Top 20 best Minnesota rappers: #20-11

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In 2012, rap music is as definitive a part of Minnesota lore as the Mall of America -- or anything else Muja Messiah name-checks in "Leech Lake" or Slug mentions in "Shhh." Names like Hip Hop High, Headshots, Rhymesayers, the Hip Hop Fest, Soundset, and more signify tangible pieces of a local culture that has been steadily growing for decades, and shows no sign of waning. A bevy of local musicians do more than their fair share to keep hip-hop alive and vital, and so they're the ones who figure into our top 20 Minnesota rappers. --Reed Fischer


20> Ice Rod
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 2003-present | Songs: "Your Body is a Sk8park" and "Camera Phone"
Michael "Ice Rod" Gaughan is the Andy Warhol of our rap generation. Before you die, you must witness an Ice Rod show. His flamboyant outfits and retro steez make him a walking art show. Ice Rod was "wag" even before the word existed, and he probably should be taking royalty credits for that shit. He currently is on the road with his "Chatroulette Dorm Room Freestyle Tour" which is even better than his days taking stage dressed like the Ultimate Warrior and rocking out on a double- or triple-neck guitar with half-naked girls dripping in gold. No one can match the creative genius that is Ice Rod, and if he ever completes that transfer to record, watch out Christian right-wingers. You might have a new enemy. --Lars Larson

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Photo by Clark Patrick
19> Prof
Origin: Minneapolis |Active: 2007-present | Songs: "Whiskey," "Myself," and "Rocketman"
"Grab a bottle of Jameson and put it in my face," is Jake "Prof" Anderson's version of pillow talk, and part of a lengthy conversation he's begun about his drinking and the partying that comes along with it. His latest solo album, King Gampo, has its share of serious moments too. Whether the versatile rapper is unloading his rapid-fire side, or taking a more soulful lean with his impressive singing voice, it's all in the spirit of engaging an audience -- even if they're likely to laugh at his expense. What they won't do is doubt his dexterity on the mic. --Reed Fischer

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Stophouse Music Group
18> St. Paul Slim
Origin: Saint Paul | Active: 2002-present | Songs: "Shut it Down" and "Horses in the Ghetto"
If hip-hop music is the CNN of the streets, then maybe that makes St. Paul Slim the Anderson Cooper of our rap scene. Slim is deadly series and truthful with the subject manner alerting heads that not everything is so great in the Land O' Lakes, but when it calls for a time to just let loose he can jam out with the best of them. He has already shared stages with Atmosphere, Slick Rick, and MC Lyte and he is a current labelmate with another rising rapper in Prof. In most circles he is known for his quiet demeanor, but they always say it's the quiet ones you have to look out for. --Lars Larson

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