A few different conversations concerning the state of the local rap scene have been thrown around in the media lately: As criticisms of the lack of diverse hip-hop coverage in the popular press arise, so does Slug's argument that the scene is "over-saturated". As I've come to discover over the past year with my Twin Cities Rap Mixtape Roundup series - a monthly post that highlights a new batch of eight up-and-coming local rappers in a streaming playlist - there are, indeed, a hell of a lot of rappers around town. [jump] A grand total of 96 different artists have had music grace the mix, representing a number of different crews and sounds. The idea is to give the scene more accurate representation: were you to be outside Minnesota reading our music coverage, it'd be easy to make the mistake that Rhymesayers and Doomtree were the only rappers we had. Meanwhile, local rap movements are happening everywhere, and with the advent of the internet and the increase in home recordings, new music is being released at a quicker pace. Wanting to cover the quality cropping up in an efficient way that let the music mostly speak for itself, I dropped the first mixtape in June 2011, and have somehow pulled together a new one every third Tuesday since.
Call the scene over-saturated if you want, but it's clearly a diverse cast that's brimming with real possibility. To celebrate the completion of a full year, I'll be hosting a show featuring artists from the mix at Honey on Thursday the 14th. Trama, The Escape Artists, Ernest Rhodes, Lizzo, Gaines and Ecid will all throw down sets. A live version of what the mix is trying to accomplish, the night is going to be a unique slice of local hip-hop that showcases the wide range of sounds that fall under the Minnesota umbrella.