Mista Maeham goes to war with the Klan in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Mista Maeham standing strong against white supremacy.

Mista Maeham standing strong against white supremacy. YouTube

Last year we changed the way we structure headlines for this column. Instead of starting with the column name, “Local Frames,” the headline now mentions a featured video. Because I keep getting questions about it, and because secrets are annoying, I’m gonna tell you why.

The Local Frames tag gave the columns a sense of continuity (and satisfied my own personal organizational compulsions), but it didn't bring in new readers. The new headlines beckon readers into the story whether they've heard of the column before or not.

Then, there’s the selection process. Lots of musicians and directors have requested the featured spot. (Note: please don’t.) Sometimes it’s just the most interesting video we’ve got in the hopper, but typically we lead with the biggest name we’ve got. That way, we’re capturing the widest swath of readers and introducing them to more new music than just what's promised in the headline.

OK enough industry gobbledygook. Without further ado, on to that one video I advertised up top – and the four equally important others that follow it.

Mista Maeham (Ft. DJ Drama and Selfish) – “White Sheets”

Mista Maeham has never been shy about taking on threats: The Minneapolis rapper made his name by getting into a beef with St. Paul rapper Dante Pedro a few years back. But now he’s hooked up with industry mixtape host DJ Drama to fry some bigger fish. The two released the heatseeking tape Positions of Power back in January, and its most controversial track has been given life by director Parker.

“White Sheets” turns the KKK symbol into a threat against white supremacist cops. Between troubling clips of law enforcement gunning down black suspects, Parker shows Maeham and track co-star Selfish uniting gangs in a war on the police. In a steely, cold-as-hell chorus, the two promise violent retribution for the attacks against their people.

Symone Smash It – “Dark Matter” (PREMIERE)

Ever since this newcomer's debut video “Automaton” made the rounds back in April, the Twin Cities has been eager to see more from Symone Smash It. Her latest video for “Dark Matter” comes from Local Frames regular Paul von Stoetzel at Killing Joke Films, just in time to power you to midsummer techno euphoria.

Awash in pastel pink, Smash It sings in soliloquy, taking a much more subdued approach as the synths slowly climb. Eventually, Smash It’s spurned love song reaches a fever pitch, and she takes up a sledgehammer to exorcise her angst, living up to her moniker. Smash It plays Acadia on July 21. Don’t bring a TV unless you wanna take it home in pieces.

Wayo – “Take It from Here” (Ft. Ato Yaf)

In week 30 of his yearlong weekly music sprint, rapper Wayo released “Take It from Here,” a calculated mob song that captured the determination of his project. With the other 22 songs out of the way, Wayo and his producer partner Eirwolf have set about shooting visuals to go with some of the highlights from Wayo Season, the first being that highlight from week 30.

In “Take It from Here,” Wayo raps from behind a ski mask, further obscuring himself in scribbly, overexposed edits. The surreal qualities match Wayo’s heavily modulated voice, creating an overall trippy addition to Wayo’s ambitious body of work. Common Culture does directing duties, and the song also features a meticulous bilingual verse from Ato Yaf.

Taylor J – “Five Times”

“Five Times” opens the door on Taylor J’s recent debut album Who Would’ve Thought. The song establishes Taylor J as a determined, wide-eyed hustler, introducing his Taylor J Takeover to an audience who might’ve missed his mixtapes. After making the jump to LPs, Taylor J also upped his video game, bringing in director 13twentythree to make him look as good as he feels.

“Five Times” is their second video from this summer after “SKRT.” For the video, Taylor J holes up inside the Lowry Hill Five Guys with a crew of his faithful, celebrating the success of his album. It’s an apropos location given that the burger joint gets shouted out on the chorus, but more than anything, it just looks like a good time.

Lyric Marid – “Jaycen”

Rappers aren’t always forthcoming with their motivations. Usually, it’s some nebulous mix of money, respect, and fame that pushes them forward, but Minneapolis rapper Lyric Marid makes no illusions about what drives him to achieve -- the wellbeing of his son Jaycen.

“Jaycen,” from Marid's latest album Sota Seoul, is a heartfelt statement of purpose. Not only does he outline his motivation to provide for his child, but he re-emphasizes a promise he made to himself to never repeat the sins of his own father. M&A Productions directs an equally heartfelt video that focuses right in on Jaycen, juxtaposing the portraits with footage of Marid grinding late night to keep him comfortable.

Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]