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5 must-hear Minnesota hip-hop tracks: 1/11/17

What's hot this week in MN hip-hop.

There’s a near-constant stream of quality music coming from the Minnesota rap scene, and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to pick a few highlights from the past week in new releases and videos. Here are 5 that are definitely worth your time:

Scoundrel Spence - F*ck the Dumb Sh*t

Scoundrel Spence is a Northeast rapper, former Audio Perm affiliate, and half of the duo Off_10 with his brother G.P. Jacob. He has written a loose, complex, fun, and engaging project titled F*ck The Dumb Sh*t featuring organic beats produced by Afro Keys. Spence juggles complex political themes and a free-spirited approach for an impressive solo effort. The best example is perhaps the ambitious “Americano,” which drifts between plain-stated odes to drinking coffee to larger themes of manic depression, addiction, and gentrification as Afrokeys hits the crescendo with an inspired synth solo.

Soda Supreme - "OHMIGOD"

Soda Supreme, aka That Guy Soda, shot his latest video for "OHMIGOD" in the dark, dank confines of an enclosed parking garage. The visuals match the stripped-down plodding beat and slightly aggressive tone. Among a string of recent videos that highlight his skill with charismatic voicing and hook-writing, the song sits well among Soda's other ambition-driven tracks by giving the progress brags (“We turned a rap to a business, I go to work like a job”) a bit of chant-ready bite.

Ced Linus - “Lights”

Ced Linus has a great, gruff voice that carries the soul loop of "Lights." It's the first cut from his upcoming Summer Sessions, the second installment of his four-part seasonal series of albums. The co-owner of independent hip-hop label Pledge Empire Records sprinkles hints of his religious convictions and his rising status in rap into a smooth, classically minded singular verse, just a week prior to last night's label showcase at 7th St Entry celebrating the conclusion of a three-show tour in New South Wales, Australia.

Will Robinson - “Places”

Will Robinson is single-handedly building a particular aesthetic to surround his music. He's been rapidly releasing self-directed videos of songs he writes, raps on, and produces, typically depicting himself alone in a chair with superimposed psychedelic imagery. "Places" evokes a drug trip, with solar systems, bubbling oceans, and bright, glitchy colors bleeding from the green screen into his hair and clothing as he raps about conjuring demons. Think Kendrick Lamar's tongue-twister dexterity on "Rigamortus" and Chance the Rapper's early mush-mouth inflections.

Big Cats - "Panther Falls"
On the heels of producer Big Cats' project Highest Self with rapper Chance York from Crunchy Kids, he just played a collaborative set with Andrew Broder, uploaded five long videos of ambient music intended for study, relaxation, or focus to YouTube, and started a weekly podcast about paranormal phenomena with Ryan Kopperud. So he's staying busy. He's also continued to drop sporadic one-off beats to his Soundcloud that lean further into meditative electronic territory, but the drums and looping piano (provided by Eric Mayson) on his latest, "Panther Falls," recalls his early hip-hop influence for a beautifully-realized vibe.

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