There is a cost to being Minnesotan.
Early in my City Pages career, a rapper I was interviewing told me, “If you call yourself local, that’s all you’ll ever be.” To him, being Minnesotan was being only Minnesotan. It’s a sentiment that’s stuck with me over the years, even if I don’t completely agree with it.
As digital outlets become the preeminent distribution channel, the idea of being “local” is disappearing. That opens up a whole new world of listeners, and with a world that large, geographical boundaries feel arbitrary. But it’s still not smart to abandon your hometown base. You can have it both ways. Put on for your city, but don’t stop there.
Baby Shel, Tek, and J. Plaza – “Don’t Come Around Here”
Right now, every team in the NBA is scrambling to sign, trade, and sign-and-trade their way to a championship Big Three. Well it looks like Minnesota caught the fever. Local rappers Baby Shel, Tek, and J. Plaza have assembled for all-star crew cut “Don’t Come Around Here.” The Pulido Creative Studio-directed video celebrates their team-up with the likes of Finding Novyon, Chance York, Will Robinson, Big WiZ, and of course possessed killer doll Chucky. Gonna be a banner year for the team.
MNFobia ft. Fah33m – “Disgusted”
Goth rapper MNFobia has the word “disgusted” tattooed along his right wrist, a permanent reminder of his own self-hatred. But the word also serves as inspiration, and Fobi’s latest single “Disgusted” centers on the emotion that prompted the ink. Rapping suicidally over an all-too-fucked-up Landfill beat, Fobi works himself into a hateful froth. Dlau612 directs a nightmarish interpretation of the feeling, as Fobi wakes in a bathtub full of blood, disappointed that he has to live another moment in his skin.
Tory Vee – “Old Town Road (Remix)”
Is City Pages done with “Old Town Road” yet? Hell no we’re not. The ubiquitous country-rap sensation has made a historic impact on the music world, and it’s now sinking into the local music scene. This week, Minneapolis rapper Tory Vee gives his take on the chart-topping Lil Nas X song, cutting up the beat and hammering the verses with chaotic energy. Billy Ray Cyrus he is not. In Vee’s hands, “Old Town Road” is dangerous and unpredictable. Director Minnesota Cold TV drives that point home with unnerving camera work and a setting that could only be found here in Minnesota.
Versions – “Island”
Tributes come in all forms. When Wyatt Overman was looking for a way to honor his late father, he remembered he had some 8 mm footage of him in the Boundary Waters from the 1970s. He soundtracked that film with the latest tune from his band Versions. “Island” is a deeply sentimental pairing of art and found footage. The warm vintage feel of the tape melds nostalgically with Overman’s contemplative strumming and hushed vocals, and the song’s swelling chorus of “please don’t go” takes on a desperate new meaning. But make sure you watch all the way through for the heart punch that comes in the song’s dying seconds.
Psalm One ft. Angel Davanport – “WWIV”
Though she’s not from the Twin Cities, Chicago rapper Psalm One has a lot of local ties. Not only is she a constant presence on the Minneapolis show scene, she’s a one-time Rhymesayers signee. Now she’s collaborating with one of our busiest local directors in Morningside Films for her new video for “WWIV.” “WWIV” features fellow Chicago artist Angel Davanport in a revolutionary’s song. The fiery pair set the scene for a coming culture war where white, straight, cis-gendered men are finally unseated and the oppressed seize the power. Brace yourself.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]