5 must-hear Minnesota hip-hop tracks: 2/8/17

Jessica Manning, Lyric Marid, 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.

Jessica Manning - “Homestead”

Jessica Manning’s distinctive style of understated R&B flirts with experimentation but remains grounded by a pure expression of voice and honesty. Her album, What If I Run, sees its release at Icehouse this Saturday with fellow electronic pop singer Jennie Lawless. The video for “Homestead” finds the soul singer among the trees and ocean waves, at times clearly visible, at others obscured by smoke and the setting sun. It’s a gorgeously executed example of the Swedish-born Minneapolis vocalist’s layered songwriting imbued with a delicate, atmospheric touch.

Lyric Marid - “Royalty”

The first preview of Lyric Marid’s Sota Seoul album, “Royalty” shows off the rapper’s elastic flows and determination. Utilizing a slight auto-tune effect and a pivoting rhythm, Marid floats over the bass-heavy production from Lasik Beats as he talks about his glo-up speaks for itself. “I fell in love with the process, I’m sure you can tell by the progress,” he raps, stressing that his royal status stems from the work he has put in.

CutThroat Cash - "Hittin Licks"

CutThroat Cash carries a massive vocal presence on every track he touches, but he has a particular skill with hooks. On “Hitting Licks” he brings a crooning bounce to a slinky beat for an earworm track that details his money-making methodology. Shifting seamlessly between the warbling chorus and the booming flow of the verses, the track is propulsive and smooth at the same time.

Prizm - “Hold Me Up”

On the elevating “Hold Me Up,” Prizm finds precisely where his voice fits into the sparse, twisting beat. “Born and bred with heightened sensory, the love of my people mean more than a cent to me,” he raps, shortly before taking critical aim at perceived priorities and espousing clarity. The hook is an afterthought to the developing message of hope in the face of adversity, and there’s an airiness to the sound.

Scarr - "???? M O V E ????"

Over a murky, twinkling beat produced by TOMB$, Scarr shows off a synthesis of several elements. There are hints of Denzel Curry’s peaking gruff, Travis Scott’s echo chamber ad-libs, and Kristoff Krane’s pop sensibilities within the lo-fi song about moving on and personal growth. At its best when embracing the more melodic side of his fluctuating voice, Scarr’s quick anthem has a fairly pleasant grit that makes for a fun listen.

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