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
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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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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

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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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