High School for Recording Arts marks 20 years with album and concert

The St. Paul magnet school is celebrating 20 years of hip-hop education.

In the late '90s, David "T.C." Ellis began grounding himself back in his hometown of St. Paul after a whirlwind half decade of touring as Prince's hip-hop sideman. A few months after setting a modest recording studio in Midway, teens from the neighborhood were already knocking on his door for a chance to perform and learn about record engineering. 

Realizing that he had a unique opportunity to reach youth that were at risk for dropping out of high school, Ellis founded the pilot version of what would eventually become St. Paul's High School for Recording Arts with just 15 students. Two decades later, HSRA has developed into a successful charter school with over 200 students and an 80 percent graduation rate. 

On Friday, December 15, HSRA will celebrate 20 years of improving the lives of youth through hip-hop with a student and alumni showcase on the school's campus at 1166 University Ave. in St. Paul. 

Also slated to perform are up-and-coming locals Lewiee Blaze and Tay the Air Nomad, winner of Go 95.3's Shut Up & Rap open mic series, plus more guests to be announced.

The concert coincides with the debut of 20th Anniversary Back-Catalog Releases, a compilation of student material culled from the school's sizable vault. Released on HSRA's in-house, student-run Another Level Records, 20th Anniversary is a window into the lives of the student body, with subject material ranging from the political to the personal.

Tickets will be available for HSRA's showcase for a suggested $5 donation, or a contribution of winter clothing to the high school's homeless student program. Music starts at 7 p.m.

Next Up

Flickr - state capitol minneosta - Ken Lund

Criminal charges possible for woman who drove on State Capitol grounds

She drove on the sidewalk and lawn, and at one point waved a large "Trump 2020" flag out the window.

training camp

10 things fans should know before going to Vikings training camp

Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged for the unvaccinated.


Cases of COVID-19 linked to Provincetown outbreak found in Minnesota

There have been more than 550 cases linked to the Massachusetts tourist destination since the 4th of July weekend.

Aaron Rodgers

Reports: Aaron Rodgers set for at least one more year with the Packers

Both sides showing signs of optimism just before training camp begins.

Twitter - KARE 11 jeopardy screengrab

KARE 11 crew teases upcoming 'Jeopardy!' cameo

Some familiar local faces will be providing contestants with "Minneapolis News" clues.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 1.41.24 PM

Second victim of deadly crash in Orono is identified

The crash also was fatal for the son of Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko.

Witzmann and Coleman

Ex-Viking and ex-Gopher could be contestants for Edina's 'Bachelorette'

Michelle Young, a teacher from Edina, is the show's Season 18 star.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its staff

Those who decline will be required to wear masks and socially distance while on campus.

John Thompson

Rep. John Thompson once again rejects calls to resign

He spoke briefly Monday morning at a press conference organized by his supporters.


Dessa will ring in 2018 with a new album called 'Chime'

The Doomtree rapper and singer-songwriter also debuts the new song, 'Fire Drills.'

YouTube hasn't said if it will take down rap video filmed in high school

The video has gotten nearly 67,000 views since being posted.

YouTube hasn't said if it will take down rap video filmed in high school

The video has gotten nearly 67,000 views since being posted.

Lizzo returns to MN for a New Year's show at Myth

The formerly Minneapolis-based musician will rock your NYE Party in Maplewood.

2016 was the year of the incredible, depressing album

What did 2016's best albums have in common? They're all a huge drag.