Wednesday, October 20, 2010

P2C fallout: new Twin Cities hip hop acts you should look out for

Since Picked to Click didn't feature any hip hop acts, and the Twin Cities has one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the nation, I figured I'd highlight some of the newer artists that have potential.  As with P2C, it can be hard to define "new," but I'll give it a shot:

The Tribe & Big Cats!
A Chicago transplant (Truth Be Told) backed by some of the most epic, radio-ready production the Twin Cities has ever heard, this group has dropped a great EP and a very entertaining mixtape, and their debut, "Forward Thinkers Movers Shakers," is slated for January.  It'll feature Abstract Rude, Phil da Agony, Toki Wright and more.

Also a member of the Usual Suspects, I.B.E. is just a beast on many levels-- smart, technically proficient and a good songwriter.  Check out his video for the song "Make the Road by Walking" featuring Toki Wright. 

Heidi Barton Stink
One of my favorite new artists, Heidi is unabashedly political and also a very strong songwriter.   She also picks some unique, engaging production to rap over.  There aren't a whole lot of artists repping for the trans and queer communities, but Heidi should be one to watch over the next few years.

Audio Perm
A three-person production collective, Audio Perm is responsible for some of the best beats that all these younger TC acts are using.  The Ants and Lazerbeaks and Medium Zachs of our scene have a very worthy heir.

Culture Cry Wolf
In a scene that values brooding, angry, dark hip hop (I know I do), a band like CCW can be pretty refreshing.  They've got a strong singer on top of their MC, make great use of horns and put on one of the best live shows in town.

Fresh Squeeze
Radical politics and party music.  That'll get me every time.  These three kids also have the most energy of any hip hop act in town.  A very exciting act to watch.

Wide Eyes
Good old fashioned underground rap.  Nothing revolutionary, but this group's energy, charisma and pure rhyming talent is infectious.  Great beats too.

Mally, Mike Dreams, Lipset, Just Wulf, Max Haben, Bobby Richardson, D'Allen White, Irenic, Lazlo Supreme, Mnemosyne and more I'm forgetting
There's a whole crop of really solid MCs and hip hop acts coming up; I can't write about all of them.  But you can hear many of them on the same track here.  While time can only tell which ones will break out from the pack, they're all very talented.

I'm excited to see all these acts reach out and do new things-- that's really what the TC scene is traditionally about; being fearless and unique and different.  I don't see that happening as much with this newer crop of artists yet, but it'll be very fun to watch that develop.

And that's not even to mention the "not-quite-new-but-new-to-a-lot-of-people" artists like No Bird Sing, Junkyard Empire, Kristoff Krane, Kill the Vultures, M.anifest, See More Perspective, Chantz, Ill 3, Ill Chemistry, Usual Suspects, Maria Isa and (of course) Guante/Guante & Big Cats! who are all making some really great, original, creative music.

Again, I'm sure I'm forgetting some great ones, but the bigger point is that it's a beautiful time to enjoy hip hop in the Twin Cities.  Go see some shows.

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