Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lipset & Lokes: 'Level Heads' Interview with Midwest Broadcast (Video)

As you should probably know, Midwest Broadcast is co-sponsoring the upcoming Level Heads LP from local rapper Lipset and producer Lokes. Just last week I was able to do an interview with the two artists, and if you haven't read it yet you should definitely check it out here. However, Lipset and Lokes saved one question to answer on camera in this video, so here you have it.

In related news, Lipset and Lokes will be throwing an album release party on November 5 at Hell's Kitchen. I'll be providing more specific details regarding that event as it draws nearer, but keep it on your radar.

Big Quarters: "Octo" + Concert at Triple Rock 11/27

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lupe Fiasco: "The Show Goes On"

After what seems like years of struggling to get his much anticipated third LP, Lasers, an official release, Lupe Fiasco is finally getting closer to that goal. Lasers will be out on March 8, 2011, and today he went on Ustream to release the first single to the album, "The Show Goes On". The Modest Mouse sampling song has a bubbly, poppy feel to it, not unexpected for a first single. Hopefully Lupe gets some radio play and love from the general public on this one, to help reinforce his label's confidence in him. The man is one of the best rappers out and should be in the position to release music without having to fight his way through all the politricks first.

Lupe's own website is not releasing the track for download, so I'm going to support the man and follow suit. Hit the link below to visit his site, where you can stream the song or purchase it.

Paper Tiger: "Street Disco Funk Jams" 20 Minute Mix

Paper Tiger took the liberty of creating his own genre of music when putting together his latest 20 Minute Mix. I really have no problems with that.

Paper Tiger: "Street Disco Funk Jams" 20 Minute Mix

Add-2: Tale of Two's City, Vol. 4: Better Days (Mixtape)

Here is the fourth installment of Add-2's mixtape series, presented by 2DopeBoyz and Okayplayer. The Chicago emcee always puts together nice mixtapes, and while 21 tracks is arguably a little watered down for my tastes, I'm sure there's some quality material on the project. Definitely worth a listen. Check out the download link below.

Longshot: "Follow UR Heart" + "Gucci Flow"

Here are two new tracks from Longshot to be featured on his upcoming mixtape Future of the Chi. That mixtape will be available on November 1.

Longshot: "Follow UR Heart"
Longshot: "Gucci Flow"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kanye West: Runaway (Short Film)

If you don't have 34 minutes of free time to watch this, you really ought to clear your schedule.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Midwest Broadcast Interview with Lipset and Lokes

Midwest Broadcast is proud to be co-sponsoring an upcoming album by two artists from Minneapolis, Lipset and Lokes. Their Level Heads LP will be officially released on November 2, and its yet another impressive project to be released from the crop of new Twin Cities talent. But Lipset and Lokes' album truly is something special. The combination of Lipset's thoughtful and intricate lyricism with Lokes' diverse and lush production made for one hell of a debut album. Midwest Broadcast was recently able to interview the two artists, and give them a chance to speak on their musical background, creative inspiration, and more. It's a slightly length interview, but well worth your time. Give it a read, and be sure to purchase the album at your local record store when it's released early next month.

MWB: You two are both relatively new to the TC hip-hop scene. Tell me a little about your background, personally and musically, and, if relevant, how they're interrelated.

Lokes: I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California and made my way out to the Twin Cities in the winter of ‘07. Although I’ve only spent a few years in the TC I’ve made it my home away from home and fell in love with its poetry/hip-hop scene because it has a raw element that many cities don’t have anymore. I come from a culture that’s rich with music. I was raised in a Samoan church and sang in the choir. When our choir director was not around, I used to hop on the drums and piano and before I knew it I could play them. That’s pretty much the same with the guitar, trumpet, and singing, music is just something I love to learn to do.

Lipset: Growing up, my parents always played a wide range of music, from Little Richard to the Grateful Dead, Roy Orbison to Ray Charles, so I was exposed to a diverse body of music early on, which helps me not confine myself to one type of music. One of my brother's friends put me on to the saxophone when I was a kid and I think that's where I get my ill cadence from. After the saxophone, my Mom put me behind the piano (but I'm not that fluent) and then my orchestra teacher put me behind the drums, where I further sharpened my rhythm. I was born between Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the heart of the Twin Cities, but I grew up on the Saint Paul side and now reside in South Minneapolis, so I'm truly a product of the Twin Cities. It wasn't until I heard Muad'Dib "pull insectivorous out of [his] cornflakes" on Small Steps that I began seeing hip-hop as something that I could get into as well. It was lyricism like his and story telling like Brother Ali's, coupled with the stealth braggadocio of heavyweights like Nas, Black Thought, Guru, Pharaohe Monche and the like that truly lured me into working towards lyrical perfection.

MWB: How did you two link up?

Lipset: We actually met through a mutual friend, a teammate of Logan's on the U of M football team, same guy who was my roommate. He and I made music, then he, Logan and I made music, then Logan and I made music and since then, we haven't really stopped making music together.

MWB: Your debut collaborative project is the upcoming Level Heads LP, could you explain a bit about that album for a moment?

Lokes: This album is something we were just driven to do. It’s a personal achievement for both of us and is a goal that we were able to accomplish. Having it done and getting to this step where we're promoting it and doing interviews and stuff for it is dope. Neither of us ever thought something like this would actually happen, but it was something we wanted to make happen and the time, effort and hard work we put into getting it done would really not be done justice if we didn't keep working hard to see it through to the end.

The best way to understand this album is just by listening to it from track one to fifteen, just make sure to keep an ear out for those hidden treasures scattered through the album.

Lipset: The Level Heads concept I think speaks for itself. It refers to an individual or group of individuals who pursues their passion and refuses to let anything or anyone stand in the way of them accomplishing that goal and living their dreams. Outside of the album, it's our family of people who we keep around to make sure we all stay focused, grounded and prepared for whatever comes our way. We know that in doing so, positivity will yield positive outcomes.

MWB: Where do you find your creative inspiration, both lyrically and musically? Are there any artists, stories, experiences that drive your creative process.

Lokes: Lip will tell you, I LOVE SOUNDS. I feel that every sound whether its electronic, acoustic, rhythmic, or soul filled, has potential to give birth to something hot. Just put me in a room full of objects and I’ll find inspiration to make a thumper.

Lipset: I don't think there are any artists that inspire my content, but there are definitely artists that inspire my creativity. I think creative inspiration ultimately comes from within, though, so the more important sources of inspiration are the ones that fuel your content. For me, those people are my family and friends as well as the people that I sit down on a bench in the park and write about for an hour as they walk by.

MWB: What is the dynamic between Lipset and Lokes when you're making songs? Is there any pattern or formula for how you two go about things together?

Lipset: There's no real formula or process in terms of how things go down but there are always a select few things that will happen. Lokes basically will make a beat, and then he'll title the beat, that title will communicate a loose emotion or feeling to me. Lokes will usually also have a rough idea about the topic or cadence for the flow, we'll discuss and grow those ideas, then we'll go smoke the LeLe bowl (which is Samoan for 'herb') and then we'll come back and he'll finish the beat while I write the song.

MWB: What's it like being developing hip-hop artists in a Twin Cities scene that has so much history and an established core group of performers already? Does the presence of these veteran artists/labels that have been relevant for the past decade make it any easier or harder to find your own footing in the local scene?

Lokes: Unfortunately good music doesn’t sell any more and that’s sad to me because there are a lot of good artists in the TC that no one knows about. I was raised in the west coast where the hip-hop culture is very different than the likes of Minnesota. I look up to artists such as Murs who is from the west coast like me and who appreciates the mid west hip-hop seen and gives them the recognition they deserve. I think that when artists/labels listen to the album they’ll hear an MC who has a unique story to tell and a producer who can lace down tracks with real music not just processed samples and beats.

Lipset: First off, it's great coming up in the Twin Cities. In terms of support and availability, you couldn't ask for a better scene. In addition, there are role models for success, which is something that helps someone realize that the impossible really can be accomplished regardless of whether or not it's MC'ing, teaching, whatever. Role models are always helpful. In that sense, the presence of veterans has made it easier in one way, but it also means that there are elders there to check who is paying their dues and who is truly respectable throughout the underground. With regard to other artist's affect on establishing your own footing I don't think it's something any artist should worry about because if you are unique, if your style stands out, heads will turn. There's always room for true music.

While I do love the Twin Cities, I am working towards a world stage where we can reach all walks of life. We’ve crafted a sound that I hope will touch people in many places, so to label us as local artists I think is a bit premature.

MWB: Anything coming up soon that we should be looking out for besides the album?

Lokes: I've just invested in some new toys (the yamaha XS, new electric guitars and bass, and new music software) so I'm in the kitchen cooking up beats to soon feed the streets… thumpers for your bumpers.

Lipset: Yessir, and I'm helping the Duenday kids finish up their new album which should be dropping that next week after ours. Our album's coming November 2nd, release party November 5th at Hell's Kitchen with Mally, Mike Dreams, Duenday, Alissa Paris, DJ Gabe Garcia, Epitome No Question and Lokes and I. Then we've got an interview at KMOJ on Halloween night! It's going to be nuts make sure to tune in between 10 and midnight. Between now and the release party you can catch me out at the venues, probably trying to talk to you.

MWB: Anything else you'd like to mention?

Lipset: Buy the album, spread the word, maybe we can put quality music back on top.

Kanye West: "Don't Look Down ft. Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def & Big Sean"

Please don't let GOOD Fridays end once Kanye comes out with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (which is also now available for preorder on iTunes). Here's another killer treat from the Chicago artist. Enjoy your weekend!

Kanye West: "Don't Look Down ft. Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def & Big Sean"

Rembering Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen

Rhymesayers officially made a statement on the passing of Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen this morning. The website is full of beautiful quotes from the many people whose lives were affected and impacted by Larsen. Along with that, a few different events are being held to celebrate and memorialize the individual who was not just an immensely talented and influential artist, but clearly a dear friend to many. I will repost that information below, once again, via Rhymesayers.

On Saturday, October 16, 2010, we lost our beloved friend, family member and artist Micheal “eyedea” Larsen at the age of 28. Eyedea, who was most notably known for his music with Eyedea & Abilities, Oliver Hart, Face Candy and Carbon Carousel, was an artist in its truest form. He will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. In the days to come, we feel the focus should be on Micheal’s life, music and legacy. Let’s celebrate his life, remember his music and never forget what he has given us all.

We miss you. We love you. And, you will not be forgotten.

Micheal “eyedea” Larsen 11.09.81 – 10.16.10 R.I.P.

All donations can be directed to Micheal’s Mom, Kathy Averill:

Public Wake:
Micheal “eyedea” Larsen Memorial
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Public: 7:30 – 10:00PM
Location: Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront, Minnesota Grand Ballroom
Address: 11 East Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55101

Sending Flowers: If you are interested in sending flowers for the memorial, all deliveries must be made to arrive on Thursday, October 28, 2010. Please make deliveries to arrive prior to 12:00PM CST.

Send to: Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront, Minnesota Grand Ballroom, c/o Micheal Larsen Memorial, 11 East Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55101.

A Celebration of the life of Micheal “eyedea” Larsen
Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Location: First Avenue Mainroom, 701 1st Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Doors: 5:00PM
Ages: All Ages
Donation: $20

Tickets will be on sale: Monday, October 25, 2010 at 5:00PM CST

Tickets will be available at Fifth Element, 2411 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405. For those of you that are not in the Twin Cities area; a limited amount of tickets will be available online at

There is no guest list. All donations will go to the family of Micheal “eyedea” Larsen.

RSE Radio Tribute:
Join us this Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 9:00PM – 11:00PM CST on RSE Radio to remember our dear friend and brother Micheal "eyedea" Larsen. We'll be playing music and sharing memories with some of Mikey's peers. We would love to hear from all of you that loved and supported Mikey's art over the years as well. If you would like to share a special memory or experience you had please leave them at:, or and we will be randomly selecting your comments to read on the air throughout the night.

You can tune into RSE Radio at 90.3FM in Minneapolis, 106.7FM in St. Paul or online at , or

Possible Last Recording of Eyedea (Video)

Eyedea and Joe Horton (aka Eric Blair of No Bird Sing) performed at McNally Smith on October 8, 2010 for Soundcrawl. Minnesota Public Radio suggests that this could be the last live recording of the tragically deceased artist. RIP.

The Tribe & Big Cats!: "Shotgun Willie Flow"

The Tribe and Big Cats! have been laboriously plugging away in the studio on their upcoming full-length Forward Thinkers Movers Shakers. That's why we haven't heard much from them since their tremendously enjoyable Let's Be Professional mixtape. But as we all know, they're friendly fellows, and decided it's time to put out something for free to appease their rabid fan base. So, they hit the studio and made a song in two hours with only live instruments, disregarding the siren and airhorn, because, you know, you gotta have that airhorn. Enjoy.

The Tribe & Big Cats!: "Shotgun Willie Flow"

As for Forward Thinkers Movers Shakers, The Tribe & Big Cats! recruited a very impressive guest list for the album. Artists making cameos on the album include: Toki Wright, Abstract Rude, Planet Asia, Phil Da Agony, Brandon Allday, Mally, and more. Hot damn! The release date is January 25, 2011.

M.anifest: "Coming To America" (Music Video)

"Coming To America" is the first single M.anifest is releasing from his upcoming sophomore LP Coming To America: Immigrant Chronicles, due out in the Spring of 2011. Wale Deen Abgoola directed this video and Budo handled production for the song.

Other M.anifest news: In five days M.anifest will be returning to his home country Ghana to work on the documentary We Rock Long Distance. Also, he's got a newly updated website, so check it out.

Medium Zach: 'Catch A Case Mondays' Live Beat Set (Video)

Catch A Case Mondays happens every Monday at Honey on East Hennippen and NE 2nd St. This month's special guest will be Medium Zach of Big Quarters.

Recap of Last of the Record Buyers September 2010 (Video)

Elzhi: "Undefeated Freestyle) (Video)

Produced by Madlib. Thanks for Nah Right.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rest In Peace Eyedea

The report that Micheal Larsen, better known to most of us as local rapper Eyedea, passed away yesterday was shocking and tragic, to say the least. I first discovered the news through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where fans and friends of Eyedea gathered to grieve and pay homage to the deceased artist. I refrained from providing any personal commentary, partly because I couldn't find the right words to say without allowing some time for the terrible event to sink in. However, one thing is particularly clear: hip-hop and the local music scene lost an immensely talented artist.

I speak of Eyedea only in terms of his professional career, because that was the only outlet through which I knew him. I was initially introduced to Eyedea from a friend who lent me E&A. I became an immediate fan, Eyedea was nimble on the mic, cleverly and effortlessly rapping intricate rhymes that would prove beyond the capacity of even the most talented emcees. Below, I'll post one of my two favorite YouTube videos of Eyedea. The first is of a younger Eyedea and Slug on the Wake Up Show, where they take part in a mind-boggling freestyle session. Eyedea's first two minutes of rapping are truly something that needs to be heard to be believed. Few emcees have such pure skill. Amazing stuff.

My other favorite YouTube video featuring Eyedea is the music video for my favorite Eyedea & Abilities song, "Smile", off of their latest LP By The Throat. I thoroughly enjoyed the progression of Eyedea's artistry apparent on By The Throat. Eyedea successfully transitioned from a suave and polished battle rapper to being self-aware and socially conscious, able to assess complex societal issues with level-headed commentary. And he did this all without compromising his flair for breathtaking and innovative lyricism. In my opinion, he never did it better than on "Smile", a beautiful rap song and amazing video.

Eyedea will be missed. May he rest in peace.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mally: "Heir Time" (Prod. The Sundance Kid)

Mally follows up last month's terrific track "Lights Off" with another song produced by The Sundance Kid. They'll be releasing one song on the 15th of every month until their collaborative EP comes out in the Spring of 2011. This should tide you over until November 15.

Concert Announcement: 'The Music Marathon' featuring Jordan Looney

Midwest Broadcast is helping to sponsor this little shindig going down at the Nomad World Pub on Saturday October 23. Performances by Jordan Looney, Conflict of Interest, The Thank You Notes, and more. Here is a link to the Facebook event page, check it out!

Mike Dreams: Just Waking Up (Free Album)

Just last night Mike Dreams unleashed his second official studio LP, Just Waking Up. And here's the kicker: it's free! The man is always grinding it out in Minneapolis and has established himself as a leader among the crop of up and coming underground rappers in the city. He gives away more than his fair share of free music, so do your part and support the man by hitting the download link below. Just Waking Up is presented by and Flud Watches.

Muja Messiah: "Dear God ft. P.O.S."

Here's a freebie from Muja Messiah's latest mixtape M-16s, available at Fifth Element. He really thrives within the loose confines of mixtapes, given free reign to rap about whatever the hell he wants and have fun doing it. This track was a highlight, especially with P.O.S. spazzing on the guest verse.

Add-2: "The Menace's Theme, Pt. 2"

Here's some new music from Chicago's Add-2, who will be releasing a new mixtape, Tale of Two's City, Vol. 4: Better Days, on October 22.

Add-2: "The Menace's Theme, Pt. 2"

Monday, October 11, 2010

M.anifest and Justin Schell Discuss We Rock Long Distance (Video)

I first wrote about Justin Schell's hip-hop documentary We Rock Long Distance on Friday last week. Here is a video featuring the filmmaker himself and M.anifest, discussing the project. As I stressed before, please visit the We Rock Long Distance website to learn more about the project, and visit their Kickstarter fundraising website to donate money for the filmmaking process.

Lazerbeak's Legend Recorgnize Legend Release Party (MPLS.TV)

This week's City of Music feature on MPLS.TV is direct footage of Lazerbeak's Legend Recognize Legend album release party at The Fineline. Featuring his new Legendz ensemble. Props to MPLS.TV and Gimme Noise.

Child Rebel Soldier: "Don't Stop!"

Seriously, I leave for Madison, WI for one weekend without my computer and a new Child Rebel Soldier song comes out? Their first track since "Us Placers" in 2007, in fact. I should spend more time away from the Internet if these types of things are going to happen.

Eminem: 60 Minutes Interview (Video)

Eminem gave a fairly in-depth interview on this past weekend's 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper. Not a ton of particularly rare or surprising information, but fairly interesting regardless.

Toussaint Morrison: "Window" (Video)

Friday, October 8, 2010

"We Rock Long Distance" (Hip-hop Documentary) + M.anifest "Golly Gosh (Remix)"

Twin Cities documentarian Justin Schell is working on a film/dissertation titled "We Rock Long Distance". The title comes from a Fela Kuti quote, and is a reference to the globalized influence of hip-hop, highlighted particularly through the three artists featured in this documentary. Schell will follow three Minneapolis musicians: M.anifest, Maria Isa, and Tou SaiK Lee. He'll be heading to Ghana, Puerto Rico, and Thailand respectively with those artists.

The above trailer is part of a Kickstarter fundraising scheme to help finance the trips. This video is a preview for M.anifest's portion of the documentary, where he visits his Grandfather, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, in Ghana while on a 10-city tour.

As you surely know already, traveling around the world with fancy camera equipment is no small undertaking. Luckily, you can help out Schell with this project by visiting his Kickstarter campaign website and pledging a monetary contribution. He has approximately $1000 of the goal of $8000 dollars raised thus far, and has one week remaining to gather those donations. So please, visit the website and do your part to help out with this ambitious project.

As a bonus, below is a download link to a remix of M.anifest's "Golly Gosh", produced by DJ Juls.

Mike Dreams: "Wave To 'Em" (Prod. Beatnick & K-Salaam)

This is a great look for Twin Cities up and comer Mike Dreams, who's been primed to catch a big break for a while now. He got the extremely popular production duo Beatnick and K-Salaam, originally from the Twin Cities, to produce a track for his upcoming release, Just Waking Up. The project will be out next week on October 14 via

Mike Dreams: "Wave To 'Em" (Prod. Beatnick & K-Salaam)

Illuminous 3: "L ft. Mike Mictlan" (Prod. The Sundance Kid) + Interview

Here's the newest track in the monthly Illuminous Free series. The trio from Minneapolis hooks up with The Sundance Kid, who's got an exciting project in the works with Mally. They also grabbed Doomtree rhymer Mike Mictlan for the track. Great stuff from the crew.

Prof at Varsity Theatre Nov. 19 (Video)

This video actually had me in stitches. Hilarious.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pull A Randy Moss (Video)

Randy's back. Straight cash homie. Next time I might shake my dick at 'em.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kanye West: "Power" + "Runaway" (SNL Performances)

Kanye dropped in on SNL last weekend in a remarkable TV performance. For a show whose musical guests usually perform in very barebones sets, Kanye really envisioned quite a ambitious performance, and delivered on it. Excellent stuff. "Power" is up above, while the "Runaway" with an assist from Pusha T is down below.

Danny Brown: "Greatest Rapper Ever" (Music Video)

Here are some visuals to accompany the opener off Danny Brown's album The Hybrid. Props Nah Right.