Chicago’s Hip Hop scene, so I’m going to do my best and explore different cities in the states that don’t get a lot of shine. Hip Hop is everywhere, but the majority of the focus is in the big cities, so why not show love to the smaller ones? It’s only fair.

I had no idea there was a hip hop culture in Minnesota until I went out there for Soundset in 2012. The Midwest is often forgotten, as I’ve explained in recent posts. But, the thing is, when you think of the Midwest, it’s only Chicago & Detroit that come to people’s minds – not Minneapolis and St. Paul’s, Minnesota. They have a culture – it’s not flashy, it’s not something that will you’ll see on TV at all times because they’re not that type of style that will appeal to everyone. It’s the same for a lot of cities that aren’t named New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Houston or Atlanta.

I did some scouting and there are artists that have come to quietly take their positions in the market. I picked up a couple of albums at Soundset and I don’t know why, but I only recently listened to them. The first album came from Mally & The Sundance Kid, called The Last Great. Mally can spit and the production that blends a House music vibe to the Hip Hop drums and bass is one to appreciate. Every region, you can tell the difference in their sound and even the way they rap, but Mally is impressive. Definitely check that album out.

Listen Here

Another album that I picked up and was listening to was a compilation album of a whole bunch of Midwest artists (I wasn’t sure if they were all from Minnesota, but I’m positive they were all from the Midwest). Funny because the name of the album is called Collaboration’s The Key, and it features a bunch of rappers with all different sounds. One thing that I’ve noticed is that they’re all pretty much conscience rappers. I know that’s not the ideal label that most artists would want put on them, but they don’t have those ‘party’ tracks or even ones that you can vibe out too. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. What I noticed also is that on this album in particular (and a couple of other examples), they like to rap off beat a lot, and it irritates the hell out of me. It’s funny because a lot of people say that it’s all about what’s being said and not how it’s being said. I get that, but come on..you have a beat there for a reason, at least stay on point. There’s a bunch of examples like that on this album, so it’s definitely one that I skimmed through.

Besides that, there are other artists from Minnesota that are better known like: Brother Ali, Atmosphere, P.O.S, and I Self Divine. They all have their reputations and Brother Ali is basically at the forefront of the Minnesota Hip Hop movement. The subject content is what a lot of people would live for, because Hip Hop was made to express the feelings of social and political issues. It’s very common in the lyrics by the natives of Minnesota, so if that’s what you like to hear, you’d definitely rock with their music. Explore beyond your own surroundings – you never know what you’ll find.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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