Courtesy of Fill in the Breaks, crew member and dope MC Ecid is doing something special for the fans. For a limited time (until July 4th) you can download his album “100 Smiles and Runnin'” for free. You can also support him by purchasing the physical album along with a t-shirt, win-win if you ask me. Stream “100 Smiles and Runnin'” below and you can decide:
With the easy accesibility to microphones, recording equipment and youtube, practically everyone is making some kind of music. This isn’t bound to the state of Minnesota, but recently it’s become a widely talked about topic here. It is tough to weed out the gems from the mediocre especially with new music being released daily. Here are a few albums that very talented artists whom call Minnesota have put out for free that you may have overlooked.
1. PROF – King Gampo
If you haven’t been living under a rock since early 2011, you’ve probably heard this album. But just in case you haven’t it features Rhymesayers staple Brother Ali, MTV’s Riff Raff and production from Ant of Atmosphere.
2. Reeves Junya – Music Is My Girlfriend
With features from Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover), Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, Rocky Diamonds and a slew of other great locals Reeves’ sophomore solo release followed up “Why Isn’t This An Album?” with fury. Download “Music Is My Girlfriend” for free here.
3. Kristoff Krane – fanfaronade
With a “Buy it now” price on his bandcamp you can feel free to pay as you like, or download it free. He recently did an interview with the City Pages Gimme Noise blog about the album. It features Crescent Moon, Sage Francis, Sadistik, Buck 65, Illogic, and more.
4. I Self Devine – LA State of Mind
Though the album is titled LA State of Mind, I Self Devine is a St. Paul, Minnesota native and one of the few well-known emcees from the east side of the river. This free ep was released for free courtesy of Rhymesayers in part as a promotional effort for his amazing album The Sound of Low Class Amerika.
5. KnoX – Martyr Music
6. Freez & Mike Frey/Mike Frey – You Are Here/Burnt Out
These are two people who are extremely underrated in the music scene. I’m really not sure why because Mike Frey is a great producer with beats ranging from funky, low-rider types to beautiful symphony infused jazz and Freez has a way with words and honesty with a powerful tone. “You Are Here” features P.O.S., Mike Mictlan, Mavin MC, Big Zach, Unicus, Alicia Steele and Franz Diego. “Burnt Out” includes features from Greg Greese, Alicia Steele, Just Nine, and a couple more tracks with Freez.
7. Ecid – Swagger Wagon
8. Mike the Martyr & Aquafresh – In Search of the Wonderous Punch
This comes from Minneapolis based label Long D.O.E. producer/emcee Mike the Martyr and California emcee Aquafresh. This album was featured on the Source’s website, which says a lot about it from the get-go. With the production quality and lyrical play they bring it makes sense why they were an obvious choice for the handful of Minnesota based acts at Soundset this year. Download “In Search of the Wonderous Punch” here.
9. O-Lay & Diatonic – Meanwhile
O-Lay & Diatonic are a group I heard about not too long ago, thanks to JK Clothing. What I heard I really enjoyed, and kept listening then they released this and now have a solidified fan. You can expect a lot more from these two in years to come.
10. Homeless – Patience Makes Lighter
The first time I saw Homeless was back in 2010 when he opened for Prof at the Varsity Theater with Just Riley as the group Mnemosyne. I really enjoyed his openness, self-depreciation, and vocabulary. This is an older release but definitely recommended for one of those dark, artsy, rainy days.
11. Botzy/VA – My Friends and I/The Best Love is Free Vol. 3
Botzy, who is the front man/rapper for the Minneapolis group Culture Cry Wolf proves to be an impressive one man act on his solo album “My Friends and I”. Like many other artists on this list Botzy is honest and not afraid to share how he’s feeling. His album features Wesley Opus, 2% Muck, a track with Culture Cry Wolf and many more. The Best Love is Free is an annual event held every year at The Fineline Music Cafe to celebrate love, music, art and all of the wonderful things life has to offer. Every year they bring great live acts out to perform and they also as a bonus, put together a musical compilation of artists with passion. The latest years album features St. Paul Slim/Last Triumph, Astronautalis with Tegan Quin (From Tegan and Sarah), Mayda, Polica, Wize Guyz, Sean Anon, Soulcrate Music, Kristoff Krane, Prof, MaLLy, Culture Cry Wolf and many more.
12. Orikal Uno – +1
This is one of many of Orikals free releases on his bandcamp page, and it was hard to choose which to post. I highly suggest checking out more of his stuff if you enjoy these tracks. Orikal Uno’s +1 album features Sab the Artist (A.K.A. Musab), Mac Lethal, and Prof.
13. Tavonte Woods – Patiently Waitin’
At the young age of 17 Tavonte Woods embodies drive and motivation. He recently performed with KiD InK and is scheduled to perform with Kirko Bangz this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is Minnesota’s “Next Up”. Download “Patiently Waitin'” here.
14. Duenday – Duenday
Duenday represents the sunny-side of hip-hop, with funky beats that force you to tap your toes and nod your head or command you to get up and dance. Their self titled solo album is currently available for free via their bandcamp site and it features Sean Anon, Lipset, Unicus, Manny Phesto, and Big Zach.
There are plenty other great albums out there I myself may have overlooked, if you feel that’s the case leave a suggestion in the comment section.
Orikal Uno (whom has been voted Saint Paul’s best kept secret for the TCHHA/Twin Cities Hip-Hop Awards in previous years) has remained somewhat a local secret but is beginning to earn the cred he has been deserving of. He is one of the few rappers I know in constant “grind-mode”, whether it be painting murals, performing at local venues, or recording some new track, with some other local geniuses. The man is busy and has a lot to show for his hard work. An artist who you should put, and keep on your radar for years to come. Ladies and gents’ met Orikal Uno, the man with the plan to bring hip-hop back to its true roots with passion and determination.
UG: What is your first memory of the Twin Cities hip-hop scene?
O: Probably the first time I painted a train. I was a pre-teen and surrounded by hip-hop heads. As far as the music goes, my homies were the first Rhymesayers street team, and a Micranots show is one of my memories at the 7th street entry. I was probably 12 years old at the time and it was an all ages show.
UG: How did you get your start as an artist?
O: I had this little karaoke machine that took cassette tapes. I’d put on my favorite songs and record my raps on that thing. From there, I got a keyboard that would play pre-recorded drum-loops, and we’d do songs over that. I got my first digital microphone from a game I got at the dollar store. I used that mic and Magix Music Studio for my first 2 albums haha. One channel would record as nothing but noise, and one channel was vocals. So I learned how to copy and paste the “voice” channel over the “noise” channel when I was like 13 for clearer vocals.
UG: Tell me a little about your label, Graff Roots Media.
O: I established Graff Roots in 2006. The name comes from how I got involved in hip-hop music, which was via graffiti. I treat music like graff, get your name everywhere, paint/write with different artists, and do the best work you possibly can with what you got at the most high-profile spots.
I don’t really consider us a “record label” – more like a collective of artists that represent Music, Art, Culture and Style. We got some plans up our sleeve for the next year, and if executed properly it’ll do very good things for hip-hop here in Minnesota. We’re more of a movement than a label. We’re B-Boys and B-Girls progressing/preserving the culture and keeping that true hip-hop relevant. I like to consider us the last of a dying breed, that we’re hoping to revive.
UG: What projects do you currently have in the works?
O: My debut studio album “Uno” dropped last year. I teamed up with Dispute One and we go by “OnePlusOne” – We have a mixtape done and recorded, we’re just waiting for the final mix/blend from our DJ. Once we get that, we’ll be releasing that free. Orikal&Ganzobean have had a complete album recorded and in the vault for a while now. I also have albums almost complete with Chris Goodwin and West End Productions. Besides that, I’m working on a project with Adbeatz out of Chicago. As well as a mixtape with Tully Stockton. I stay busy in the studio.
UG: If you had to sell yourself in 3 songs or less, which 3 songs would you chose to represent your style?
O: “On This Day” – “Get Away (So Stressed Out)” – “Rumfaced”
UG: Who do you consider and inspiration, and why?
O: In life, my Mom. She flipped her life around with very limited resources to raise me. Did it all on her own. I’m very proud of her. In music, a lot of great musicians from a lot of different genres have influenced me. Good music is my inspiration. As far as making dreams a reality, Rhymesayers are very inspirational with how they came up. Especially as a Minnesota kid. I watched them go from local to worldwide every step of the way.
UG: You’ve worked with a ton of amazing people, who were some of your favorites?
UG: Who do you dream of someday working with?
O: Prince. Quincy Jones. DJ Premiere. Twista. Dr. Dre. Devin The Dude. Slug and Ant.
UG: What is your biggest accomplishment?
O: Being the first of my family to get a college degree.
UG:Tell me about your thoughts on hip-hop today, vs the scene 10 years ago
O: It’s different in various ways. The internet is a major factor. Too many people have easy access to making music. I remember when studio time actually cost something, and people who were dead serious about music would practice for days on end for those couple of hours in the studio. Now it’s like anybody with a computer program can be comfortable with half-assing a song and wonder why they don’t have a fan base. I also feel like a lot of the values of the hip-hop I grew up in are fading away… Too many rappers rapping about nothing, not enough breakdancers honing their skills on the floor. I could ramble about this for days…
UG: What barriers are you most proud for overcoming?
O: Being able to freestyle, and having my own style in graffiti. 2 barriers i’d like to overcome are my stutter in interpersonal conversation, and my type-one diabetes. lol.
UG: What are your goals for your self and your music?
O: World domination. Comfortable income for me and those I care about. And never-ending progression in my music. Never bottoming out.
UG: What’s your advice for younger kids who want to get involved?
O: Study whatever culture you wish to be involved with. Learn who’s responsible for what you want to do and why they made it great. Be yourself and be proud of who you are. Respect your elders, but don’t be afraid or intimidated to surpass them, respectfully. Talk less and work more. If it’s rap, freestyle more. If it’s art, sketch/paint more. Stay humble. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just make sure you’re asking the right people. PAY YOUR DUES.
Don’t let the title fool you, Nobuddie is definitely not a nobody. He’s currently spawning into a Minnesota mainstay with a growing following, much like a young Prof. He’s been very active in the local show scene, performing with the likes of Joell Ortiz, Mac Lethal (multiple times), Culture Cry Wolf, St. Paul Slim, Face Candy, Long D.O.E., Ernest Rhodes, B.Dolan, Guante, Ecid, BK One, Mr. Dibbs, and countless others. His live shows are great, his charisma flies right off the stage and demands your attention. He took some time out of his busy schedule, following his first headlining show at 7th St. entry to do an interview for uglegends. Read a little more about the man behind the glasses who has enough audacity to call himself Nobuddie right here:
Hello, hello! As school has started and my free time has shrunk expect more quick music video updates such as this one and the one yesterday. Also, be on the look-out for a few more interviews in the next month. Up today is “Waggin On The Scene” from Franz Diego’s “Sense of Self”. (you can download previous albums/mixtapes from him and the whole Illuminous 3 crew here). The other video comes from Yelawolf and Kid Rock, for the song “Let’s Roll”.
Franz Diego – “Waggin On The Scene”:
Yelawolf ft. Kid Rock – “Let’s roll”:
Carnage The Executioner made a music video for his re-creation of the song “Star Destroyer” from the classic Eyedea & Abilities album “E&A“. The original version featured Carnage on the second verse. This song and video were recorded and created over a 4-day period in November 2011 both in dedication to the late, great Hip-Hop icon Micheal Larsen (Eyedea), and in celebration of his birthday (hence the amended title “Heaven’s Gate 11-9-11”). The entire song was re-created by Carnage The Executioner: All lyrics and vocal scratches were performed by Carnage. The music/beat was entirely beat boxed – the only instruments used were a tambourine and woodblocks.