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5 Twin Cities hip-hop artists to watch this winter

From conscious to chill vibes, these local artists have the sauce.

Jysa BP

Jysa BP is a Brooklyn Park-based hip-hop artist who claims and represents the suburb he hails from. He also remains authentically himself with positive, sing-rap lyrics free of profanities. His lyrics are embedded with highly personal anecdotes echoing Eminem.

He spits lines about not needing riches (“So Be It”), repressing pain (“Yesterday”) and overcoming drug addiction (“40oz”). However, his 20,000-plus monthly listeners on Spotify have played “Let ‘em Know” the most. 

NIKO SLIM

Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist NIKO SLIM consistently proves his versatility through his array of chill, trap and R&B SoundCloud uploads. His signature flow switches between soft singing and hard-hitting bars, and is heavy on vulnerability and honesty. In “All of Me,” he raps about feeling like he’s reached no progress in the rap game, yet he confirms his dedication to the hustle all in the same track. His most-popular upload, “Your Time,” is a vibey track about hoping a girl can shell out some time for him. 

Twozie

Continuing on with trap flavor, there is Minneapolis-based rapper Twozie who rhymes over minimal, experimental beats. On his laid-back HYPEBEAST EP, he raps with a soft, rhythmic repetition over weighty bass sounds. He highlights his money-making endeavors, the women in his life, and his overall steez. 

Also worth a listen is SWiPiNG, featuring five tracks putting bars packed with astute ad-libs on display without any hook or chorus. Twozie carries that same string of rhymes layout, similar to Kodak Black’s “No Flockin,” in “BLOCKHOT.” Only this time around, the rapper includes a catchy hook where he confirms his dedication to his day ones by saying, “Don’t shake my hand cuz I don’t know you/Who is your crew? Never heard of them dudes.”

LNJAY

The Minneapolis-based duo known as LNJAY (pronounced El-N-Jay) add a more traditional hip-hop sound to the local scene. LNJAY is composed of cousins Latasia and Jasharee who fuse together catchy choruses and uplifting rap verses.

In their debut EP, Listen, female empowerment defines “Make ‘Em Listen.” They vow, “We’ll be sure to clap back, but still be a class act.” And in “World Keeps Going Round,” they ensure listeners to keep pushing forward despite troubles, trauma, and unrealistic expectations. More personal anecdotes and motivational music is to be expected soon from LNJAY, as they've teased a brand-new project on Instagram with the hashtag #BlackGirlsFly2.

Rz Shahid 

Last up, is Minneapolis spitter Rz Shahid who also creates music with classic hip-hop elements. His clearly articulated delivery is far from the ever-prevalent mumble rap trend, and the themes in his tracks are equally solid. For his most-played song “Run Away,” he ironically raps about staying grounded and humble. In the visual for self-reflective track “Conscious,” Rz Shahid lies in a bed of mirror shards and waxes introspective, “Take a look in the mirror, you need to help yourself.”

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