Top 20 best Minnesota rappers: #10-1

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10> Mictlan
Origin: Minneapolis/Hopkins/Los Angeles | Active: 2001 - present | Songs: "Prizefight," "Game Over," "Clam Casino"
Mictlan is the hardest, fastest, and most abstract member of the Doomtree crew, spitting mile-a-minute verses that effortlessly destroy any beat thrown his way. Doomtree have worked to maintain individual identities while still coalescing as one, and Mictlan manages this balance startlingly well, crafting legitimately heartfelt torchlight tracks with style when you know he'd rather be articulating a verbal massacre. At times he's strikingly poignant; at others he's so beyond our scope at such a pace as to be hard to follow. Either way, Mictlan is always a menace and forever a joy to see in action. --Jack Spencer
MaLLy_Anthony_Brandenburg.jpg
Photo by Anthony Brandenburg
9> MaLLy
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 2007-present | Songs: "Shine," "The Renaissance," and "Heir Time"
It's easy to root for the guy so intent on putting in the work. MaLLy's not only honed a consumable flow that's akin to Pharoahe Monch's intensity and lyricism, but the guy has a charisma that balances the knowledge that he's a talented guy and a lingering humility that this fact is still percolating. With the release of The Last Great... and last year's Free on the 15th, he caps a productive couple of years working with producer the Sundance Kid. Together, they answer that question, "Will the throne be mine?" It's not whether, it's when. --Reed Fischer

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TrinaAnn
8> Carnage the Executioner
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 1996-present | Songs: "Star Destroyer" and "Hunger"
It's hard to know where to even begin with someone like Carnage. He's more than just a rapper; he's a one-man DJ-sampler-producer-and-MC, plus hype man, hit man, and whatever the hell else he finds time for. The most unique of those different talents is his beat-boxing, and it's plenty jaw-dropping at that: as if through slight of hand, Carnage conjures entire songs with his vocal chords (and more than a little bit of chutzpah). It's the sort of thing that not only makes him a must-see live performer, but also the most dangerous guest spot this side of the Mississippi. Of course, with all that said, it's almost possible to overlook Carnage's absurd skill as a straight-up rapper -- but not quite; he might not show it off like he used to, but no one spins a tighter, faster, deadlier rhyme than the Executioner. --Jeff Gage

Crescent_Moon_Ryan_Siverson.jpg
Photo by Ryan Siverson
7> Crescent Moon
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 1995 - present | Songs: "Mighty Fine," "Moonshine," and "7-8-9"
From his beginnings as part of the pioneering group Oddjobs to his current turn as frontman for the avant-garde duo Kill the Vultures, Crescent Moon has proven himself as both a skilled traditional MC and an innovative envelope pusher. His early work was rooted in the freestyle scene he came up in, and remains engaging to this day, but his current output with abrasive producer Anatomy is striking in a way that's closer to beat poetry than breakbeats. The tight rhyming and simple cadence remains intact but everything has gotten more intense and claustrophobic. The experimentation wouldn't work half as well without Crescent Moon's veteran experience in the art of rapping. All told, Crescent Moon has been involved in some of the most forward-thinking and respected rap music our scene has ever produced. --Jack Spencer
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114 comments
skunksauce
skunksauce

Where's Moonshine, Greenbaxxx, Lil' Young Baby, Cornbreezy, Slim Pickins, B-EZ, Lil' B.I. and Dirty Stax? All top 10. 

erin
erin

Who are these people that don't think Ali is top 2?  Undebateable.  Slug vs. Ali can go down to personal pref, but they are top 2 -- and head & shoulders above the rest.

SteamRoller
SteamRoller

What about the not so famous rapper that hit lil Zach with the car?

Mpls Music .com
Mpls Music .com

This is a rare time that I actually go through and read a lot of things here. but I think there is a much bigger point to make here.

Whether you agree with the list or not, or whatever the intentions are of breaking this up into 2 sections and 6 pages, (a no-no usability and major annoyance in my book...) the fact is that it has received a lot of discussions, and overall that is a good thing -- that people can discuss with each other honestly.

When Slug is quoted to say this city is "over-saturated" I don't think he meant that literally, what he meant was that people are too afraid to, or too politically motivated -- to talk to each other HONESTLY and give proper feedback, and THAT is why it's saturated. If you're afraid of unnecessary repercussions for being honest or just saying you don't like it, then why would you say anything.

If people can discuss and learn to be more honest with each other, and let go of the politics, the crews, the hype, the ego, and the bullshit, and just realize why we're here in the first place, this scene will continue to grow in positive directions like it should be doing, and that the most important part of it all and why we're here in the first place, is the music.... period.-M

Mplsiluvhiphop
Mplsiluvhiphop

My top 10 would be something like this, order a little negotiable:Brother AliEyedea SlugCarnageDesdamonaI Self DivineP.O.S.MallyKristoff KraneBig Zack/Unicus

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

Just one more rant...

How can the maker of this list honestly put "watch out" as one of Atmosphere's top songs?? Really? Watch out? I dont think i'd have that in his top 100 songs lol.Couldn't have gone with "Say Hey There", or perhaps "God Loves Ugly"? so many other greats, not watch out. ridiculous, this list is.

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

And let me be the frist to say...

Sims should be in the top 5 of this list, easily. Lyrical genius.

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

Just because Eyedea is dead doesen't make him better than slug.

And if Ali is better than slug, how come Atmosphere headlines Soundset every year, and brother ali sint even performing there anymore?

p.s. Kristoff Krane, Cecil Otter.

fuck St. Paul slim. dude is so wack.

Jean
Jean

Where is the brilliant Desdamona, macho boys ? Maybe too good to be featured in the frenzy of lists

DrugsRuinLivesHomie
DrugsRuinLivesHomie

" but one of his most underrated qualities was when he asked you "How was your day?" he actually listened and cared about your answer, which then would turn into a three-hour conversation about life, music, or whatever." You obviously didnt know Mikey, Lars. The reason he would do that, talk to you for three hours is because he was high on drugs, and that is why he's dead. Drugs. Great talent, good person, but a junkie for the last few years of his life non the less. Dickrider.

Djwickit
Djwickit

Slug is one of the best rappers from anywhere.  Brother Ali, is super dope though.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not salty about that pick.  But Slug transcends hip hop, music, and all of the boundaries.  He is an author, and one of the most amazing talents of our time.  #EndFanboyRant

Grebmar
Grebmar

Can you just put these all on one page? You do know the internet goes down as far as you can scroll, right? 

Druid
Druid

Dessa has no place on this list. Average writer, mediocre singer, awful rapper. But she's cute, right? Go girls!

Tpurhs
Tpurhs

Long Doe ENT is the "only" real headz in town !

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

How is Brother Ali better than Slug?

Or Eyedea?

or anyone from Doomtree?

Show me better songs by him, that are better than all of the latter's great songs.

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

This list is foolish.

1. Slug (duh)2. P.O.S.3. Eyedea4. Sims5. Cecil Otter6. Dessa7. Kristoff Krane

haha, just anyone but St. Paul slim. He can't rap worth shit.

Joe Billinger
Joe Billinger

Definitely have to include Big Zach, Kristoff Krane, and Cecil Otter.  Other then that, the list is not bad.  Everybody has a different opinion on ranking but we are very lucky to have this problem here in the Twin Town.  

Joshg42
Joshg42

1. Slug2. Eyewear3. Ali

That's it. Everyone else is filler.

Nobody
Nobody

Here's some honesty.  As a musician who plays with a live band hip-hop group that has consistently been shunned by the Twin Cities press while receiving nothing but glowing reviews across the country, fronted by one of the most profound rappers to hit the scene in decades, the biggest  problem with this list is that the higher you go up, the less musically interesting the artists get.  St. Paul Slim?  Are you serious?  And don't even get me started on Brother Ali.  For some very predictable reasons that I will not go into, every word out of that brother's mouth is treated as hipper than any other rapper.  It often appears he thinks that too.  I have played along side Truthmaze, Eyedea, Kristoff Krane, and Carnage, and Brother Ali would not stand a chance on stage against any of them.  And I don't think Ali could hang with my band for a second, and that if we shared the stage with him, the audience would be wondering who the headliner really was.  And it ain't got nothin to do with us being a full band and him only using a DJ.  I've seen Guante slay a live band A CAPPELLA.  

In any case, rating rappers on some linear list is stupid.  Mos Def versus Sage Francis.  Organized Confusion versus Dead Prez.  Hard to find winners in any of those matchups.  But any of them against Brother Ali, and you immediately see how farcical this list really is.  The lower you go down the list, the closer you get to people who could really hold their own against the masters.Note to City Pages:  Your lists are rarely relevant to the actual extent of talent present in the Twin Cities.  You are predictable, hipster hacks who constantly engage in half-assed music journalism.  You are more interested in discovering the next great band or artist, instead of focused upon uncovering the talent to begin with.  Grow up please, and stop waiting for the bands and artists to come to you.  You need to go to them.  It's your damn job.

Mplsiluvhiphop
Mplsiluvhiphop

He performed last year, and they host because they started Rhymesayers and have the most say! DUH 

Mplsiluvhiphop
Mplsiluvhiphop

She's number 12 - if you go to the list of 11 - 20 

anonymous
anonymous

not true... Mike generally talked at length when he was not using substances.... When he was, he tended to not be as personable. You have no idea as to what he may have been struggling with and it's disconcerting to see people perpetuating the stigmatization and judgment that pervade this issue. Don't pretend to know someone you don't.

Mplsiluvhiphop
Mplsiluvhiphop

To say that Mikey was nice because of Drugs is a HUGE insult!  I hope you get struck down by lightening!!!!! 

KDUBMorningShow
KDUBMorningShow

A LIL' DIDDY FROM ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING TALENTS OF OUR TIME.QUEUE GENERIC GUITAR RIFF:

If she want it

I'm gonna give it up

if she running low

I'm gonna fill her cup

if it spill, chill, Imma clean it up

I'll be right here cause she's enough

if she needed the money

I would stick you up

if she's getting bored

I do some different stuff

don't need anything just keep it up

I'll be right here cause she's enough

--

she hop out and push if the motors dead

she gotta keep it moving with no regret

she's up in my head, but never oversteps

she let me know when it's time for us to go to bed

she's may lady case closed

she want a baby so I gave her one of those

belly getting big, look at the tits grow

she want a song so I wrote one and it goes

--

MOST PROFOUND MF'ing POETRY EVER!! FOR REAL YO!! DEEP INTELLECTUALS IN MN!! F'ing ZOMBIES!!

Mpls Music .com
Mpls Music .com

 I suggest you actually listen to her work instead of making assumptions. please, go ahead and quote anything that she's written and recorded that is just mediocre or average. you can't because you haven't actually listened to it.

Go ahead, I've got time, I'll wait.

Mplsiluvhiphop
Mplsiluvhiphop

Doomtree sucks!  Brother Ali just has a voice that some people love! And he's not all Emo! 

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

 how does St. Paul slim even MAKE this list? or any list for that matter! He is the epitome of a terrible rapper.

nobody else
nobody else

i'm with you.  this list, city pages, and the current can all suck my nuts.  fuck this city and this bullshit scene.  it's all one big fuckin' circle jerk.  go fuck yourselves.  "oh just look at our fair city! just brimming with talent we are!  Nowhere else in the world can you find such talent! every band in this city is just perfect!"  when in reality half the bands mother fuckers praise and build up are fuckin' absolute shit.  and i don't mean to go all jordan gatesmith on everybody, because that dude's a twat, but for real.  fuck all this shit.

Mpls Music .com
Mpls Music .com

 Well said, friend! btw, I'd be glad to listen to and / or cover whatever I could do if you'd like to send me stuff or at least let me know about it. I love supporting local artists, (often turning down out-of-state requests) and set a goal a long time ago, to try and change that frustrating worn out mentality that CP is often known for. It probably doesn't apply to everyone on the CP staff, and whether it's completely true or not, there is a negative perception that people have that immediately makes people not take anything they have to say seriously, and rightfully so.

Sadly it seems CP doesn't much care what people think or perhaps they would have made steps a long time ago to change things. They certainly have the resources to do so, and all these lists aren't making it any better either... I think it's just an easy way out, and I don't think there's a single comment here that says they totally agree, so CP should definitely be taking notes from the community instead of trying act like TMZ.

I'm surprised almost every day with how much people appreciate the little things like replying to emails or syncing band pages, or just generally showing respect to people that work hard every day. It's like nobody has ever done that before, and I guess it's true... I do my own thing pretty much full time and then some, and I'm not even getting paid!Feel free to email me, mike -at- mplsmusic.com you certainly won't be shunned by me. peace!-M

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

If he were a better rapper than slug, whouldn't he be the headliner of Soundset?

but h's not. He's not even performing.so yeah.

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

but he isnt performing and has never headlined, so how is he better than slug?

Druid
Druid

Oh, you're right.  I have never watched her drag down the rest of her crew or rap her entire verse off beat or sing a chorus completely off key.  You like what you like.  It's subjective.  I'm in the camp that thinks she's overrated.  For a writer yourself, you aren't showing much objectivity or clarity.

Nice page, though.  You do a good job highlighting starving artists that need all the help they can get, but really dude, chill. 

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

Brother ali is wack, yo. name 3 songs by ali that even compare to a Doomtree/individiual doomtree member's songs.

Mpls Music .com
Mpls Music .com

I've known Dessa for awhile, and literally had her latest solo album Cantor, The Twin, in my car rotation for months and months now and I'm still not sick of it. If you have just heard her live and never actually listened to her recorded works, you are sorely missing out. pure poetry.... "like a bull in the china shop, there's a china doll in the bull pen..."

Guest
Guest

If Doomtree wasn't from here you wouldn't even listen to them.

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

ok Durid, lets hear how better you are at Rapping/making music....

I'm waiting.

Mpls Music .com
Mpls Music .com

I think the irony is.. that in order to understand intelligent lyrics, you actually have to be intelligent...

BryantMckinnieVenusWilliams
BryantMckinnieVenusWilliams

She ain't special, there are many rappers whose recorded works kick da shit outta their live performances. That's why pencils have erasers. Also, she ain't no china doll nor a relief pitcher. It is possible that she is a bovine. Mooooooooooooo, cantor, mooooooooooo, the twin...

Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ
Ǻpöļłǿ Ŵãbǿ

but Brother Ali is from here, and I dont listen to him? so i dont understand your logic.

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