'Double Black Album' Guy Cuts MN Rap Who's-Who

Categories: Local Music
Cheap Cologne.jpg
"Nobody's mad that this CD is coming out," says Minneapolis hip-hop producer and DJ Cheap Cologne about his latest album, Something Random (Broke-Ass Records). "There's no illegal mashups or anything." "For a change," he might have added. Rarely recognized at shows, Cologne's name is known around the world for combining Jay-Z's The Black Album and Metallica's self-titled "black album" as 2004's The Double Black Album, which has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times since being made available for free at Bannedmusic.org. (Jay-Z even said it gave him the idea to work with Linkin Park.)...


The Recording Industry Association of America sent Cologne a cease-and-desist letter shortly after the mashup appeared, but later called to say they'd made a mistake. Even James Hetfield gave the thumbs up. "There's some creative minds out there putting things together," he told Canada's CanWest News Service.

Cologne, who won't give his real name beyond "John K," grew up in South Minneapolis, breakdancing and listening to Slayer. He says that, along with future New Orleans Saint Sean Lumpkin, he was one of two kids b-boying at Annunciation School in the early '80s. At a recent house party, he could be seen inducing a wince or three when he persuaded the DJ to play his homemade Nirvana-meets-Ludacris (and -Snoop Dogg, and -Jay-Z) remix disc. The man can't help himself.

His new disc, however, is more about the voice talent. (Check out his Myspace page for more music.) Out-of-towners such as Pigeon John and Spearhead's Azeem appear on lushly orchestrated tracks alongside a cross-section of hot locals--I Self Devine, Desdamona, Mazta I, Capaciti, and many more. These songs were recorded casually, among friends, and over time. But the results are required listening for fans of any of the above. And a Truth Maze-hosted CD release party on Saturday at the Dinkytowner might be the most talent-rich local hip-hop event of the year.

"Everybody that's on my CD, with the exception of Capaciti, has been around Minneapolis doing things for years," says Cologne. "Carnage and Out of Bounds, Unknown Prophets and Kanser, they've been performing in front of sometimes 40 people for ten years now. Basically we're just all starving artists trying to make a living doing what we want to do."

Cheap Cologne and Capaciti perform with many of the above hip-hoppers Saturday, November 5 at the Dinkytowner; 612.362.0437.



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