Top 20 best Minnesota rappers: #20-11

Categories: Lists
Big_Jess.jpg
17> Big Jess
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 1997 - present | Songs: "Now You Know," "Lord Please" and "Lost in Time"
It's kinda funny now that Northeast Minneapolis is looked at like a hipster haven or the "new" Uptown with its bars, diners, and places to socialize. Back when World Premier dropped "Nordeast" was just a close knit neighborhood full of hearty drunks who loved their Grain Belt and were proud of their local boys done good, the Unknown Prophets. Big Jess rapped about life on the other side of the river, representing with lower working-class rhymes and epic production. One of the veterans of the scene, he's not getting older he's just getting wiser. --Lars Larson
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MPLS.TV
16> Joe Horton
Origin: Milwaukee, WI | Active: 2008-present | Songs: "Land Mines," "Sparrows" and "Devil Trombones"
The endlessly well-spoken Joe Horton used to rap under the name Eric Blair, but recently confirmed that his alter ego is dead -- or in a cabin somewhere. Combine his animated-as-fuck performance acumen with his creative writing scholarship, and you'll end up with the unique Horton-fronted project No Bird Sing. It's a three-piece band -- filled by guitarist Robert Mulrennan and drummer Graham O'Brien -- that's as punk as anything in the local hip-hop scene. Horton's also the type to oscillate quickly between comedy and serious commentary in the middle of a live set. "I don't care if you're a platypus and you're having sex with a rock," he told the 2012 Art-A-Whirl crowd at 331 Club. "If we don't have love, we don't have anything." 
--Reed Fischer
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Photo by Daniel Carrillo
15> Astronautalis
Origin: Jacksonville, Florida | Active: 2003-present | Songs: "The River, The Woods," "Contrails," and "I Don't Always Dream About Rappers... I Promise
Andy "Astronautalis" Bothwell is the freshest transplant on this list. With only about one calendar year of time as a Minnesota resident, he's been an impressive addition to the home team with a blistering live performance style and songs to back it up. Last year's This Is Our Science straddles about a dozen genres, but at its core is his ever-malleable voice. Be it freestyle tales of dispair, or tightly written hooks that are as infectious as they are gloomy, is it any wonder that Justin Vernon recorded an impromptu album with Astronautalis earlier this year? --Reed Fischer
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24 comments
ware74
ware74

This list is a disgrace to all real niggaz tryna do it in the city all these suburbian cats on the list but no real street niggaz wtf Mn is so political when it comes to this shit who the fuck is picking the list cause whoever it is don't know shit!! Everybody on the list is from the same circles and crews one thing I know fa sho is st Paul slim shoulda been top 5.... What a joke!!!!

Whereisyourmind
Whereisyourmind

There's a guy named Kristoff Krane who should be on this list. Snubbing him is similar to not including Lebron James on a list of top 20 NBA players.

Cybarra 33
Cybarra 33

Nice to see that City Pages is finally doing something like this and giving recognition to to some rappers from the cities.  For those that are running off at that mouth about the rappers claimin to be from Minneapolis when they are from the suburbs.  Big Jess is born and raised Minneapolis and still lives Northside.  Not only that, but he should definitely be top 10.  Not only is he one of the best rappers around but he is also one of the best producers.  He definitely should have had a deal a long time ago.

Derekfurreal612
Derekfurreal612

Toki should be ranked higher and lil buddy mclain should be top ten

eazy-z
eazy-z

citypages, nice decision to put a picture of a dude straight outta an abercrombie & fitch catalog under the headline "Top 20 Best Minnesota rappers". sims makes eminem look like eazy-e. the statement is clear, the generic suburban caucasian male is the face of minnesota rap. the boys in the hood are always hard....and nice!

roo+ratz
roo+ratz

i love this state. the trees are just the right height. the rappers are mostly a lighter shade of brown. hip hop gin blossoms all around. chinese hip hop scholars pilgrimage to downtown stp to study with mcnally hip hop philosophers – mpls, nyc, lbc, chik-a-dee. lets raise a toast to radio friendly rap – the local urban delicacy served with a slice of suburban plain toast... aww fudge, i already said toast. wait hold up...

rcdawg
rcdawg

if you rate anyone from Doomtree  above I Self Divine you're crazy misinformed

jenthescientist
jenthescientist

What about the artists that CP constantly ignores? We know Atmosphere and Brother Ali ad the likes have impact... What about the fresh, forward-thinking, thought-provoking artists like Ecid, Carnage, Moonlight Grammar? Just because someone isn't under the Rhymesayers or Doomtree umbrella, doesn't mean they should be ignored or taken as an afterthought- especially when a lot of these artists follow the "formula" of those preceding.

MRDOUCHEBAGGS
MRDOUCHEBAGGS

all the people on your list suck you sorry sons of bitchs.....lol

Greg
Greg

When Slug says something, it will cause controversy within the hip-hop scene simply because it's Slug and his opinion carries a lot of weight.  People actually care because he is respected and has gained respect within the rap community.  

Sorry Gimme Noise, this just isn't the case for you.  This is such an obvious attempt to grab page views and cause debate.  It's written without respect for the scene, which unlike you, Slug has in spades. No wonder rappers can't stand the media.

Morebasslesstreb
Morebasslesstreb

more articles by CP that don't report on CURRENT news worthy items. 

I never thought i'd say I miss andrea... but holy crap! every week now CP posts an article that is sure to spark debate and drama. This sucks. A year from now, CP is going to be a lot less respected if it continues down this path. CP, please please please STOP the theatrics. START focusing on the artists and their current endeavors.  

Nasir Killed Jay-Z
Nasir Killed Jay-Z

Why didnt little peanut and fat money make this list? Y'all hating!

Jaron
Jaron

Slug was right about the city being over-saturated with rappers. The fact that City Pages is going to try and create a top twenty out of such average/below average talent is pretty hilarious.  Also, to anyone on this list claiming to be "from Minneapolis,"  please stop. We know what suburb you come from.

Spook by the Door
Spook by the Door

yup.. definately going to spark a huge thread based on what i've seen already

bushytop
bushytop

knowledge. i feel like whoever is making this list needs to sit down and read the cp's own article from a few years ago. http://www.citypages.com/2004-...

i respect the hustle and grind of some of the cats "rapping" right now, but they got a ways to go before i will ever call some of these dudes mc's. basically, if i see dessa ranked ahead of  i self divine, i will lose my shit. go listen to some micranots, abstract pack, and get a little lil buddy in your life.

Elisa
Elisa

Ha! Clearly you're not reading the rest of the Gimme Noise blog if you think CP isn't reporting on current local music! Yeah these top 20 lists are a bit lame, but it's people like you who are reason these lists get so many hits!

Why not, instead of being an contradicting whiner, you go read the dozens of other blog posts about what's actually going on in the Minneapolis music scene - and comment there? If you actually care about artists' current endeavors, seek out those stories. They're definitely there.

Zach Pasdoe
Zach Pasdoe

Who really cares if one is from the suburbs, especially when discussing the Minneapolis - St. Paul area.  Both cities are tiny in terms of land area (MPLS is 55 sq miles and STPL is only 53 sq. miles) and are surrounded by over 330 suburbs.  My point is more and more artists will be coming from other parts of the Twin Cities area than from the central cities.  You really can't fault someone who grew up in a suburb like Lauderdale and claims to be from St. Paul or Minneapolis.  Furthermore, what's with all this talk about being "over-saturated"?  Are you (and Slug) complaining that MPLS - STPL is over-saturated with actual talent or just mediocrity? If it's the latter, again - who cares as most of the mediocrity will never be heard and won't cramp Slug's game, right? Honestly, only in Minnesoduh would one complain about there being too many bands or rappers.

BTW, how did City Pages come up with these rankings (methodology)? I ask because Astronautalis, Prof, and St. Paul Slim should be ranked much higher.

Morebasslesstreb
Morebasslesstreb

Elisa, 

Thanks for assuming I don't read the other articles, or share / comment on them. 

I do. I'm just tired of seeing CP pull stunts like this to create buzz, drama and traffic to the site. 

Thanks for calling me a "contradicting whiner". Sorry for caring about the integrity of this blog and site. 

You post reminds me of the hip hop scene. I decided to make a claim about something I don't like, and all of a sudden I'm a huge hater or CP, and I don't support the other blog posts? 

Incorrect. It's the opposite. I do enjoy this blog, and the support it provides to the community. Which is exactly why I don't like this new direction it's taken. 

Take note of the fact I was able to reply to your post without name calling. butt face. :) 

Jaron
Jaron

I have been going to hip hop shows in Minneapolis since the late 80's. I know mediocrity when I see it and I am seeing it from many (not all) of the above rappers.  Slug, Brother Ali, POS and Eyedea (rest in peace) are the only "greats" but that is just personal opinion.

"You really can't fault someone who grew up in a suburb like Lauderdale and claims to be from St. Paul or Minneapolis"

I don't care where they came from if they are good. Just be real and stop claiming you are from a city where you simply are not from. I'm born and raised on the SOUTH SIDE of MPLS. Someone from Lauderdale is not, and cannot claim they are "from" MPLS. True Minneapolitans would agree.

Jasong
Jasong

 You'll also never be "from" Mpls.  You'll always be "from" San Diego. Therefore people born and raised in Mpls would correct you if you said you were 'from' Mpls.

Get it?

Silverfeedback
Silverfeedback

 I moved to San Diego from MPLS and ill NEVER be a San Diegan . Now way that u r where u live

Jason Dorweiler
Jason Dorweiler

Oh blah blah blah. So I was born in Victorville CA, and raised in Paramount CA, but I have spent most of my life in South Minneapolis and St Paul. You are where you live, contribute, and stay. If you have been going to shows since that era, then you should have the education to realize there is no true minneapolitatanant...and do you happen to know the background on all of these rappers? 

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