There’s nothing more frustratingly fleeting than Minnesota summer.
We’re a third of the way through the best season in the North Star State, a fact that may make you reflexively dunk your head in a punchbowl full of turpentine. But it’s true, damn it all, and that means you have precious little time to make the best of it.
So grab a refreshing, superior quality Minnesota craft beer and your Red Wing Moc Toes and get yourself to an outdoor concert before it’s too late. (Here’s a calendar of such things.) Before long, you’ll be living in your North stocking hat and weeping into a steaming mug of hot cocoa.
A dogged veteran of the St. Paul rap scene, Orikal Uno has been operating under the radar for almost a decade, producing songs from Abstract Rude, Sab the Artist, and Maria Isa and rapping in groups OnePlusOne and Spellbound. With a docket that full, you spend a lot of time zooming around town, something that inspired Uno to write the song “Knockin’.”
The song is a halfhearted apology from Uno to all the folks who come by his apartment during the day. As director Colton Otte of Blue G Productions shows in the video, Uno is too busy traipsing along Lake Street and building his career to be bumming around his apartment. This is the same hardworking mentality that made Uno’s Tone Rosario a must-listen for local hip-hop heads when it dropped back in April.
Batteryboy—“For Once in Your Life”
No-caps ambient folk band Batteryboy are fuckin’ sick of America’s willful ignorance. Though frontman Cobey Rouse says he was “was hesitant to put something out there that could piss some people off,” he decided to use the video for his band’s song “For Once in Your Life” to bring awareness to the refugees and citizens of war-torn Africa.
The video for “For Once in Your Life” relies heavily on Al Jazeera footage of violence, poverty, and military operations in Sudan and Ghana, pausing to yield the floor to a weeping woman caught in the crossfire. It’s a powerful piece of shock art, but the dulcet music of Batteryboy makes it all the more powerful—bringing a mournful humanity to a newsreel that’d otherwise get lost between changing channels.
Ace Da Animal—“The Flow”
St. Paul rapper Ace Da Animal cites Rakim as the inspiration behind his new track “The Flow,” and it’s easy to hear the New York rap legend in his measured, lyrical delivery. Of course, every Rakim needs an Eric B., and producer Bay Water Music does the honors with aplomb, filling the track with throwback keys and righteous scratching.
Ace enlisted the always-dependable M&A Productions to direct the video, his first strike at a professional piece of media, and the investment does the up-and-comer well. Framed alongside bosom youngster Juice Lord and rapping with old-school grit, Ace Da Animal looks like a veritable breakout talent.
Brandon Pulphus -- “BluPrnt”
We don’t often feature Mankato artists here at Local Frames, but it’s always refreshing to showcase scenes popping off outside the Twin Cities. Brandon Pulphus is a conscious rapper from Minnesota’s fifth largest city who is goddamn fed up with institutional racism and police violence. He channels his frustration and rage into his new single “BluPrnt,” a savage screed that indicts white society for Philando Castile’s murder and other crimes of subjugation.
“BluPrnt” is a concise, lucid rundown of the problems facing black America, but that doesn’t mean Pulphus doesn’t get emotional. Quite the opposite—as the The Gonz’s beat builds and director Biggs Johnson’s video unspools, Pulphus builds to a passionate crescendo, ending the song at an unforgettable pitch.
Scarlett Taylor—“Concrete Angels”
In March, 18-year-old Isabelle Teigen died of a drug overdose, leaving her father Disraeli Davis, a Burnsville music producer, to process his grief. Davis channeled the emotion into a poetic chain of verses that he handed off to singer Scarlett Taylor, and the two produced a stark, tear-jerking ode entitled “Concrete Angels.”
The song can be difficult to process. The pain is tangible and inescapable in the video as we relive Teigen's descent into substance abuse through an actress’s portrayal. Meanwhile, Taylor’s aching voice bids a tender farewell. The song comes from Taylor’s June EP III.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]