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5 must-hear Minnesota hip-hop tracks: 3/22/17

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There’s a near-constant stream of quality music coming from the Minnesota rap scene.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to pick a few highlights from the past week in new releases and videos.

Here's new stuff from JonRay, Toki Wright, Mirage, Reefa Rei, and EQ the Sound.

JonRay - "Magic Johnson"

"Yeah, you thought I was gone, that's why I don't f*ck with you," raps JonRay on "Magic Johnson," the first preview from a string of new work. Before a 9-month prison stint, he's readying a few new projects, including this energetic banger from Free JonRay. Detailing his fortitude through interpersonal struggles, an expanding underworld occupation, and an (easily-removed) ankle monitor, JonRay briskly runs through a barrage of boasts and taunts.

Toki Wright - At The Speed of Life 3 

Toki Wright (aka Mamadu, his producer nom de plume) recently dropped 7 new tracks over the course of a week. Under the genre "Wake House," he combines Afrofuturism, spoken word, and house music. It's allowed him collaborative space to dive deep on issues of identity on tracks like "Black Man Lives (Squad Up)" with Mastermind and Joe Adams, room for creative catharsis on "Open The Gates" (dedicated to his Grandmother on the day of her funeral), a flex of low-key banger "The Situation," and the freedom for experimentation on his final installment, "Negative Space Isn't The Place." This loose format has seemed inspirational, as Toki takes to tracks with a simultaneous conviction and joy.

Mirage - "Good Enough"

Gearing up for a release show this Friday for new album Green Lure at 7th Street Entry (hosted by Go 95.3's own Mr. Peter Parker), Mirage dropped a new video for lead single "Good Enough." Animated by director Adam J. Dunn, the kaleidoscopic visuals soundtrack the identical twin rappers playing off each other's energies. The downtempo track is all about understanding your self worth in a difficult world.

Reefa Rei - "Stopping ME"

With an ominous, gravel-voiced tone and an understated intensity, Reefa Rei's triplet raps match the forward momentum of his propulsive lyrics. He compares himself to Biggie and Pac while floating around the dark beat. "I want it forever, I can't die / I'm just fulfilling the prophecy," he states plainly, using his unique voice to his advantage. Amidst the backdrop of some familiar locations in downtown Minneapolis, the rapper moves through the city as a low-key yet commanding presence.

EQ the Sound feat. Manny Phesto and Rich Garvey - "The City" 

Manny Phesto and Rich Garvey join producer EQ the Sound for "The City," the first glimpse of his upcoming project which is set to feature Finding Novyon, Baby Shel, Maria Isa, Gaines, and many more. The distinctive, throwback vibe captures both a classic Minneapolis underground rap style and a smooth, modern instrumental sound.

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