Throughout history, the music scene in Minneapolis, Minnesota has been understated time and time again; even with many huge and influential artists coming from the state including Prince, Bob Dylan, Atmosphere, Brother Ali & Jimmy Jam; it still feels as if the city has never gotten it’s due cred. Some people in the Twin Cities like it that way, a beautiful melting pot of undiscovered sounds and talent; while others feel slightly jaded in regards to the major labels; spawning a sort of record label counter culture. Although different, both attitudes have helped to form Minneapolis’ new identity backed by a new drive and atmosphere.
It’s hard to pin point when this new transformation began gaining steam, but if I had any say I would attribute a lot of the credit to the guys at Rhymesayers and the Sound Set Festival as a whole. Hip Hop fans in Minneapolis have literally seen the indie label go from a small grass roots effort, into one of the nations most highly esteemed labels. Another key factor in the creation of such a unique scene is the high level of diversity that Minneapolis prides itself on. Un-like our Chicago Brethren who may be diverse, but segregated all the same; Minneapolis seems to have embraced it’s diversity in ways that aren’t typical. Artistic collaboration seems to be at an all-time high and local acts provide a support network for each other rather than an atmosphere of competition. A few weeks back the MADE crew hit up Icehouse for one of GRRRL PRTY’s residency shows and numerous familiar faces were in attendance including Phillip Morris, Sean Anonymous & P.O.S, providing the type of synergy that has lead to a creative explosion within Minneapolis’ scene. As the older generation (OGs) of Minneapolis rappers begin to become less and less visible, a new cast of notable artists with new sounds have emerged including Greg Grease, Sean Anonymous, Lizzo & GRRRL PRTY, Botzy, Phillip Morris, Har Mar Superstar, Vision The Kid, Carnage, deM atlaS, Glow Mechanics, BeastHead, The Cannaholics, Niles Miller, Audio Perm, Dep Dillinger, New Sound Underground, KPT, K.Raydio, Metasota, The Chalice, Doom Tree, Marijuana Deathsquads, Spyder Baybie Raw Dog, B. Dot Croc & Polica and many……many more.
One could say Minneapolis is going through a renaissance of sorts, creative thinking & collaboration have been excellorated to an unprecedented rate. Super groups like Marijuana Deathsquads & GRRRL PRTY promise to put the city on the map with unconventional sounds while solo acts like Greg Grease & dEM atlaS drop records that represent the new generation of Minneapolis MCs. The summer of 2012 broke a lot of new artists into the conversation and the snowball began to roll, 2013 brought the city national attention with acts like Doom Tree, Har Mar Superstar & Sean Anonymous (just to name a few) all receiving press. 2014 will be a big year for the Twin Cities, grass roots music festivals like Minneapalooza, Zombie Pub Crawl, Hip Hop Harambee & Sound Set already garnish national acclaim contributing to an exponentially growing culture of creativity. Major publications like GQ, Complex Mag, Forbes & XXL have all placed Minneapolis near the top of the list regarding the nations best music scenes. With all of these great things going on it’s no wonder why the Twin Cities have become a major destination for tour stops, most weeks you’ll find at least 2 good shows usually for a decent price ($20 and under). As 2014 draws closer and everyone gets their winter hibernation on, it’ll definitely be interesting to see what people have ready after the thaw.
When looking at the bigger picture it becomes apparent that this is just the beginning of a major movement in Minneapolis, with nearly a million person influx projected for the Twin Cities metro in the next 20 years; there’s no where else to go but up. The Rhymesayers generation of rap may be coming to an end in Minneapolis, but the new cast of artists previously mentioned plan to pick up right where they left off as the Twin City’s Renaissance gains steam.