Local darlings Poliça made the biggest music video splash this week by debuting a new video that explains police brutality using puppets. It wasn't their first foray into anti-fascist education via visual song, but it was certainly the most notable happening in Minnesota music's YouTube community this week. But that doesn't mean it was the only thing that went on.
Far from it. It seems the local rap scene has been especially busy this past week, with several marquee (or soon-to-be-marquee) artists dropping video singles in advance of new albums. Actually, all but one member of our roundup (Battlerat) this week is here in support of a larger project, which means 2016's release season should be fat with locally tendered gems. Check out below for some good reasons to get excited.
Tiny Deaths — "Ever"
The Minneapolis/St. Paul music scene is eagerly awaiting night flowers, the upcoming EP from Claire De Lune's no-caps mood project Tiny Deaths, but it'll be another three weeks until we get to hear that 7-inch on February 19. To tide us over, Tiny Deaths premiered the video for the early December single "Ever," which was posted on Bitch Media on Monday.
The video is an ethereal meditation that paces intimate closeups with wintry landscapes, making it an apt companion to the airy single. You can see Tiny Deaths at the Walker Art Center as part of the Winter of Love show on February 13, and you can pre-order night flowers on iTunes now.
Mac Irv — "What Up"
If you missed Sincerely, Mac Irv, the standout mixtape from north Minneapolis rapper Mac Irv, last summer, you missed one of the biggest surprises of 2015. The album represented a huge maturation for the former Gophers basketball standout, as he finally came into his own as a rapper and refined his message. Now, the burgeoning rhymer gives us a new single off his follow-up, which is entitled Misfit: 55411.
"What Up" give us the first taste of what Irv has planned for us for that album, which is an exploration of the rapper's place in his native community. Judging by the reposed flow and storyteller lyrics, it should be yet another step in the progression of an artist who's finally finding his place in the scene. Irv opens for Prof on February 19 at the 7th St. Entry.
Gaines FM — "The Descendants"
You may remember our feature on the decrepit Columbia Arena in Fridley, the location for D3: The Mighty Ducks, which was razed last summer after years of neglect. Apparently, something about that forgotten hockey rink romanced Crystal, Minnesota, emcee Gaines FM, who used Columbia Arena as the setting for a film of his own.
In "The Descendants," Gaines takes to the decaying artifact, Ducks jersey and all, to stage his lead single from Reanimation, his debut album that premiered a week ago. Through a cacophony of hi-hats, Gaines rips through bars after the camera as a cautionary tale of a home invasion unfolds in the cuts. "This is real shit," the chorus repeats as the setting becomes less and less of a novelty and more and more of a visual metaphor.
Battlerat — "Sheds"
Studio time with syncopatic indie rockers Battlerat seems like a damn good time. Between the hacky sack juggling and headlamps, the Minneapolis fivesome had a good-ass time tracking their December EP Spoils, so they decided to film their time tracking at the Old Blackberry Way and release the footage as the video for "Sheds."
It's a little low-concept, but it really gives you a good idea of what he idiosyncratic bunch are like in their element. A little goofy, yes, but a batch of pert, catchy jams resulted from that, so the video is as much an origin story as it is exposition. Their previous video for "Trouble" — which you can watch here — is just as quirky.
Mirage — "2 of a Kind" and "Struggle Is our Stage"
You're not seeing double: St. Paul's Mirage are indeed identical twin rappers, so it only serves that the duo would release their music videos two at a time. The pair of Lesson and Twin set up "2 of a Kind" and "Struggle Is our Stage," double singles that set up Mirage's mission statement for their upcoming self-titled album.
Over the reflective beats of Mike the Martyr (who produced the whole album), the two trade bars with a kinship that can only be fostered by sharing a womb. Mirage debuts on March 25, but you can get in on the twinning on February 28, as the group will be playing at St. Paul's Amsterdam Bar & Hall as part of the Hip-Hop 4 Autism fundraiser.