5 must-hear Minnesota hip-hop tracks: 2/22/17

This week: Paper Tiger, KPW, Sweetz P, and more.

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 are 5 that are definitely worth your time.

Lil Nuka - “Dreams Freestyle”

“Now I treat the rap game like we broke up, I f*ck from time to time but it’s no love,” raps Lil Nuka on his freestyle over The Game’s “Dreams.” Nuka takes the angle of feeling largely removed from the music game, feeling differently about the endeavor of pursuing rap professionally as prevailing sounds grows stale. “Now they crying over lists, n**** I was most wanted / That was when I had a dream, prison made me postpone it,” he raps, citing other endeavors as his primary income source, while acknowledging he’ll still drop crazy verses when necessary.

Sweetz P feat. Finding Novyon - “Hands Up”

Sweetz P’s presence on tracks has her destined for breakout success. As she makes strides in her self-assured grit and her instinct with hooks, she inches closer to this inevitability. On her second single from her upcoming Xander Pill, she brings along Finding Novyon, who fits the register of her gravelly tone and has as much of a handle on Dez Wright’s stuttering, booming beat. It’s an exciting preview of what’s sure to be another winning project.

KPW feat. Your Old Droog - “Death or Dividends”

KPW grabs a guest verse from New York’s Your Old Droog for his self-produced “Death or Dividends,” which begs for multiple listens in its dense delivery and complicated subject matter. “So advanced you couldn’t help but misinterpret,” raps Your Old Droog, as if to drive this point home. It’s successful throwback sound that questions outward conformity and invokes jazz loops to great effect, continuing on themes KPW drew on for his complex Courting of the G.L.A.M. album from earlier this year.

Paper Tiger - In Other Words: Part 3

Paper Tiger’s third project in his In Other Words series maintains the cold grooves, distinctive rhythms, and vocal texturing that defines the instrumental series. This time, it carries a dark undercurrent that sets it apart. “These four tracks here are perfect for late night ice skate dancing, winter drag races, not going outside ever, and eating hot sauce straight from the bottle,” says the Doomtree producer in the album description, and it indeed approaches that beauteous cinematic feel throughout.

Maurice Williams - “Faded Too”

Maurice Williams doesn’t embellish on his stripped-down R&B, letting sophisticated lyrics and subtle vocal tones do the heavy lifting. His latest, “Faded Too,” dropped just a month from his last four-track EP Above All Things, expands on his self-produced beat’s whistling G-Funk synthesizer line and a simplified drum machine with an empathetic ode to the tolls of heartbreak, (“I felt the same as you / I know what you’re going through / You get fucked up cuz shit’s fucked up”) bringing an emotionally honesty and realistic sensitivity.

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