The best 14 Minnesota based free albums you may have missed.

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

KnoX is a humble dude, with a thoughtful process and his music reflects that. Martyr Music is the raw follow-up from his soul-driven KnoX Tale. It features Gene Poole,  Mike the Martyr, and many more.

 

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

Swagger Wagon courtesy of Fill in the Breaks and Ecid was one of my favorite releases from FITB in 2011. It features Awol One, Derril Pounds and Leif(Kolt).

 

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.

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The Valentines Day list for lovers and bitter exes.

When it comes to the holiday of love it seems like musicians have a lot to say. Last year, I compiled a list of songs and videos artists released for Valentines day. This year it seems that everyone went through even more sh*t and made even more music. Some fell in love, some got over exes, and some were just plain bitter. Regardless of where you stand on the hallmark created lovefest, there’s something for you in this compilation. Enjoy, and please, don’t drunk dial tonight.

 

Brother Ali’s “Bite Marked Heart” Free EP

 

 

Estelle – “Thank You”

 

Ganzobean – “My Heart Is Yours”

 

The Weeknd – “Echoes of Silence“, “House of Balloons“, and “Thursday

(These are all older, but they are all perfect Valentines day soundtracks)

 

 

Phresh James – “Universal Lve Period

 

 

Too Short made a video for all those players out there who don’t know how to handle their multiple dates:

 

Radical Something – “Valentine (Cut Me Loose)”:

New video Tuesday! With Stophouse and Rhymesayers!

Two of the best known, most respected labels in the metro area just released music videos. RSE dropped I Self Devine’s “Sweat Equity” off his new mixtape “L.A. State Of Mind” (which you can conveniently download here) and Stophouse dropped Prof’s “Gampo” off of his album “King Gampo” (which if you’ve been hiding under a rock and haven’t downloaded yet, you can download here)

I Self Devine – Sweat Equity:

Prof – Gampo:

Carnage’s Dedication to Eyedea

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.

 

I Self Devine album announcement

Those of you who follow Rhymesayers have probably heard his previous album “Before I Self Destruct”, which was released in 2005 and in case you didn’t know, it’s also amazing. He hasn’t released an album since, so this is huge news. Watch his big announcement here: