Tag Archives: Minneapolis

Hip-Hop in the Heartland

Minneapolis has long been known for its rich music scene, we can claim some of the most well-known musicians of the 20th century for our own. From Bob Dylan to Prince to The Replacements the Minneapolis area is home to an eclectic mix of talented artists.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, and really stretching further back than that, Minneapolis has been able to boost about a new slew of other artists, all coming out of its independent hip-hop scene.

Atmosphere is the most popular group out of this scene, a duo made up of MC Slug and DJ Ant , the group has been churning out music for nearly 20 years. Their following in the area is nothing short of fanatic with the duo consistently selling out the historic First Avenue Main room, their tracks spun on local radio and their new albums hotly anticipated and written about in local publications. Their fan base has reached a national and even international audience with their act hitting Europe this past winter and heading to Australia/New Zealand this spring.

Atmosphere is the headline act on the Rhymesayers label which hosts other, equally talented acts such as; Brother Ali, Grieves, Blueprint and Felt amongst many MCs. Every Memorial Day weekend the label throws the annual Soundset , which is an all day hip-hop festival in Shakopee Minnesota. The concert showcases much of the Rhymesayers label as well as other members of the local hip-hop community such as Heiruspecs and the critically acclaimed Doomtree. The festival drew 20,000 attendees last year and that is projected to grow this year as national acts Lupe Fiasco as well as Ghostface Killah & Raekwon are slated to headline along with Atmosphere.

The hip-hop coming out of Minneapolis is unlike anything you will hear on mainstream radio. There is an overall “consciousness” to it, and frequent themes go deeper than cars and money and tend to focus on frequent allegories to tell stories of life and love. Check out a video from Atmosphere below to get a taste of what makes Minneapolis hip-hop so unique.

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Minnesota Daily – “Day in the Life” Special Issue

The result is an intriguing variety of images providing a depth of flavor that cannot be found on a University sanctioned tour.  The “Day in the Life” issue hit newsstands today and is easily one of my favorite issues of the year.

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Phoenix charms the State

Phoenix Music

Fresh off their stint at Chicago’s Lollapalooza last weekend, French pop-rockers Phoenix continued to charm their way through the Midwest with a show at Minneapolis’s State Theatre last night. It was a dance party from start to finish, as they opened with their popular single “Lisztomania” and closed the encore with a blazing extended jam of their (arguably) largest hit, “1901”. In between, Phoenix played every infectiously danceable track from their most recent album, 2009’s stellar Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, with a few older tracks, including “Too Young” and “Consolation Prizes” mixed in. They did manage to slow things down for a mellow cover of Air’s “Playground Love” and threw in a 1960’s French song in homage to their homeland.

Their spectacular light show only added to the high energy atmosphere and was choreographed perfectly with the music.  The band’s set was incredibly tight, which is probably due to the fact that they’ve been playing nearly the same show for the past year. So while those who caught their show during one of Phoenix’s recent Twin Cities visits may have been let down in the lack of variety, for us first-timers it was no disappointment.

Full Set List (via Star Tribune):

Lisztomania /  Lasso /  Consolation Prizes /  Long Distance Call /   Fences /  Girlfriend /  Armistice /  Love Like A Sunset Part I  and Part II  /  Rally /  Countdown  /  Rome /  Funky Squaredance       ENCORE:  Playground Love  /    ’60s French song /  Too Young  /  If I Ever Feel Better /  1901

Phoenix at the State Theatre

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