This month’s rap roundup features new tracks from some of Twin Cities hip-hop’s biggest names and some of its most deserving upstarts.
Album: Peanut Butter Prince
Label: First Gen.
My favorite song from Allan’s new EP, Peanut Butter Prince, and a reminder of how complete Allan is as a songwriter. He’s long since established his ability to fluidly transition between singing, rapping, and sing-rapping, but on the romantic, tropical “Globe,” that talent is particularly infectious and mesmerizing.
Album: Hey Drelli
Label: Swag bOP
Drelli’s new EP, Hey Drelli, is short and sweet, swiftly establishing his colorful flows, nonchalant hooks, and quirky humor. Yes, musically, he shares a lot in common with his friend and frequent collaborator Allan Kingdom, but there’s also something unique about his playful energy—see Hey Drelli opener “Drelli Elliott.”
The best-known member of Minneapolis group FreeWifi absolutely spazzes, trickily changing flows and fast-rapping in a two-minute burst that serves as a reminder that he’s one of Minnesota’s most technically talented rappers.
Lexii Alijai—“Elm Street”
Album: Unofficial remix
Last month, music lost not one but two young rap stars to gun violence on the same day: Florida’s XXXTentacion and Pittsburgh’s Jimmy Wopo. Here, St. Paul’s Lexii Alijai remixes the latter’s signature song, the propulsive, piano-pounding “Elm Street,” menacingly rapping about her ability to steal your man: “Bitches be boo’d up with they dude while I be texting they man/ I’m out here wrecking every home and redirecting they plans.”
Label: Nice Life/Atlantic
The irresistibly fun, neon new single from Lizzo is thematically self-explanatory, as the Minneapolis-launched rapper and singer ensures you there’s no discrimination in her boy-craziness: “I like big boys, itty bitty boys, Mississippi boys, inner city boys”—stuff like that.
Lucien Parker—“Common Knowledge”
Album: Chapter VII: Mephoria
Minneapolis’ Lucien Parker is gearing up to drop the final installment in his “chapter series,” Chapter VII: Mephoria, which will include the sleek, house-influenced “Common Knowledge.”
Tae Dinero—“The Big Ticket 2”
St. Paul’s resurgent Tae Dinero normally makes hard, intimidating street rap, so his Kevin Garnett-referencing “The Big Ticket 2”—a conversational, heartfelt song with a gorgeous piano beat— is a change of pace. Here, Dinero reflects on his years of street living and remembers friends doing calendars’ worth of prison time.
Tay the Air Nomad—“Dope”
“This that brand new Nomad,” goes the chorus of Tay the Air Nomad’s “Dope.” There’s actually a bunch of brand new Nomad, as he’s released a handful of songs in the past month, but “Dope” is my favorite, a sunny funk-rap jam that reminds me of Chance the Rapper’s “Good Ass Intro.” And I generally like anything that reminds me of “Good Ass Intro.”
Label: Scenious Entertainment
Former Minnesota Vikings superstar Randy Moss will officially be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, so Taylor J’s Moss-inspired “84” arrives as a timely tribute. Taylor also has a big show this Saturday, opening for Fetty Wap at Detroit’s Saint Andrew’s Hall.
Tomorrow Genius ft. Gunna—“Maximized”
Minneapolis’ Tomorrow Genius has a notable collaboration on his hands with “Maximized,” featuring Gunna, ascendant star of Young Thug’s YSL Records. Tomorrow and Gunna prove to be a genuinely complementary pair over the fast, tingly trap beat.