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Allan Kingdom, Lizzo lead off July's Twin Cities rap roundup

Allen Kingdom: First Minnesota rapper in space

Allen Kingdom: First Minnesota rapper in space YouTube

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.

Allan Kingdom—“Globe”
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.

Drelli—“Drelli Elliott”
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 energysee Hey Drelli opener “Drelli Elliott.”

J. Plaza—“Elevate”
Album: Single
Label: Self-released

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
Label: Self-released

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.”

Lizzo—“Boys”
Album: Single
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
Label: Self-released

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”
Album: Single
Label: Self-released

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”
Album: Single
Label: Saucelord

“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.”

Taylor J—“84”
Album: Single
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”
Album: Single
Label: Self-released

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.