By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
D.I.Y. OR DIE
Independence is freedom. It seems unfortunate that more independent artists don't appreciate and take advantage of their independent status. Many artists cry about the "evil" corporate mechanisms that "destroy" creativity and individualism in the music industry, while at the same time they willingly surrender their freedom and creative control to them. An "independent" artist who feels obligated to sound like Franz Ferdinand or Radiohead in order to be some sort of "success" is hardly independent. Don't cry, my young independent artists, just give a big middle finger and a "fuck you" to the nonsense, and do what you want. Cherish and use your independence. That would be actually "rock" or "punk" or whatever you want to call it. Enjoy!
HIP HOP HOORAY
Remember that we are still a cow town to most people outside of the Midwest, so people need to stop complaining about how our hip-hop scene is dead. Because the fact is, it's better then ever. As I type this, numerous local rappers, DJs, and merchandise pimps are touring all over the country, representing the Twin Cities and working and playing hard. Atmosphere had videos on MTV and was in magazines such as Urb and Spin. Heiruspecs signed to Razor and Tie Records and just released a first-rate album. P.O.S has been critically acclaimed and won fans over on the Warped Tour by literally spilling blood on stage. Muja Messiah recently performed at CMJ with Talib Kweli. Golden has been flirting with the majors with a hookup from Beats and Produce. And new releases on the horizon from veterans like Atmosphere, Musab, I Self Devine, and others just make it easier for the new cats like Big Quarters, Illuminous 3, Guardians of Balance, Knonam, and Doomtree to hit the scene hard. Cities from Phoenix to Madison would be thankful to have a scene like ours, with the amount of talent and opportunities we are blessed with. So just remember before you start bitching about our "lame" city: We are one muthafucking cool-ass cow town.
People have been sleeping on the local hip-hop scene in Minnesota. I truly believe that, in this past year, there has been great growth for the hip-hop community, especially with groups like Big Quarters making a new sound with their CD, EPL and Snakebird Songs. Mixed with good beats and good message, it uplifted my views on the local scene. Groups like Traditional Methods mixed a live band with hip hop--always a great combination. Sarah White's soulful voice and political messages from all band members make this group another one to watch. Illuminous 3 have shown some great growth musically as well lyrically with their fundraiser, Vol. 2, and their presence on the stage. I look forward to their debut album. There are some many good groups putting it down for the local scene: Los Nativos putting Minnesota in the Chicana/Latina hip-hop game with straight-fire lyrics; Purest Form repping St. Paul and making great music; Brother Ali and his accomplishments. And who can forget Doomtree, creating a great atmosphere on the stage with lyrics music and of course Dessa. The local scene is growing not just in acts but in quality. So check out your local hip-hop shows and support a good music scene in the TC.
Right after the movie 8 Mile came out, our local underground hip-hop scene had a giant burst of new life, with a lot of new people coming to shows and battles. I was hosting the Loring Pasta Bar MC battle tournaments at the time, and it was really fun. But the cycle has kind of burnt itself out, and I predict the scene will lay low for a while. But it will eventually have a large resurgence; it always does.
--Zachariah Combs (a.k.a. New MC)
NEVER TRUST ANYONE OVER THIRTEEN
Keep your eye on the crop of teenagers from places like Hopkins and St. Louis Park who have suckled at the teat of indie, hip hop, nü-metal, and emo; played in a high school band together; and scored a six-string or drum kit from their folks or a summer job. "Web in Front" is their "Stairway to Heaven," and you can imagine how the resulting lack of historical burden could burn the practice space down. The Plastic Constellations were an early incarnation of this righteous trend, but now we've got Aneuretical, whose debut, When You Were a Kid, sheds all the irony of indie and the schlock of emo in order to reveal a raw sonic core of hyperactive love tics. Even the retro-metallic anthems of Passions tend to skitter dangerously on some trebly echophonic cliff, rather than plod into a Pleistocene tar pit. Kinetic energy is where it's at; the wheel in the sky keeps on turning.
I've been to every Radio K Battle of the Underage Underground--once as a high school kid supporting my friend's band, and three times as a judge. This year was by far the best. Many people know this year's winners, Melodious Owl, but choosing them was a really hard decision to make. Every band that played totally rocked and all the bands deserved to place. Everyone should check out Dump Truck, Kasper, the Accidents, and all the other bands that played. There are so many high school kids in this town making pretty incredible stuff, make sure you support the young ones!