Twin Cities rap mixtape roundup, Vol. 1
Barely a high school graduate, Bobby Richardson aka Bobby Raps is already a proven battle rapper and producer, holding the title at Voices Merging MC Battle two years straight and being offered a slot at the last Soundset for the Last of the Record Buyers beat battle. The St. Paul native's recent tape "Gimme Daps" collects eight songs of meticulously crafted raps with rhyme schemes and style that seem both impressive and effortless.
Download "Bobby Raps - Gimme Daps"
One third of The Usual Suspects, I.B.E. (Intelligent Black Enterprise) has been accelerating his solo career recently, dropping videos and mixtapes in anticipation of This That and the Third, his first full-length LP produced entirely by local beatmaker Benzilla. "Holdin Somethin," featuring Dodi Phy, comes from his latest "That Tape," a 13-track mixtape that showcases the rising star's powerful presence on the mic over a string of soulful beats.
Download "I.B.E. - That Tape"
2010's Deaf to the Static was Culture Cry Wolf MC Botzy's opportunity to step out on his own, but his latest solo efforts involve many more people than simply himself. Pulled together from 2 years worth of making music with his friends, "My Friends and I" is an eclectic rap effort that feels loose and fun while maintaining Botzy's signature honesty and poetics. With help from Spyder Baybie affiliate 2% Muck, Botzy turns the distorted electronic beat of "We Good" into a spaced-out party jam for the not-too-distant future.
Download "Botzy - My Friends And I"
Duenday seemed excited about their collaboration with producer Art Vandelay, a three-song mixtape that MCs In2wishin and Initial MC seem to slide into comfortably. The beats are amalgams of old-school funk and jazz that Duenday give their brand of positive and fun-loving hip-hop for a quick but punchy effort worth checking out.
Download "Duenday Meets Art Vandelay"
All members of Illuminous 3 have maintained solid individual identities by releasing solo material in addition to crew albums and performing live as single MCs. Here, Ill 3 MC Freez steps forward with a mixtape "You Are Here," produced by Mike Frey, to highlight his skills as a writer and spitter. The tape features appearances from P.O.S., Mictlan, Kanser, and Ill 3 compatriots Mavin MC and Franz Diego, but Freez is still the standout as he shines with internal rhymes, smooth vocals, and proof of his time-tested Southside styles.
Download "Freez & Mike Frey - You Are Here"
Long D.O.E. Records representatives Mike the Martyr and Aquafresh turn drinking giant goblets of incredibly alcoholic punch at the Red Dragon into a mystical, cinematic adventure by sampling kung-fu movies and down-tempo soul records, and spitting tunes about their lives as Minneapolis rap mainstays. "In Search of the Wonderous Punch" can be found on Mike the Martyr's blog, which shows off Long D.O.E.'s trademark hustle with a backlog of free album downloads, a weekly freestyle over classic beats, and video excerpts from high-profile shows. This joint with free man Tony Bones displays the chemistry of the underground legends at their peak.
Download "Mike the Martyr and Aquafresh - In Search of the Wonderous Punch"
Currently on tour as part of the Coughee Brothaz North with Devin the Dude, Metasota is a powerful rapper with a strong freestyle background and an ear for beats. "Meta & Reeg Make A Mixtape" is packed with songs that highlight Meta's tight flow: "15 Minutes" is a highlight that uses funky guitar lines and vocal hooks along with shifting time structures to accentuate the rapper's innate grasp of rhythm and wordplay.
Download "Meta & Reeg Make A Mixtape"
Greg Grease's The Giving Tree, a mixtape which feels more like a proper album, with 16 tracks and a cohesive overall sound. Hidden in the chilled out beats and weed smoke is an album that discusses racial tensions, personal freedoms and the ways politics effect our day to day lives. The Usual Suspects member dropped his album on 4/20, appropriately enough, as the album basically defines the term "productive pothead."