BEST LOCAL RAP GROUP (1999)
Local hip hop exploded in 1998. What had been a diffuse, isolated scene came together in a series of events (most notably Bon Appétit's weekly open mics) and albums including the groundbreaking debut by St. Paul's Abstract Pack. Bousta Set It (For the Record) will be remembered as the Let It Be of local rap--a homegrown underground hit that put the Twin Cities on the lips of critics across the country. Bousta mixes intelligent lyrics, pro mic-play, and radio-ready backing tracks to suggest Native Tongues without the dippy spiritualism. A friend at the hip-hop mag Blaze claims that editors have been bumpin' it regularly on their office turntables, comparing the Pack's music favorably to last year's indie hit by Black Star. Hip-hop elites may have been surprised to hear that the group wasn't from Philly or some more reputable hip-hop satellite. That only means that it's local rap's responsibility to raise its collective game and assure that our next would-be stars don't get the same treatment.