The son of Muja Messiah, rapper Nazeem has significant connections to long-established Twin Cities artists, including collaborative work with Atmosphere. It's his music with Spencer Joles, though, that's helped shape a newer T.C. rap scene. After previous collaborations, Nazeem and Joles, who first met in middle school, finally united for a full album, released back in March. Simply titled The Album
and produced entirely by Joles, it's one of the local rap scene's best-received full-lengths this year. "I love classical and I love the Boosie," Joles raps on "Smoke Daht," so it's fitting that his beats are eclectic, including Golden Era classicism, trap, and more. Lyrically, Nazeem and Joles' verses are often wordy and dense with thought, but never in a geeky way. In fact, a song like "Fallen Souls," which addresses white privilege and reparations, is effective because of how directly the verses hit. Nazeem and Joles work well with Minneapolis rap royalty on the album, including spots from Muja and P.O.S, but the duo's own chemistry shines brightest. With Bae Tigre, Malcolm Anthony, and Ayvah.