A month’s worth of recapping.

So apparently I follow this trend of creating lots and lots of interviews, lists and posts at one sporadic time. This tends to mean I (or in this case, you the reader) miss out on lots of releases, videos and all kinds of good stuff. This post offers an apology for those gaps of time and also a compilation of some of the best stuff you may have missed in the last month. Thanks for reading, or subscribing if you do and thanks even more for your patience!

Guante ft. Graham O’brien – “This is the opposite of a suicide note remix”

Minneapolis-based hip hop artist, 2-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator GUANTE teams up with drummer and producer GRAHAM O’BRIEN (of No Bird Sing, Prey for Paralysis, Junkyard Empire) for this remix of one of Guante’s most memorable songs.

“This is the Opposite of a Suicide Note” is a war cry, a manifesto, an acknowledgement that as bad as things can get, there is always hope and power in community.

Guante & Big Cats! will release “You Better Weaponize” in Fall 2012.  Guante’s next show is at the Cedar Cultural Center on July 26, part of the Cedar’s “Cedar Outdoors” series. Graham O’Brien is currently writing, producing and performing on a number of projects, including the follow-up to his 2011 solo release “Live Drums” and the 3rd album from No Bird Sing. In addition, he and audio engineer Adam Krinsky have teamed up to build and open “Bellows,” a new recording and mixing studio in downtown St. Paul.  Graham is performing next at St. Paul’s “Music In Mears” with No Bird Sing on August 9 at Mears Park in St. Paul.


3flection – “Rejuvenation”

“Rejuvenation” is the lead single off of 3flection’s next EP “Doses Of Reality” which will be available for free on July 30, 2012. Video by F5 Entertainment, beat by hala-X.



Aer – “Floats My Boat”


Sab the Artist ft. Ganzobean – “Love Is In The Air”

Here’s the first track from Love Is In Air 2 titled “Love Is In The Air”. Written and performed by Sab The Artist. Produced by Ganzobean.


Trouble B – “On My Way To Mars”


Aesop Rock – “ZZZ Top”

Directed by Pete Lee
Produced by Lizzie Rose
Exec Prod: Aesop Rock
Dir. of Photography: Drew Daniels
Sound Design: Matteo Grilli
Starring Aesop Rock + Hao Zhi Hua aka Patti Li,
Zumbi, Dennis Ruel, Edward Kahana, Vlad Rimburg, Lucas Okuma, Alvin Hsing, Bryan Cartago


Exxe – “The Broke & Gifted”


The Tribe and Big Cats – “Space”

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Kool Keith – “Goodbye Rap”


Errol ft. Engineers In Your Ears – “Utopiugly”


Hurricane J – “Out of Place”


Papa J – “Props To The Mob”

With the release of his mixtape “Life As I Know It” right around the corner, Papa J. brings his fourth official music video since joining The Movement. His lyrical word play continues to set the bar for the modern day MC, keep an eye out on his mixtape dropping real soon!


Homeless ft. K.Raydio – “Get Gone”


Yonas – “The Transition”


Chris Goodwin – “Night Owl EP”

Instrumental EP from uglegends FB contributor Chris Goodwin. This man knows good music.


OnePlusOne (a.k.a. Dispute-One and Orikal Uno) – “Homework Volume 1”

OnePlusOne presents: Homework Volume One

The long awaited mix-tape from Dispute One and Orikal Uno. Mixed and blended by D’Jo of Slipmats Radio


I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff I missed so feel free to add in the comments or e-mail me! Lot’s more coming today so heads up for subscribers, your inbox is going to be blown up.

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.

An interview with the hip-hop revivalist: Orikal Uno

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.

Orikal Uno

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?

O: Sab The Artist, Prof, Mac Lethal and Dispute One (a/k/a Extreme) – I have my reasons for each of them.

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.

You can download lots of his music (most for free) on his bandcamp site, and stay up to date with his facebook fanpage and twitter @OrikalUno