Top 20 best Minnesota rappers: The complete list
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 2001-present | Songs: "Burn It Down"
One of the things--perhaps the thing--that works so well about the Doomtree juggernaut is how well it balances out the crew's different, but distinctive, personalities. Sims has his own unique space in that group, fitting somewhere between P.O.S.'s cerebral, skate-punk aggression and Mictlan's loose-cannon party-boy antics. There's something almost inscrutable about that mix, too: sure, there's a deep-seated anger that boils somewhere deep in Sims' raps, whether he's revealing the hypocrisy around him or his own complicit behavior. But somewhere beneath it all there's also a big soft, sappy core that just wants to love his girl. --Jeff Gage
13> Muja Messiah
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 2000 - present | Songs: "Get Fresh, "Leech Lake," and "Food"
The stereotype that emo backpackers rule the Minnesota rap scene is challenged by one of the hardest spitters to ever ink Minneapolis on their neck. Muja Messiah's brash early days with the firebrand group Raw Villa ("Minnesota started out on some old positive vibe; Villa was like the first fuck-you group," says Muja in a 2000 interview) live on in his solo work and new group Villa Rosa, and his sense of style and blunt force have not dulled even as his profile rises. His critically-acclaimed 2008 album Thee Adventures of a B-Boy D-Boy remains a local classic, exemplary of the cocky charisma, real-talk political diatribes, and multifaceted street narratives that have set him apart in this scene and abroad. --Jack Spencer
12> Toki Wright
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 2000-present | Songs: "More Fiya," "A Different Mirror," and "Focus"
Toki Wright began to make an imprint locally as one half of the C.O.R.E. before branching out on his own, and his time spent touring hard with Brother Ali and being involved with big festivals helped cement him as a major figure in the Minnesota rap scene. It's easy to see why: Toki's songs are powerful and his performances capture everything a rap show should be. Energetic, fun, thought-provoking and heavy-hitting, his wide range reflects the art of true MCing, aiming to both challenge your mind and move your feet. --Jack Spencer