Skip to main content

The best Minnesota rap songs of 2016, part 2

5 more big MN hip-hop moments from 2016.

As 2016 comes to a close, here are the hip-hop songs coming out of Minnesota that mattered. After unveiling the first five last week, here are the rest with some honorable mentions.

Cashinova - “Know Me Well” - (prod. by ISM)

“I can tell, you don’t really want this sh*t for real,” Cashinova raps, sounding almost disappointed in you for not being on his level. Lending his slowed, slightly somber tonal flow to a hook-heavy beat featuring a barely present synth wave and a distorted bass, Cashinova hits a humble stride. Its subtle strength, summing up his storied years in the rap scene, will truly hit after the hundredth time the chorus plays in your head.

Lizzo - “Good As Hell” (prod. by Ricky Reed)

Spirited self-love anthem “Good As Hell” helped solidify Lizzo’s ascension to stardom, as an undeniable R&B/pop/rap hit that featured on Barbershop 3. It was a hopeful sign of optimism sung with “Lift Every Voice And Sing” among election night panic on Samantha Bee’sFull Frontal. Any track off her quirky, funk-laden rap-fusion project Coconut Oil could have wound up on this list, but the feminist optimism and unbridled energy on this track specifically is a necessary reminder of inner strength that truly soars.

ZULUZULUU - “Stakes Is High” (prod. by ZULUZULUU)

This immaculate remake of De La Soul’s J Dilla-produced 1996 album track is a fresh take on a hip-hop classic, drawing out the deeper elements of the jazz and funk undercurrents that Dilla sprinkled throughout his work. The original’s variety of vocals and snapping groove remains, but where the song was once grounded in a sample-driven groove, it now floats in outer space, breathing and evolving naturally. The group that seemingly dominated the local scene challenged themselves with their choices of songs on cover album The Cover-Up. This is perhaps their most ambitious and satisfying among a string of winners.


The Lioness - “Nah” (prod. by G Mo)

The Lioness fine-tuned her developing sound on the exceptional Growing Pains, which is perhaps best exemplified by the slow drive of “Nah.” It combines her bouncing live energy, introspective headphone lyricism, and melodic lilt impeccably. She touches on her hardships and how she built a bright future, and she points to how to similarly find self-empowerment. The message is delivered with a strong, complex approach to sung triplets and poetic lyricism.

Metasota - “Hands Up” (prod. by Tek)

Metasota’s blistering “Hands Up” is a self-defense anthem for the American police state. It opens with samples from a recorded cop shakedown and concludes with a frustrated barking flow that builds up from the song’s growing tension. With a posse of backing vocals from B Rolla, BDF, Sti-Lo Reel, Tek, JessListen, and Dante Pedro, Metasota symbolizes the fight for survival as a black man in this country as both personal and collective, as he contorts his passionate, rhyme-heavy style into a pointed act of defiance.

Honorable Mentions:

Nick Travae feat. Yung Simmie- “That’s Me” (prod. by Angelo Bombay) 

Katana da Don - “Snow” (prod. by Katana da Don) 

Sophia Eris - “Dust” (prod. by Prophis)

Ray Rilla x Slim Piccens - “Answers & Echoes”

deM atlaS - “Perfect Day” (prod. by MF DOOM)

Atmosphere feat. I.B.E - “Pure Evil” (prod. by Ant)

Nazeem & Spencer Joles - “Fade Into The Lush (God, Time, & Death)” (prod. by Spencer Joles)

Tall Paul - “#BadDAPL” (prod. by Weston Nash)

su na feat. Dizzy Fae - “Complexion”

Mike Dreams - “Change Up” (prod. by Mike Nemes)

.brody feat Nazeem and Jaylap - “Pillowcase” (prod. by Shrimpnose)

Rey Gordo feat. Rich Lee - “She Rollin’”

J. Plaza - “Fuck It” (prod. by Baby Ray)

Sims - “OneHundred” (prod. by Lazerbeak)

Finding Novyon + J.KELR feat. Asher Roth - “Timberwolves” (prod. by J.KELR)

Next Up

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

Charges: MN high school counselor sexually assaulted student

The 16-year-old victim had regularly gone to him for academic help and other support, authorities say.

Proctor football

Proctor investigation: Senior charged with sexually assaulting teammate

The criminal charges come after a monthslong review of the allegations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 9.07.41 PM

Ordway will require vaccinated audience members also be boosted

If someone has not gotten a booster shot, they will have to show a negative COVID test.

Gophers basketball, Williams Arena, Gopher fans

U of M to require vaccine or negative test proof for large events

The policy doesn't go into effect until late-January.

Lauri Anne Deatherage

Man indicted for first-degree murder in ex-wife's death

He's accused of killing her days after she remarried.

Jackknifed semi I-94 Sauk Centre Jesse Grabow

Crashes, spinouts piling up as snow blankets southern MN

Snow is expected to continue throughout the day.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 14

More than 11,000 cases for a second day in a row.

Related

The best Minnesota rap songs of 2016, part 2

5 more big MN hip-hop moments from 2016.

The best Minnesota rap songs of 2016, part 1

Here are 5 huge cuts from Minnesota's rap scene.

The best Minnesota rap songs of 2016, part 1

Here are 5 huge cuts from Minnesota's rap scene.

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

Freshly picked local gems from Why Khaliq, Izell Pyramid, and more.

5 highlights from the 2016 BET Hip Hop Awards

BET's 2016 Hip Hop Awards featured memorable moments from Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Gucci Mane as Drake, DJ Khaled and Chance the Rapper were the night's big winners.

The Hamilton Mixtape's long list of stars includes Minnesota's Dessa

The Minneapolis rapper is joined by lots of big names in performing tunes from the hit hip hop musical.

The Hamilton Mixtape's long list of stars includes Minnesota's Dessa

The Minneapolis rapper is joined by lots of big names in performing tunes from the hit hip hop musical.