Top 10 Twin Cities hip-hop venues

Photo by Erik Hess
Killer Mike at Fine Line
It's hard to believe with the reputation it now holds that there was a time when the Twin Cities wasn't booking too many hip-hop acts. Once we were still flyover country to many of the national touring acts, and the local underground scene had yet to rise to prominence and prove the power of homegrown rap talent on a large scale. Nowadays one can catch a rap show basically any night of the week -- from the major acts that now consider Minnesota a destination to the burgeoning local movements that are only getting better with time. 

Gimme Noise gathered together a list of the best places in town to catch hip-hop shows. Keep an eye on these venues if you want to take part in the Twin Cities' thriving scene.

See Also:
Top 10 Twin Cities hipster bars featuring local live music
Top 10 best places to grab a drink before a show at First Avenue
Top 10 Twin Cities dance venues
Photo by B Fresh Photography
Too $hort at Epic
10. Epic Entertainment
110 N. 5th St., Minneapolis

Epic grudgingly found its way onto this list despite a myriad of issues thanks to the consistency of rap shows that come through. The venue definitely has its share of problems -- whoever put the bathroom, coat check, and front door all right next to each other is asking for fights to break out in the never-ending and poorly defined lines that ensue -- but they can be worth tolerating depending on who's playing that night. The former Quest is a larger-sized club that can accommodate acts like Future, Kendrick Lamar, E-40, Young Jeezy, T.I., and stars on this level. Plus, the venue brings new big names through on a regular basis. The VIP section draws most of the people looking to pop bottles and not pay any attention, so the main floor can feel like a more close-knit show even when the place is packed. Regular house DJs Enferno and Advance consistently hold down the show with solid rap mixes. The bookends of the night might be exceedingly frustrating, but the club is known to bring in rappers that at one point wouldn't dream of making the trip up here.

Photo by B Fresh Photography
2 Chainz at Myth
9.Myth Live Event Center
3090 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood

While Myth only occasionally brings in hip-hop acts, in the case of rappers like recent 2 Chainz or Nas -- who have both hit the suburban venue in the past -- there is really no better place to house giant acts that could draw enough of a crowd to hit a behemoth like Xcel or Target Center. Rap is all about personality and larger-than-life figures, and when rappers become dwarfed by the space they play, the impact is never the same. Myth's sprawling suburban hugeness matches the draw and ego of rap's biggest names while still maintaining an appropriate club feel. The architecture of the place creates quality sight lines in the building, so there's no need to squeeze behind sweaty drunks and flailing elbows to get a glimpse of the stage. Similar to Epic, it can sometimes be worth the hassle to head to Myth to catch a rap show you likely wouldn't be able to see elsewhere.

Midway Felix-Zach McCormick 2.jpg
Photo by Zach McCormick
Midway Felix at Cause
8. Cause Spirits and Soundbar
3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

Known for regular rap events like the monthly Rap Blitz and numerous local CD releases, Cause is a great place to catch a slice of the local rap scene. It's not surprising to find rappers milling about and drinking, randomly hopping on stage to perform, or even conducting important business meetings. The friendly atmosphere and openness to multiple styles of music made this Uptown bar a go-to spot for rappers to host events, and it makes for a tightly knit, though not claustrophobic, crowd for when touring rappers like Psalm One decide to roll through. Mostly you'll find eager music fans in attendance, ready to nod their heads and drink a bunch, and that alone makes for a really great rap experience.

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