Let’s not forget that, at its heart, journalism is a service industry. The pressing question is who is it meant to serve.
I love to write Local Frames because it ends up being a threefold service. Given that the nature of the column is to non-critically call attention to artists’ new videos, I get to serve local musicians and filmmakers directly. But more importantly, I get to serve the fans. And that’s the primary focus. Always.
Good publicity for musicians is really just a byproduct of service to the fans. If we say good things about your music -- as we do weekly at Local Frames -- it’s because we owe it to the local listeners to do so. That’s an important thing to keep in mind.
In a city as small as Minneapolis, there’s a culture of chumminess that can make it seem like a betrayal when less-than-kind words are uttered in the press. It’s nothing personal. It’s in service to the fans.
Finding Novyon and J. KELR -- “Believe in MPLS”
If you don’t recognizing Finding Novyon’s name, then you haven’t been paying much attention to what’s been going on in the Twin Cities hip-hop scene.
Novyon has gone from a sideliner to headliner in the last year, popping up on songs with everyone from Allan Kingdom to Metasota. And now the Minneapolis rhymer has hooked up with J. KELR of Los Angeles’ Blended Babies for a 10-song album called Believe in MPLS. Released last week, talbum features guest spots from rappers the likes of Asher Roth and the Cool Kids’ Chuck Inglish. But Novyon and J. KELR chose to lead the album with a visual for the title track, which shows the fluid chemistry between the two.
“Believe in MPLS” is dizzyingly shot with drone footage by Jake of Morningside Films and Irhad Mutic. Tthe video, directed by directed by Robert Henery, captures Novyon and his new collaborator at various hangouts in the Twin Cities. As the title of the song implicates, it’s a love letter to a constantly underrated city, and by positioning the stylish rapper in the center, it also positions Novyon as the most slept on of the slept on. Believe in MPLS should help to change both those injustices.
Destiny Roberts -- “Wake Up”
Stark times call for a stark visual. St. Paul emcee Destiny Roberts teamed up with co-director Brian Few Jr. for an incredibly striking video for her song “Wake Up.”
Like Dima Kash’s video from last week, “Wake Up” is a response to the killing of Philando Castile and the continued violence perpetuated against black people by the police. But unlike Dima’s “Open Your Eyes,” “Wake Up” is a more direct call to action.
The song is jarringly set to the sound of an alarm clock -- an unambiguous call to awake from the media-driven haze and into action. Opening with clips from CNN and Fox News, it’s easy to see how talking head politicizing can zombify the population. In drastic black and white shots and eerie choreography, Roberts shows that, if you want to know the real heart of the issue, you need to get out in the streets and be with the people these injustices are perpetuated against.
Eddie Murff -- "Ain't Over"
Eddie Murff wears his influences transparently on his sleeve. Usher. Jason Derulo. Akon. Trey Songz. That energetic, somewhat overproduced radio rap that finds itself into your car radio every day for an entire summer. To the point where the lyrics become a reflex. And that’s exactly what he’s looking to do with his new single “Ain’t Over.”
With a slick and professional video helmed by Rico Roman, Murff puts forth an immediately recognizable single. Before you know it, you’re swiveling your neck to the chorus. Then, you’re mumbling the verses while you wash the dishes. Before you know it, the song is stuck with you like it’s been there forever.
It’s an extremely rare feat for a local artist to accomplish, and Murff’s clearly learned a lot from those Top 40 stars he emulates on “Ain’t Over.”
Discord Curse -- "Bludgeoned"
The second video on this list directed by Rico Roman, “Bludgeoned” by Discord Curse is more in line with his previous work for Roads of Glass than his work above with Eddie Murff.
“Bludgeoned” is a haunting death metal horrorshow. Featuring characters billed as Torture Victim, Dark Priest, Witch, and Baby Face, the video contains plenty of macabre and viscera, so it’s maybe not the best local cut to enjoy with your kiddies.
The song itself is a masterful, pulsating movement. It ebbs from distant, static-y screams into more guttural, punctate riffs, building sinisterly with each evolution. From the band’s forthcoming self-titled EP, “Bludgeoned” will certainly be in the setlist when Discord Curse play The Garage in Burnsville on August 12.
Prof -- “Standout”
Rhymesayers’ resident beer-drinker-with-a-rhyming-habit, Prof, is back again with more of his outrageous cartoonery in the new video for “Standout.”
The song, which comes from 2015’s Liability, finds the devilishly mischievous Prof literally playing Road Runner to a witless cop, who stands in for Wile E. Coyote. Despite all the cop’s ACME-purchased plans to undo the rapper, he’s never able to throw the swagged-out hedonist off his game.
Huge ups go to Prof and partner Kron for dreaming up what is a really wacky, on-brand video for the song. It’s great to see how much artistic liberty Rhymesayers gives to its signees. It really lets them go from being an artist to being a full-fledged aesthetic. Prof is on tour now, but he returns to the Twin Cities for the now-annual Prof Outdoors showcase on September 10 at Cabooze Outdoor Plaza.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg [email protected]