5 must-hear Minnesota hip-hop tracks: 11/9/16

J. Plaza, Reeves Junya, and more!

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.

J. Plaza - “F--k It”

“F--k It” deftly deploys J. Plaza’s smooth bark and slinky vocal dexterity for an anthem that combines a clean confidence with the defiance of a raised middle finger. The dynamic video matches the song’s bouncing beat and waxing-intensity flow. Shifting his cadence between lap-running show-off bars, chest-thumping bellows, and Travis Scott auto-tune warbles, J. Plaza’s latest breakout comes together with a solid visual that captures the song’s energy.

K.Raydio - “Proof”

Particularly adept at sinking into slow-stride glitch beats with a magnetic subtlety, singer K.Raydio makes Tommy Bathwater’s stuttering beat her own with a declaration of her enduring perseverance. “I’ve been through a lot /These scars are all I got,” she sings, textured enough to bolster the song’s minimal structure. “I could show you bloody knuckles, and I could show you how I got them too.”

Reeves Junya - “The Power of Now”

Russell Simmons first drew parallels between the hip-hop generation’s positive-minded consciousness and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle around Barack Obama’s first term. Here, Reeves Junya recalls Tolle’s testaments to progression and peace with a song named after the author’s famous first book. On this cut from his recent release Why Am I Not Famous?, Junya spits self-assured affirmations with a melodic tinge that highlights the song’s reflective and future-minded tone. Fading out over a Tolle quote extolling the joy of surrendering to the present, Junya centers the mentality that guides his evocative work.

akagod - “KILL........... me”

Here akagod of Gorgeous Gang lets loose on a startling track that finds the extreme end of contemporary rap’s blending of propulsive ambience and heightened performativity. “Just me, I ain’t worried, I don’t wanna live,” is a lyrical boast ominous enough to match the intensity of akagod’s peaking vocals. The genre signifier “Religious and Spiritual” provided to Soundcloud is almost certainly ironic, but does speak to the emotional exorcism undergirding this cathartic recording.

DevonXTravis - Reazoliini

Rapper Devon Reason and producer Travis Gorman of The Rotation come together for the animated five-song EP Reazoliini. This comes fresh off the heels of new solo projects from co-members Dwynell Roland and Finding Novyon. Devon maintains the core of the crew's collective sound while standing out on his own thanks to a tempered assertiveness and ability to meet the diverse beats where they are. Tight song structures and a charismatic rasp make the project worth a listen.

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