It doesn’t have to be all heartbreak.
Minnesota knows the sting of struggle. It’s a qualifying experience for Minnesotans native and new. Stymying, there-is-no-god letdown is a romantic tradition here, but what can be lost in the geographic self-loathing is the flip side of that coin: the ability to endure.
Yeah, so the Boys in Purple shit the bed in tremendous fashion on the national stage. And so what if a half million gloating adversaries are descending on the homeland to rub it in our faces in two weeks. We’ll endure that as we’ve endured everything else. Football may not be our legacy, but we endure as a top-tier music town, so let’s not forget that.
On January 27, Twin Cities hip-hop/R&B duo iLLism will play a Super Bowl party on Nicollet Mall (a.k.a. Super Bowl Live), but before that gig, they’re making sure everyone around town knows the kind of vibe they bring. In the new video for “iLL Vibes,” emcee Envy and singer Fancy host their own pregame, dipping through neon smoke as they demonstrate their skills. Envy and Fancy also directed the video, so cast no doubts on their ability to host every element of a good time.
Jessica Manning—“Somewhere Else” (live)
Downtempo R&B artist Jessica Manning can make any space feel like a living room. The singer visited Chicago’s Veltway Sessions to show off this arresting skill in Veltway’s cozy apartment. In the video, Manning performs a spare version of “Somewhere Else,” the closing track from last February’s debut album What if I Run. During her performance, Manning, indulging in the intimacy of the moment, almost never opens her eyes.
KPW ft. Megatron—“Circuit Board”
On New Year’s Day, St. Paul rapper KPW dropped Ativia's Beautiful Shelves, a surprise release. Now the dextrous MC is following up with a single: “Circuit Board,” one of the roughest cuts on the LP. On this track, KPW manipulates a haunting beat into a nasty premonition of the world to come, and a bombastic guest verse by Megatron only adds to the sense of foreboding. KPW directed the video, which was shot by Aurora Borealis Pictures.
A.C.E. is searching for someone to commiserate with. The Minneapolis rapper has a lot on his mind in his video for “Understand,” where he spills his guts to his psychiatrist. Relaxing into his doctor’s couch, A.C.E. discusses his troubles with his mother, his anxieties about success, and his determination to overcome, leaving the session unburdened—though the lyrics make the peace seem fleeting. “Understand” comes from A.C.E.’s album To Be Honest, which was released on January 12.
Ash St. John—“Mad Respect” (lyric video)
Before we close out this week’s column, Ash St. John has a few shoutouts to give. On his new song “Mad Respect,” St. John produces an incessant stream of props to the doers—the people who claw their way through doubt to produce something their proud of. If you count yourself among the hustlers St. John sings about, give a listen, and make sure you return the favor and give St. John some respect for DIYing the lyric video himself.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected].