The steady summer heat hasn’t put a stop on the creative flow of several rap, hip-hop and R&B artists from both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here’s a list of local hit-makers to consider as you craft playlists for the beach, long drives to the cabin, the gym, or all the above.
St. Paul dweller Nimic Revenue is making noise with her crooning approach and overall melodious sound. Her unique vibe can be compared to the combination of the catchiness of a Dej Loaf hook, the unpredictability of Lil Yachty’s flow and the rhythmic qualities Stefflon Don’s music.
In her latest drop, she gets personal by sharing her “2nd Thoughts” about a love interest. Over the electronic, bubbly R&B beat, Nimic describes the back-and-forth thinking that we’ve all had about putting our faith in someone new, “I got issues giving trust that I know I won’t get back,” she sings.
In both her joint “Skii Goggle **FROZEN** “(locally produced by Frankie Bash and SinGrinch), and her most played track “Sk8Board Flex” (sitting at 26,500 streams and counting), Nimic shines both through her distinct take on trap and with all the ice she rhymes about.
- Photo by Essien Akan
Minneapolis based singer-songwriter Keny Grey infuses soul and R&B influences to create his own wave.
Last month, he dropped two tracks to get you in your feels, or simply take in his melty vocals, as he describes better days ahead in “Golden” and getting out of the rut of a boring routine in “A to B.” In his project released earlier this year called World Wants, Grey carries the same honesty in his lyricism and passion as he sings over guitar-infused or electronic instrumentals.
In addition to his original music, Keny also uploads the occasional cover song to YouTube. On his channel you can find well-thought out interpretations of Alessia Cara’s “I’m Yours” and NSYNC’s “God Must Have Spent,” as Keny both sings and signs all the lyrics in American Sign Language.
- Photo by Jake Magnuson
Minneapolis rapper Mpls Drew is a repeat competitor at Shut Up and Rap who has displayed versatility through each cycle. He goes from turning up to tapping-into more serious topics, similar to the way Big Sean has comfortably goes from “IDFWU” to “One Man Can Change The World,” all on one album.
Drew’s party bop “Bounce” is exactly what will get any bonfire kickback going, while his latest drop “Listen” taps into political injustices. In it he expresses feeling uncomfortable with shootings that happen to innocent people around him.
- Photo by @oskar.me
St. Paul’s K-Sno’s latest single “5PM” also covers the woes of gun violence amongst other firsthand experiences of trial and error. Through the entire track, Sno recites a monologue-style, nearly 4-minute long verse about homicide, a deadbeat father, owing money on loans, and still steady grinding.
Before this single, he released a project last year called Perception that’s packed with even more confident, clear storytelling. The opening track “Mirrors” sets the tone for the self-reflective album. In it, K-Sno shows the dichotomy of who he is and how others see him, with one standout lyric being, “I don’t rap about drugs, so the hood don’t look up to me.” His consistency and confidence in who he is make K-Sno one to watch this season.
- Photo by Anya Elsebai
Minneapolis-based Camline has an experimental approach to both his vocal delivery and instrumentals he creates.
In his acoustic guitar infused track, “The Train,” he paints the train of thoughts that run through his mind as he lies awake in bed, from a gorgeous girl to a hypothetical situation of jumping on the train he can hear in the near-distance. He sings the first part in his comforting light, yet raspy voice, then poetically sing-raps the second half.
This month, Camline put out two tracks that are just as unpredictable. In “Moonlit” he gives an emotional take on being over someone who once meant a lot over a chaotic, yet contained beat. In contrast, “Apple Orchard,” tells a story that is drowned out by a more airy, upbeat instrumental. Although, you can barely make out more than five words, the two tracks released together as one entity makes sense, as the urgency of “Moonlit” and relaxed delivery of “Apple Orchard” creates a perfect balance.