From the welcome reunion of an alt-rap super-duo to a St. Paul newcomer’s breakthrough via a Chicago star’s cosign, this month’s Twin Cities rap roundup is as varied as any we’ve put together.
Four Fists —“Nobody’s Biz”
Label: Doomtree Records
Minneapolis alt-rap veterans P.O.S and Astronautalis have resurrected their side project together, releasing music as Four Fists for the first time in five years. “Nobody’s Biz” is a massive-sounding epic with a punk-infused chorus that quotes the Clash’s 1977 debut single, “White Riot.”
Label: Small BLVD Music Group
Free Lunch Crew member Knucky wastes no time proving his lyrical ability on his new EP. The opener and title track, “Zeal,” is chock-full of bars (“I don’t politick with peons working in the booth, stay up out my kiosk/ Your Buzz is a Lightyear, mine’s to infinity and beyond”).
JDott —“Time Machine”
St. Paul street rapper JDott first caught my attention in 2015 with the melodic flows of songs like “My Crew,” sounding so young as to remind me of early Lil Mouse. Three years later, JDott is still young, but his voice has deepened and his songcraft has tightened. Case in point: the Lil Durk-evoking “Time Machine.”
Lerado Khalil —“LMK”
Album: Shark Fin Soup
St. Paul’s Lerado Khalil is in the middle of an impressive run, doing solid numbers on SoundCloud and other platforms while rapping in a dazed mutter that can recall Chicago’s Lucki. The bleepy, lo-fi “LMK” is a highlight from Lerado’s new EP, Shark Fin Soup.
Nazeem & Spencer Joles —“Pablo”
Minneapolis’ Nazeem & Spencer Joles form one of the steadiest units in Twin Cities hip-hop, releasing their fourth single of 2018 in the murky, serpentine “Pablo,” reminiscent of an early Odd Future collab.
Nimic Revenue —”Happy Gilmore”
Album: Lil Durk Presents: Only the Family Involved, Vol. 1
Label: Only the Family Entertainment / EMPIRE
One of the most exciting developments in local music this summer is that St. Paul’s Nimic Revenue is officially an affiliate of Chicago star Lil Durk, twice appearing on Durk’s new compilation mixtape, Only the Family Involved, Vol. 1. On this singsong-y sugar rush of a solo track, Nimic finds unlikely inspiration in the titular 1996 Adam Sandler comedy.
Rich Garvey —“Flex”
The two-minute quickie “Flex” is far from Rich Garvey’s most ambitious song, and that’s fine. It’s enough of a joy to just hear the Minneapolis MC spit some laid-back fly shit for a couple minutes.
The second and latest single from Sole2dotz’s upcoming Misfit LP (out August 13) does exactly what its title suggests, reviving the classic griminess of the endlessly influential Staten Island group without sounding dated.
St. Paul’s Vo has been one of the Twin Cities’ best street rappers for the past few years—and, due to various legal issues, also one of its most controversial. Last month, during the same week it was reported Vo had been sentenced to 60 months in prison for federal firearms conspiracy, his anticipated East Side St. Paul anthem “Yurp” arrived with a video featuring a KSTP-TV segment on his case.
Why Khaliq —“Fountain of Youth”
Label: Six5 Records
Why Khaliq’s new Clearwater EP seems to get better and better as it progresses; my favorite song is the last one, the honest and world-weary “Fountain of Youth.”