Best Specialty Record Store Minneapolis 2014 - Fifth Element
You can't say enough about Rhymesayers' impact on independent hip-hop. And it's not just for the art — it's also for their ability to keep the business side of it alive in a digital-minded era where .zips and .rars have replaced car trunks and backpacks for DIY music distribution. Fifth Element is far more than just the merch arm of the venerable Minneapolis label — though if you want to pick up an Atmosphere hoodie or your favorite P.O.S. album on vinyl, you might as well go right to the source. They've also got a winningly broad (and broad-minded) inventory, where even the most voracious crate digger will find something to elicit a low whistle and a "damn." Needless to say, their hip-hop selection is absurd. Feel free to pick up a Jonwayne cassette, a Black Milk LP, and a CD of Gang Starr's Hard to Earn to replace the third one you've worn out. But there are also classic soul box sets, Tropicalia reissues, and dancehall 12-inches in the bins to round out the repertoire of music hip-hop heads listen to when they're not listening to hip-hop. Throw in a collectible Kidrobot vinyl toy or the latest issue of Wax Poetics, and you've got yourself the ideal of the archetypal rap nerd Valhalla.