The past month has highlighted the variety of the Minnesota rap landscape.
We saw the return of a Rhymesayers favorite, the emergence of Cedar-Riverside sensations, and a potential SoundCloud hit with some out-of-state help.
Camden Marz – “Get Like That”
You only have to hear Camden Marz’s first couple bars on “Get Like That” to tell the St. Paul/Chicago spitter has enough energy to burst through the entire track, matching the bluntness of the clanging trap beat.
DB Tha Rasta – “Investments”
Album: Sometimes the Truth Hurt
Label: Get Money Assassins LLC
On “Investments,” a standout from his well-rounded project Sometimes the Truth Hurt, St. Paul rapper DB Tha Rasta recognizes the hazards and limitations of street life, deciding to turn dirty Benjamins into legit investments. It’s a sign of growth and maturation in DB’s prolific rap career.
Dem Atlas – “Sing Me to Sleep”
Rhymesayers artist Dem Atlas has been keeping fans waiting for the proper follow-up to his 2014 DWNR EP; the release of a pair of new songs last weekend is a good sign that he’s been productive lately. My favorite of the two, the Medium Zach-produced “Sing Me to Sleep,” is a vinyl-crackling jazz-rap return that suggests Dem’s talents, from his mellow flows to his grungy singing, remain potent.
FREEWIFI – “Yes Indeed”
Album: Unofficial remix
Minneapolis group FREEWIFI have a history of remixing rap hits, including Bhad Bhabie’s “Hi Bich,” City Pages’ Best Cover Song 2018. J. Plaza and Daddy Dinero bring similar chemistry and energy here, loosely-yet-precisely hopping on Lil Baby and Drake’s “Yes Indeed” (fka “Pikachu”).
LilMo and ZR – “She Wildin”
The instant success of LilMo and ZR’s “Life of the Party” video is no fluke, and in a message to City Pages, MinnesotaColdTv’s Santana “Zone” Smith suggests the key to the Cedar-Riverside rappers’ fast rise is how they’ve been embraced by the Twin Cities’ large Somali population. Mo and ZR’s energetic, hooky songwriting warrants attention too, with their songs sounding like a more street-oriented Minneapolis answer to Rae Sremmurd.
The Lioness – “Goes Up”
Album: Greater Vision
Two days before her Soundset performance, Minneapolis’ the Lioness released her latest album, Greater Vision, packing a remarkable amount of songwriting and production depth into just 30 minutes of music. “Goes Up” is a rapid-fire highlight, the album’s most impressive technical display. Or, to put it another way, she absolutely snapped.
Metasota – “DBA”
Even Metasota’s most nonchalant songs are full of more colorful rapping than fellow Twin Cities rappers’ most energetic tracks.
Tae Dinero Ft. Trap – “Facts”
St. Paul street rapper Tae Dinero generated a considerable buzz for himself in 2015 and ‘16 before taking a hiatus from music. He finally returned with the new single “Facts,” featuring Chicago rapper Trap. Tae sounds focused here, his verse like a whirlwind chapter of his life story as he reflects on being shot, the death of his grandmother, and drinking lean and popping pills to cope.
Dwynell Roland – “Control It”
Album: Young Roland
Last month in this space, I praised Dwynell Roland’s “Clipped,” writing, “His confidence is unassailable here, like he knows he won’t be cooling down anytime soon.” Though he hadn’t officially announced it yet, his new album, Young Roland, released June 1, was right around the corner, and it extends Roland’s hot streak from the past couple years. On the album’s most addictive song, “Control It,” Roland is not just confident, but also animated and funny.
DJ Sidereal – “Rest in Peace”
Here, Minneapolis native DJ Sidereal brings St. Paul singer KayCyy Pluto together with Floridian SoundCloud-rap progenitors Denzel Curry and Nell. While Curry and Nell are characteristically explosive, it might actually be KayCyy’s chorus that elevates the thunderous trap banger to SoundCloud-hit status.