Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heiruspecs: "Eye For An Eye"

In support of the upcoming third annual Heiruspecs Scholarship fundraiser show, the band released a great new single from their upcoming album. From today until the day of the show, April 7, all purchases of "Eye For An Eye" will go directly to the scholarship fund. You know what to do — follow this link to buy the song.

Greg Grease: "The One" (Mike Frey Remix)

Greg Grease hit me with some excellent news last night. He's currently putting the finishing touches on his upcoming album Cornbread, Pearl, and G. Until it's time for that to be released, we'll be blessed with some songs, videos and his River Life dry goods. Things are getting started off with Mike Frey's remix of "The One," from Greg's excellent free album from last year, The Giving Tree. Frey's breezy production dramatically switches up the feel from the futuristic boom-bap sounds of the original version, without sacrificing any quality; both versions are essential listening.

At the time of writing this post, Greg's Soundcloud stream is still set to private, so you'll just have to download the remix below. I'll add the stream later.
Update: You can now stream the remix as well as download it.

Greg Grease: "The One" (Mike Frey Remix)

Tony Phantom: The Love EP

A few weeks ago, Tony Phantom of Wide Eyes dropped The Love EP. I'm admittedly a little behind the ball, but wanted to share this six-song project. The whole thing clocks in under 20 minutes, but is definitely well worth a listen, especially considering the price of zero dollars that he's charging for it. This is also the first of many projects that Tony Phantom is currently working on. Stream The Love EP below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MaLLy & the Sundance Kid: "Shine"

"Shine" is the lead single from MaLLy's debut album with the Sundance Kid, The Last Great..., due on May 15. If I remember correctly MaLLy opened his set at First Ave during the Welcome to MN tour with this song, and it had the place rocking. It's got the perfect vibe for a lead single: a catchy hook, a banging beat from Sundance, and plenty of room for MaLLy to flex his considerable lyrical skills. The Last Great... seems to be dropping at just the right time; I've got a feeling it'll be a soundtrack for the summer. Stream or download "Shine" below, and check out the information for the album release party on Friday, May 18.

MaLLy & the Sundance Kid: "Shine"

MaLLy with DJ Last Word
The Last Great... Album Release Party
Friday, May 18
7th Street Entry
with The Tribe & Big Cats, 925ve and DJ Jimmy 2 Times
Facebook RSVP

Blueprint: "Go Hard Or Go Home" (Behind the Video)

Blueprint's "Go Hard Or Go Home" was one of the highlights of his 2011 album Adventures In Counter-Culture (buy via Fifth Element, iTunes). The video for that song will come out on April 5, the one year anniversary of the album's release. The video above details Blueprint's lifestyle after entering sobriety, how he got into videography, and the inspiration for the upcoming music video.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A-Trak: “Piss Test ft. Juicy J & Danny Brown"

Fool's Gold will soon be putting out a new compilation album titled Loosies. The trippy "Piss Test" is a single from that release that was produced by Fool's Gold owner A-Trak and features an on-fire Danny Brown and Three 6 Mafia rapper Juicy J. Stream it below.

Slum Village: The Dirty Slums (Mixtape)

Elzhi's break with Detroit OG group Slum Village was well documented, but the group has continued pushing on with T3 and newer member Illa J. They just put out a new mixtape with Mick Boogie, The Dirty Slums, and it has an impressive list of collaborators: De La Soul, Rapper Big Pooh, Phonte, Black Milk, Big Sean, and others. Download it below, and hit the jump for the entire tracklist.

Slum Village: The Dirty Slums (Mixtape)

Toki Wright: "Ode to Maximillian Cohen (π)" (Music Video)

Here's the new video from Toki Wright  for his song "Ode to Maximillian Cohen (π)," a dedication to the paranoid mathmatician protagonist in Darren Aronofsky's 1998 film Pi (π). The song, to be featured on Toki's upcoming Faders mixtape (out 3/31), was produced by Bobby Raps and the video was shot by Adam Dunn.

I'd also like to wish the homie Toki a very happy birthday.

Toki Wright - Faders mixtape release party
The Fine Line Music Cafe
Saturday, March 31
8pm // $10 Advance (at Fifth Element, Electric Fetus) // $12 door
Facebook RSVP

Emazin: "Come On" (Music Video) + "No Breaks ft. Freeway" (Prod. Nicademus)

Here is the new video for Minneapolis emcee Emazin. He also has a new song with Freeway over an absolute banger produced by Nicademus, which you can stream after the jump.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Psalm One: "Open Relationship ft. R.A. the Rugged Man" (Music Video)

Here is a new song a video from Psalm One, featuring New York rapper R.A. the Rugged Man.

I Self Devine: "Up Aboves" (Live)

This is video from I Self Devine's Upliftment Struggle release party that went down at the Entry last month. This whole series of Culture Series releases and performances have been special events, but what often gets lost in the mix is that this is all leading to the release of The Sound Of Low Class Amerika in May. In fact, the album release party has just been announced, and it will all go down on Friday, May 4 at the Entry. Mark you calenders.

I Self Devine
The Sound Of Low Class Amerika album release party
7th Street Entry
May 4
featuring I-Rule, MaLLY, Audio Perm, and DJs Jimmy 2 Times and Just 9
Facebook RSVP // Tickets

Doomtree: "Bangarang" (Live)

Doomtree recently conducted an interview with the AOL-associated music site Spinner. They also taped a four-song set, featuring performances of "Bangarang," "Bolt Cutter," "Little Mercy," and "Team the Best Team." "Bangarang" is above, and you can continue below to watch videos of the other three songs, or view them all here.

Trey Lane: "Streets Is Watching ft. D.K. & V The Noble One"

Here is a new song from South Dakota rapper Trey Lane. "Streets Is Watching" is one his latest album Here Goes Nothing, available on iTunes right now.

Trey Lane: "Streets Is Watching ft. D.K. & V The Noble One"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Record Store Day 2012 at Fifth Element

Fifth Element just announced what will be going down at their store on Record Store Day 2012, taking place nationwide on Saturday, April 21at your favorite local record shop. Check out the lineup of performers below, and hit the jump for information on the limited release Rhymesayers picture disc, as well as all other special sales happening that day.

STORE HOURS: 9am-7pm

  • Lazerbeak featuring Plain Ole Bill - Lava Bangers performance
  • MaLLy
  • Auddio Draggons (Mr Gene Poole + Xilam Balam)
  • Get Cryphy (Plain Ole Bill, Jimmy2Times, DJ Fundo, and Last Word), performing with the added challenge of spinning only vinyl that is available in store at Fifth Element

Doomtree: No Kings Tour Recap (SXSW 2012)

In the latest No Kings tour video, you can check out how well South By Southwest 2012 went for the Doomtree crew. In related news, things went well. So well, in fact, that the crew got this nice article written about them by Rolling Stone.

Recently, Dessa also announced a headlining gig at St. Kate's University. It should be one of his biggest solo shows yet.

Dessa at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University
featuring Jeremy Messersmith, Cecil Otter, Aby Wolf, Crescent Moon, Black Blondie, and Robert Robinson
Doors 7pm // Show 7:30pm
$12 students // $17 general public

Third Annual Heiruspecs Scholarship Fundraiser Concert

For the third year in a row Heiruspecs are helping to sponsor a scholarship with their alma mater, St. Paul Central Senior High, to help send worthy high school graduates to college to pursue a degree in fine arts. So far the band has raised $6,000 to distribute to worthy applicants. In the past two years, the band has hosted a scholarship fundraiser concert at Central. This year, they're moving the show to a live venue, but still keeping it in the neighborhood. On Saturday, April 7, Heiruspecs will perform back-to-back shows at the Turf Club. The first show will be all ages, the second 21+. View all info about both shows below. If you can't make the shows, click on this link to donate to the scholarship fund.

Third Annual Heiruspecs Scholarship Fundraiser Show
Saturday April 7, 2012
Featuring All Ages and Twenty-One Plus Performances at the Turf Club
Heiruspecs headlining both shows with special guests

featuring: Audio Perm, Bomba De Luz, STOP! tha Black Sheep, Metasota
Doors at 5pm // Facebook RSVP // Tickets

21+ SHOW
featuring: Audio Perm, The Deaf, The Thank You Notes
Doors at 9pm // Facebook RSVP // Tickets

Bassnectar: "Vava Voom ft. Lupe Fiasco"

Rolling Stone just debuted the lead single to California DJ/producer Bassnectar's upcoming album. "Vava Voom" features Chicago emcee and Soundset 2012 performer Lupe Fiasco, who has been reaching over to dubstep for much of his production since his latest mixtape. I heard rumors that since Lasers sold so well, Lupe has finally generated some goodwill with Atlantic Records and earned more artistic freedom for his next album. It will be interesting to see whether he continues this foray into electronic music, or ventures back towards the style of his widely-loved debut Food & Liquor. What would you prefer to see him do?

Listen to the Bassnectar and Lupe Fiasco song "Vava Voom" via Rolling Stone

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Danny Brown: "Grown Up"

"Grown Up" is the new song from Detroit rapper and Soundset 2012 performer Danny Brown, sponsored by Scion/AV. It's about as straightforward of a rap song as you're likely to get from the often zany Brown. The song is oddly cute and uplifting, with Brown rapping about overcoming his tough origins to get where he is today. A 7" of this song will be available if you catch Brown on tour; he'll play in Minneapolis next week. Download the song below by submitting your email address to the widget. Then hit the jump to view an interview that Danny Brown conducted at SXSW with the always entertaining Nardwuar.

Childish Gambino with Danny Brown
Epic, Minneapolis
March 29
18+ // 7:30pm doors // 8:30pm show
$25 General admission

Watch the New Explore Minnesota Video Featuring Vocals From Dessa

Explore Minnesota's latest campaign video features Dessa, along with tons of other local artists -- Haley Bonar, Gabriel Douglas (4onthefloor), Chris Koza (Rogue Valley), Lucy Michelle, Chris Pavlich, and Caroline Smith. It's nice to see the tourism commision, or whoever is in charge of this series, recognizing the vast body of local talent that Minnesota is home to. The video pays homage to Bob Dylan's iconic video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Those of you who haven't seen the Dylan version may ironically be more familiar with MaLLy's "Heir Time" video.

Thanks to Andrea at Local Current for the tip.

T.Q.D.: "Infancy ft. Status Reign & Phingaz" (Music Video)

T.Q.D. just released the latest video from his recent album, Taketh Away. The song features Status Reign and Phingaz, and the video was directed by Jake Handegard.

Quadir Lateef: "I AM Trayvon Martin"

North Minneapolis rapper recorded a song in reaction to the tragic killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Lateef is also urging people to sign this petition to prosecute George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin. Hopefully this terrible event will also shed light on the ridiculous Hold Your Ground self-defense gun laws in Florida.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Prof: King Gampo Tour Recap (Video)

Check out what antics Prof has been up to during his recent King Gampo tour. The tour sold out eight of fourteen shows, congrats to Prof, Fundo, and the Stophouse team.

Yakub: "Monkey Food ft. Mike Mictlan" (Music Video)

The video to this new song by Yakub and Mike Mictlan, and produced by DJ Three A Day, was recently premiered at the Be Scene promoted local hip-hop video showcase. It also definitely supports my theory about local rap videos and their prominent use of cameos from other local artists.

Longshot: "Real Thing ft. Psalm One" (Music Video)

Here is the official music video for Longshot's "Real Thing," produced by Jake One and sponsored by Rhymesayers. Video directed by Psalm One.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

K.Raydio: "The Way It Goes" (Prod. Big Cats!)

Here is a new track from local singer K.Raydio. The reflective song has a coming-of-age theme and was produced by Big Cats!. Stream it below or purchase it for $1 from K.Raydio's Bandcamp.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Watch Doomtree Perform in a Shreveport, LA Parking Lot

Someone at the lightly attended yet extremely special Doomtree show in Shreveport, Louisiana (which I alluded to earlier) generously decided to record a ton of footage. We'll start above with the crew literally taking it from the venue to the parking lot for "Bangarang." You can watch "Team the Best Team" and "Get Down" below, and you can find more footage at this YouTube account.

Meech: "Life Story" (Music Video)

Meech is a young rapper from Minneapolis. He gained notoriety early in his career and signed a deal with Sony, but has since been released from the label. Meech used those experiences as part of his maturation process, and is now rebuilding from the ground up. This music video for "Life Story" features him rapping over the Rocafella era Beanie Sigel song "Feel it in the Air."

Guante & Big Cats!: "To Young Leaders" (Live at Occupy MN)

The new Guante & Big Cats! album You Better Weaponize is due Fall 2012 and no singles have been officially released yet, but Guante is sharing a video of him performing one song from the album, "To Young Leaders." Guante describes the song as one of his straight-forward rap songs and also the album's mission statement. It's a general yet powerful rallying cry for anyone who believes in anything and is ready to take action. Read the lyrics here. The beat is also a certified Big Cats! banger, continuing the trend of stellar production he's been responsible for lately.

PREVIOUSLY - Guante & Big Cats!: "Winter is Coming"

Doomtree: No Kings Tour Recap (Iowa City, IA - Schreveport, LA)

Here is the latest No Kings tour recap video from Doomtree, documenting shows in Iowa City, Ames, Madison, Saint Louis, Tulsa, and an outdoor microphone-free show to about 40 fans in Shreveport. There aren't a whole lot of rappers that would take the show outside and still bust their ass like it was sold out. That group in Shreveport got treated to something very special.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Than Lights: "Get You High"

Here's some new music from More Than Lights. "Get You High" is the first single from their upcoming album, Twenty Dozen, which should be on in the fall of year twenty dozen. Download the song below.

More than lights are opening for De La Soul at the Cabooze on Friday, April 27.

More Than Lights: "Get You High"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Danny Brown: "Radio Song" (Music Video)

Here is the music video for "Radio Song" from one of my favorite albums of 2011, Danny Brown's XXX. The deluxe version of that album is now available on iTunes. Danny Brown will be performing at Epic in downtown Minneapolis on March 29, opening for Childish Gambino.

Childish Gambino with Danny Brown
Epic, Minneapolis
18+ // 7:30pm doors // 8:30pm show
$25 General admission

Download Heiruspecs' Album Small Steps Free for Today Only

Heiruspecs' local classic Small Steps came out ten years ago today. To celebrate that milestone, the band are offering the album to their fans for free for today only. If you're one of the naive individuals who doesn't own Small Steps yet, you can make amends for your inexcusable oversight right now. Follow the link below to download the album through their Bandcamp site.

Heiruspecs: Small Steps

P.O.S. and Mike Mictlan: "Get Down" (Live in Madison, WI)

To the best of my knowledge, P.O.S. has been performing the unreleased song "Get Down" for about a year now. The first time I saw it was in April of 2011 at the University of Minnesota's Spring Jam. P.O.S. performed practically the whole concert standing on a chair in the crowd, and everyone went nuts to "Get Down." Lately, the song seems to be one of the nightly hits on the No Kings tour. The above video is P.O.S. and Mictlan performing "Get Down" to an absolutely packed student union at the University of Wisconisin - Madison.

Mike Dreams: "The Lights, The Life"

Here is the third single to Mike Dreams' third independent studio album, Millennial. If you missed the first two songs, check out "In the Sky" and "We the Ones."

Mike Dreams: "The Lights, The Life"

Metasota: "Solo Cypher" (Music Video)

The last few weeks have seen a flood of smoker's anthems be released from local artists. First came Anchormen's "Smoke Too Much," next was Akrite's "Burnin' and Learnin'," and finally I.B.E.'s "AlwaysOnIt" came out yesterday. Now Metasota is continuing that trend with the video for "Solo Cypher," from H​.​I​.​P. (Happy I'm Present: 2 Week Theory). The video was directed by Abhinav Saihgal.

Paper Tiger Discusses Producing "Game Over" (Video)

While in Toronto for their No Kings tour, We've Got The Jazz was able to sit down with Paper Tiger for a few minutes for their Behind The Boards interview series. He goes over creating to beat for "Game Over," from the crew's self-titled debut.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Haphduzn & Dimitry Killstorm: "Lost in Translation" (Music Video)

Last Saturday night at the Nomad, Be SceneCrowdNoize TC and others sponsored a local hip-hop music video showcase. The night was a chance for several local artists to premier new music videos and projects. Be Scene just posted this particular video, which debuted at that event, from local rapper Haphduzn and producer Dimitry Killstorm (also of Wide Eyes). The hard-hitting "Lost in Translation" will be on their upcoming collaborative effort, Whittier Alliance (artwork below), due out sometime this summer.

I.B.E: "AlwaysOnIt ft. Buda Tye & Muja Messiah" (Music Video)

"AlwaysOnIt" is the latest song from I.B.E's That Tape mixtape to get a music video release. The smoked out track features verses from Budah Tye and Muja Messiah, and was produced by Bobby Raps. The video was directed by the multitalented Greg Grease, whose work has been popping up regularly lately.

Doomtree: No Kings Tour Recap (Ann Arbor, MI - Milwaukee, WI)

Above is a video recap of the last few shows (Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Milwaukee) of the first leg of Doomtree's No Kings tour. Check it out if you want to see Lazerbeak wear a ridiculously tailored Cecil Otter shirt.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Toki Wright: "Stone St. Jangala (जंगल)"

Toki Wright continues his experimental streak with "Stone St. Jangala (जंगल)," a song he made live while broadcasting on UStream last night. Stream it below or head to Toki's Bandcamp to download it for free.

Master Mind: Watch Me Fly

I teased Master Mind's somewhat mysterious forthcoming mixtape last week. Today he leaked what seem to be a collection of assorted songs, which Master Mind is calling Watch Me Fly, to help spread the word about that mixtape. These tracks uphold Master Mind's reputation as an excellent lyricist. Producers on these songs include St. Paul Slim, Vibez, and Reggie Reg. Stream them all below.

Katrah-Quey: A Mind With No Ceiling (Instrumental Album)

4 Shades producer crew member Katrah-Quey recently released a new instrumental project. These were all beats he made years ago and had recorded to a cassette tape. The tracks were ripped from the cassette and uploaded to his Bandcamp. Now you can purchase all 20 songs for only $2, or stream the entire album below.

Katrah-Quey: A Mind With No Ceiling (Instrumental Album)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

DJ Abilities: "NOW! That's What I Call Fuck Off."

Lately local legend DJ Abilities has been experimenting less with hip-hop production and doing more DJing. The result of that work is his brand new 51-minute mix, featuring remixes, mash ups, and new blends. Also, this mix has the best title.

DJ Abilities: "NOW! That's What I Call Fuck Off."

Astronautalis: "This Is Our Science" (Music Video)

Today Astronautalis debuted the music video for "This Is Our Science," off his album of the same name. The video was released today to recognize the start of a new tour with Busdriver. Be sure to check them our if they're in your city.

M.anifest: Interview in Ghana (Video)

After putting out 2011's Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America, M.anifest has been living/working in his native country of Ghana for a little while now. He recently sat down to do an interview, and spoke about what he learned from the music scene in Minneapolis, pushing the craft of music through heightened technical quality control, and, naturally, killing goats in his backyard. Thanks to OD for putting me on to this.

Previously - M.anifest's video for "Makaa Maka"

Phingaz: Broken Glass (Free Album)

The latest release in a long, consistent run from the Background Noise Crew is this odds-and-ends collection from Phingaz, Broken Glass. The 11-track album features fully-formed songs and instrumentals that, for one reason or another, never were officially released. Initially intended for a double-album release that was eventually abandoned titled  The Mirror Image, we are left with Broken Glass. The album is free, so follow the link below to download it from the BNC Bandcamp site, or continue futher down to stream Broken Glass in its entirety.

Phingaz: Broken Glass

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Akrite: "Burnin’ & Learnin’ ft. Greg Grease & Spikaboxx" (Prod. Cory Grindberg)

Akrite of The Usual SuspectS (who was also featured earlier today on the video for I Self Devine's "Pretty Sickness") just had a new song released today through Audio Perm. "Burnin' & Learnin'" features fellow TUSS member Greg Grease and singer Spikaboxxx; it was produced by Cory Grindberg. The track throws a wrench into the popularized conception of the apathetic stoner's daily life, replacing stereotypical time-wasting smoker pursuits like video games with a thirst for knowledge in literature and conversation. Download the song below.

Akrite: "Burnin’ & Learnin’ ft. Greg Grease & Spikaboxx" (Prod. Cory Grindberg)

Doomtree: No Kings Tour Recap (Montreal, QC - Cleveland, OH)

This recap video covers the No Kings tour show in Montreal, Toronto, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and drama ensues at the Canadian border as Paper Tiger forgets his passport.

ICE ROD: Chat Roulette Freestyle Rap Concert (Video)

The last time I wrote about Michael Gaughan it was because he did some live painting of Eyedea & Abilities during some of their performances around the time By The Throat came out. Gaughan, however, also performs under the name Ice Rod. He recently put on a rap show at the Turf Club in Saint Paul, performing not only to a live audience, but also whoever was lucky enough to bump into him on Chat Roulette. Below is Ice Rod's explanation of the event, but it's really beyond description. You must watch this video above.
Live footage from a 2 hour set Feb 11th 2012 at the Turf Club St Paul MN. ICE ROD (Michael Gaughan) sets up the stage to look like a dorm room (with "Bob Marley" and "Pulp Fiction" posters, a snowboard, etc) and uses a small inconspicuous microphone (*until it broke) sits on the bed, goes on the chat roulette website and free-style raps to the people on the computer. The whole show is improvised and one of the goals is to entertain the other person on the screen with a specialized rap for them. ICE ROD will lyrically describe visuals of that person, and also invites them to give a topic, engage in conversation, etc. The chat-partner is led to believe that ICE ROD is just a 22 year old kid in a dorm room, and they are having a private one on one rap session, while in reality it is a facade, set up in a crowded music venue, and the computer screen is projected so the crowd can see what the raps are referencing and also see / hear the chat-partner's reactions. Audience members are welcome to come on stage and act as "dorm neighbors, RA's etc." and sometimes the web cam is swiveled to reveal to the chat-partner that they are in fact in front of a crowd. Conceived and performed by Michael Gaughan. filmed by Tomas Aksamit and Dan Huiting. Edited by Tomas Aksamit.

Sound of the City 7 (Compilation Mixtape)

Last month I shared the Sound of the City 6 compilation mixtape. This month, 4Seen Magazine is back to present another collection of recent Minnesota-made hip-hop. Included in this mix are Metasota, Bobby Raps, Brother Ali, Franz Diego, Mike Dreams, Mike the Martyr, the Tribe & Big Cats!, MaLLy, and more. Stream/download the project after the jump.

I Self Devine: "Pretty Sickness ft. Ak-Rite" (Music Video)

I Self Devine's newest Culture Series mixtape, Reports From The Field: In The Trenches, is avaiable now.

Reports From The Field - In The Trenches Mixtape Release Party
Saturday, March 24
7th Street Entry
I Self Devine with guests Mike The Martyr, Mankwe ft. Medium Zach, Big Quarters, Illuminous 3 & DJs Shannon Blowtorch & Simone Steppa Dujour 
8:00pm // 18+
Facebook RSVP // Tickets

Monday, March 5, 2012

Audio Perm: Permed Out Wednesdays

Back in the winter of 2010, Audio Perm were releasing weekly songs with rappers from around the Twin Cities. Their Permed Out Wednesdays series helped the production crew gain much of the local notoriety that they have today, but many of the download links for those songs have expired over time. The crew, being the generous group that they are, re-uploaded the whole collection to their Soundcloud page, and all thirteen songs are now available for download/streaming. Download the compilation through the link below, or hit the jump to stream each song.

Oh, and that local notoriety I mentioned? Well, Audio Perm earned a spot at this year's Soundset. They'll be performing on the Fifth Element stage. Big congratulations to the trio for that accomplishment.

Audio Perm: Permed Out Wednesdays

Illuminous 3: "Breathe" (Prod. OD)

This past weekend I saw a free copy of Illuminous Free, Vol. 1 at b. resale shop in South Minneapolis. That compilation featured twelve songs from Illuminous 3's monthly release series that highlights the work of local producers. To think that they're now on their twentieth installment in the series — almost two years! — is pretty crazy. Much respect to Illuminous 3 for their hard work in the local scene.

This latest song in the Illuminous Free series was produced by 4 Shades crew member OD. Check out the interview above and his collaboration with Illuminous 3, "Breathe," below.

Illuminous 3: "Breathe" (Prod. OD)

Absent: "Can't Quit Her ft. Big Wiz" (Music Video)

Here is the latest collaboration from Minneapolis rapper Absent and Long Doe artist Big Wiz. This song is featured on Absent's late 2011 release, Amber Alert, which is available on iTunes now.

F. Stokes: Love, Always (EP)

Back in late January I posted F. Stokes' video for "My Simple," the lead single off his Love, Always EP. The EP will be officially released tomorrow but is available for streaming/purchase on his Bandcamp page right now. It will be on the iTunes store and other digital music outlets tomorrow as well. Hit the jump to stream the project and purchase the project if you like it.

F. Stokes: Love, Always (EP)

Mike the Martyr: "Fuckin Wit"

Mike the Martyr posted this new song to the Long Doe Soundcloud page earlier this afternoon. More importantly though, is the fact that Mike, along with Tony Bones and Big Wiz, were selected to the Soundset lineup today. Congrats to the Long Doe team.

Mike the Martyr: "Fuckin Wit"

Longshot: "Len Bias"

Chicago/Minneapolis rapper Longshot released this song earlier today. "Len Bias" (Wikipedia for those of you who are unfamiliar) was produced by TGIK, and will be on Shot's upcoming Live From Gravebomb, Vol. 2 mixtape.

Longshot: "Len Bias"

Soundset 2012 Lineup Announced

Click on lineup to enlarge

The Soundset 2012 lineup was just officially announced, and it's got a ton of heavy hitters. Soundset pulls in top talent year after year, always doing an excellent job of featuring established artists, newer sensations, and plenty of local talent. Check out the lineup and share your thoughts in the comments section below so we can get a dialogue started!

In case the poster is too small to read, here is the entire lineup in text:
Atmosphere, Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon, Kendrick Lamar, Aesop Rock, P.O.S, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Danny Brown, Big K.R.I.T, Evidence, Prof with DJ Fundo, Action Bronson, DJ Premier, I Self Devine, Astronautalis, Bambu, J-Zone (DJ set), Medusa, Chief Kamachi, Grynch, Chuuwee, Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr. are DUMBTRON, Villa Rosa (Muja Messiah & Maria Isa), The Tribe & Big Cats, Audio Perm, Long Doe (Tony Bones, Big Wiz & Mike The Martyr), Auddio Draggon (Gene Poole & Xilam Balam), Tomorrow’s Genius, BdotCroc, DJ Stage One, DJ Kool AKIEM, LAST WORD, Kid Cut Up, Superbrush427, DIVINCI (of Solillaquists of Sound), and Los Boogie. Hosted by Brother Ali, MaLLy & J Pratt.
Update: Last night to hit up JBird on Twitter about the logistics of this year's festival, because there was some confusion about how many stages there were. At this year's Soundset, there will be three stages instead of the usual two: two "main stages" and the Fifth Element stage. JBird said that the two main stages will run back-to-back, all day long with no intermissions. I interpreted this to mean that there will never be simultaneous performances on the main stages, only with the smaller Fifth Element side stage. My best guess is this will give more opportunity for the slightly smaller national acts (Macklemore, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, etc.) and all the Rhymesayers artists to grace the main stage, while smaller and local acts will hold things down at the Fifth Element stage.

Dessa: Nobel Peace Prize Forum Speech (Video)

Last week Dessa spoke at Augsburg College at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Her presentation, titled “Mic Lines: Art, Ethics, and their Contested Connections," was a discussion on ethical and moral issues surrounding rappers and the content they choose to include in their lyrics. Her 45-minute speech includes discussions of social, political and philanthropic work by local and national artists, the intertwined nature of hip-hop and community activism, as well as discourse on the moral obligations of rappers as role models, common defenses of misogynistic/violent lyrical content, and the reflections on the power of musicians to influence individual behavior. If you're remotely interested in any of these topics, or even if you're not, I strongly recommend watching this.

The speech is followed by a question and answer session which I have not viewed yet, as well as a performance from Aby Wolf (Dessa did not sing because her voice was on the mend from the No Kings tour).

Brother Ali Joins Occupy Homes MN Movement

Those of you who follow Brother Ali on Twitter may have noticed that he has been particularly vocal lately about the Occupy Homes Minnesota movement. Ali has been working hard with the organization to help individuals and families who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.

One of Occupy Homes MN's recent projects was Bobby Hull, a Vietnam veteran who hosted a community protest/block party at his house to take a stand against an unfair eviction (Toki Wright recorded a song to raise awareness for that event). Occupy MN successfully defended Bobby Hull from eviction, and has since moved on to working with North Minneapolis resident Monique White.

White is a long-time North Minneapolis community member who is at risk of foreclosure. Instead of being flexible and renegotiating White's mortgage, US Bank is attempting to evict her from her residence and community. Learn more about Monique White's story by watching the video above, and help the Occupy MN defense of her home be successful by signing this online petition.

Brother Ali is one of literally countless local artists who is using his voice to stand with the oppressed and push for important social change. His work is a prime example of the inherently interconnected nature between hip-hop, the local music scene and community activism.

Below are two more videos about videos related to the Occupy Homes movement. The first elaborates on Monique White's story, and the second features a brief speech from Slug at Bobby Hull's house.

Master Mind is DenMark Vesey: ICFS, Vol. 1 Mixtape Preview

St. Paul rapper Master Mind has been working in the local scene for years now, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Heiruspecs and St. Paul Slim. His upcoming project is a bit mysterious outside of what I can parse together from this video, so I must admit this is all a bit speculative. However, it seems that his upcoming mixtape, ICFS, Vol. 1 (which stands for "I Can't Feel Shit") finds Master Mind adopting the persona of a character named DenMark Vesey, who has some serious demons that he needs to exorcise. Watch the preview video directed by Aries Hester,  and stay tuned for the actual mixtape release.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Psymun: Marsh Pond EP

Psymun is a Minneapolis producer who has credits working with local and nationally known artists such as Co$$, Scienze, Rich Garvey, 925ve. I'm currently listening to his recently released beat tape, the Marsh Pond EP, a free download. Most of the 10 songs on the tape clock in at 2 minutes or less, but highlight Psymun's strengths as a producer. His songs tend to be tranquil and subtle. The first half of the tape feature looped jazz and soul samples that nearly lull you into a daze, until a nuanced flourish in the beat draws your attention back in. Little tricks like this present Psymun as a producer with a sophisticated attention to detail, and someone to definitely be on the lookout for in the future. You can follow the download link below to get the Marsh pond EP, or stream it further on in the post.

Psymun: Marsh Pond EP

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Robert Glasper Experiment: "Always Shine ft. Lupe Fiasco & Bilal"

I meant to share this video yesterday but two nights ago on Letterman, Lupe Fiasco performed with The Robert Glasper Experiment, whose new album Black Radio is available now and worth your purchase.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Self Devine: Reports From The Field: In The Trenches (Mixtape)

As far as rap music released this year goes, I Self Devine has supplied the majority of music I've been listening to in 2012. His monthly mixtape releases, already featuring LA State of Mind and The Upliftment Struggle, have both been exceptional. I fully expect this third mixtape in The Culture Series, Reports From The Field: In The Trenches, to continue that pattern. Judging by the title, it will be another collection of songs about inequality, hardship, and activism. Guests on Reports From The Field: In The Trenches include Soulution, Muja Messiah and more. Production is supplied by Benzilla, Medium Zach, Nicademis, Illmind, and more.

DOWNLOAD - I Self Devine: Reports From The Field: In The Trenches (Mixtape)

Hit the jump to stream the project, view the back cover art and watch a video in which I Self discusses what the mixtape is all about. Also keep in mind that the mixtape release party is on March 24 at the 7th Street Entry.

Reports From The Field - In The Trenches Mixtape Release Party
Saturday, March 24
7th Street Entry
I Self Devine with guests Mike The Martyr, Mankwe ft. Medium Zach, Big Quarters, Illuminous 3 & DJs Shannon Blowtorch & Simone Steppa Dujour
8:00pm // 18+
Facebook RSVP // Tickets

Gordon Bombay: "Jungle ft. Metasota"

Gordon Bombay is a group consisting of local emcee MOD SUN, and Pat Brown, B Rolla, JCW, and Zachy G, who I assume are other artists who run in his circle. Today they released a new track featuring Metasota, whose 2012 release H​.​I​.​P. (Happy I'm Present: 2 Week Theory) is one of the local highlights of the year so far. Check out "Jungle" below, and stream the rest of Gordon Bombay's Unburstable Bubble here.

Trama: TramDilla (Mixtape)

In late January I shared Trama's video for "One Day At A Time," and announced his upcoming mixtape TramDilla. Today, Tram delivered on his promise and release TramDilla according to schedule. The concept is brutally simple — Trama rapping over Dilla beats, nothing that hasn't been done before — but sometimes the most basic recipes result in the best meals. Continue on to stream the project.