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5 must-hear Minnesota hip-hop tracks: 1/4/17

This week's hottest local tracks.

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:

Muja Messiah feat. Spencer Joles - “Inshallah”

“I’m overseas making documentaries,” Muja Messiah raps in “Inshallah,” a stand-alone release featuring Spencer Joles and a beat from Mike the Martyr. Indeed, his new visual for the song functions as both music video and travelogue. We see highlights of his international Red Eye Tour with Eli the Prophet and RP Hooks, and Muja Messiah interrupts the music multiple times to bring us into the moments of the journey. Referencing the ’84 Toronado he first toured in with stunning settings from his latest tour (including Munich, Kiev, Tel Aviv, and Rome) serving as backdrop, the video strikes a great tone as a visual approximation of Muja’s smart humblebrags (“Last night I bowled a perfect game, today I woke up and banged 'Purple Rain'”), a light flex that looks like a day in the life.

Sarah White - “Sweet Song”

A highlight from her excellent 2016 EP Laughing At Ghosts, Sarah White’s “Sweet Song” gets a beautifully shot and well-choreographed video featuring cameos from deM atlaS, Ness Nite, J-Hard, and more. The bouncy, pop-driven ambient groove executed by a live band (Tasha Baron, Ry Dill, and Blayr Alexander) approximates electronic production. The video grabs the song’s back-and-forth energy with slow-motion pacing creating a hypnotic vibe transitioning to energetic dancing and explosive human interactions.

Medium Zach - beatstory

Medium Zach spontaneously crafted beats weekly throughout 2016, posting and quickly removing videos on his Instagram and Snapchat with the hashtag #beatstory. Now, he’s collected these 17 tracks as an instrumental album of the same name, and has uploaded the full videos documenting his sample-flipping methodology to YouTube. Intuitively rearranging sounds from vinyl and live instrumentation using a range of hardware, the warm beats showcase the Big Quarters veteran’s production skills and give a first-hand glimpse into his inspired approach to the art of sampling.

CHVNSV - “Shadows”

CHVNSV of V.I.C.E. BOYS branches out from the enclosed indoors and punk pummel of some of his more aggro material in the expansive video for the hook-driven “Shadows.” The openness of the woods surrounding the Split Rock Lighthouse carries into his bellowing vocals. Displaying long aerial shots of snow-addled landscapes and CHVNSV smoking trees among conifers, director Nate P.’s Midwestern aesthetic adds weight to the song's grandiosity.

Allan Kingdom - “Minnesota (Remix)” 

Allan Kingdom recently dropped his take on Lil Yachty’s joyous “Minnesota,” repurposing the song as a hometown pride shout-out that takes the buoyancy of the original in a new direction. The twinkling piano beat (here with additional production from Dro) gives Allan the space to play with his melodically driven bounce, dropping witty lines and local references with a clear eye for pop joviality. With his Minnesota driver’s license as the cover art (with the doctored license number “P3@NUTBUTT3RPR1NC3”), Allan makes the song his own, and ours as a state as well.

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