Eight Twin Cities hip-hop producers you should hear now: Vol. 1

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In 2011, I headed up a monthly mix that showcased the wide variety of local rap happening in the Twin Cities. Starting with this post, I'm doing the same thing but with a focus on local producers and beatmakers. Every month, I'll highlight eight people who are making quality music worthy of attention, with a short bio and links to more music included. They'll be loosely organized by style.

This first mix highlights a string of fresh talents that are redefining the face of the Twin Cities sound with work that sidesteps boom-bap tropes to delve into smoother, more chilled and spacey material. Enjoy our first volume, and be sure to leave comments and share this mix!



Psymun

Psymun is a young producer who has already amassed an impressive amount of music, including a record with singer K. Raydio, a collaborative tape with like-minded producer Damacha, and beats for various rap artists around town. Tweaking chilled samples with an ear for glitchy electronica, Psymun's signature sound finds him among the scene's higher-profile producers, and one helping to carve out a niche for new ideas in lacing beats. 

Featured track: "fuck bush" from heartsick, 2013.


Amati

Amati first caught my attention as a partial architect of Rapper Hooks' solo debut, handling beats for some of the album's highlights like "Moses Majestic". A syrupy electronic sheen meets trap-influenced drums to create spacey soundscapes that stand out against most locally grown productions. Keep on the lookout for the Calhoun Daze Remix EP which Amati recently announced, dropping February 7 and featuring remixes from producers Ackryte, Psymun, Cory Grindberg, and ICETEP.

Featured track: "ШØØz¥" from Dissension, 2013.


Sloslylove

A member of the Picked To Click band Vandaam, Sloslylove had been steadily dropping solo material for years prior to their formation, both through his Bandcamp and numerous Steakmob podcasts. With the kind of wavy electro that might accompany a night scene in Miami Vice, Sloslylove is an early pioneer of the kind of chilled vibe represented at large on this mix. With a treasure trove of quality material at the ready for anyone with internet access, Slosylove is a prolific and powerful addition to the Twin Cities producer scene.

Featured track: "Juicy Flavors" from Tendencies, 2012.

Sloslylove on Bandcamp / Soundcloud / Twitter

Ackryte

Not to be confused with rapper Ak-Rite of TUSS, the producer Ackryte has an extensive body of work, much of which is internationally distributed through independent label Huh What and Where Recordings. The vibe is funky yet subdued, choppy yet smooth, and remarkably multi-faceted. His latest project finds him providing beats to rapper Write Groove for the AckWrite EP, and soon HW&W intends to press a collection of Ackryte beats on vinyl.

Featured track: "Holly" from Pragmatic Theory presents: Horizons, 2013.

Ackryte on Bandcamp / Soundcloud / Twitter

Damacha

Currently based out of Shanghai, Damacha dropped quite a collection of bass-heavy experimental beats during his time in Minneapolis, on both numerous solo projects and the aforementioned team-up with Psymun for Secret Sauce Volume 3 on MJ MJ Records. Combining Dilla's digging-in-the-crates chop-funk with the unpredictability of IDM, Damacha distorts obscure samples to create chill music with a wobbly aesthetic. 

Featured track: "Streetsscore" from Auspicious Clouds, 2014.

Damacha on Bandcamp / Soundcloud / Twitter

Adept 

The second half of the production team that creates Vandaam's sound palette, Adept inhabits a somewhat similar sonic space as his counterpart Sloslylove, but pushes their trademark smoothed-out groove into new territory with bittersweet melodies and cassette warmth. Also known as a visual artist for the Steakmob collective, Adept lives up to his namesake by showcasing talent across multiple spheres, evidenced in the Steakmob podcast series where you'll find both his music and illustrations.

Featured track: "i_say_you_go_" - Gimme Noise exclusive, 2014.

O-D

O-D's oeuvre includes a multitude of genre devices, but his rock, funk, electronic, and jazz influences meld together into a downtempo final product that fits perfectly alongside the rest of the producers featured here. As someone who's been in the production scene longer than many of the younger names mentioned here, O-D has been perfecting his craft alongside his producer group 4Shades and his work with rappers like M.anifest, the Chalice, and Big Quarters.

Featured track: "Sufi Voices" from Free Myself, 2011.

O-D on Bandcamp / Twitter

1990 and Connye (aka Connie Hawkins)

Another contributor to Rapper Hooks' All Black Jesus, 1990 is a producer whose impeccably engineered creations push the boundaries of hip-hop beats while still being true to the form. On a similarly futurist tip, Connye (aka Connie Hawkins) lays down tracks that lean more toward the ambient-electronic realm, but hit hard enough when they need to float in the realm of rap. Having shared bills at Kitty Cat Klub a number of times as members of the Foolish Bastard Family, the pair recently released a song together, the collaborative effort "Above Freezing." Droning synths wash over barely-there drums and electronic bleeps to create something approaching their individual work but sparking new, subtle ideas.

Featured track: "Above Freezing," single via Soundcloud, 2014.


Connye on Soundcloud / Twitter

If you have suggestions for artists to include in future mixes, please contact the author at ihavehighselfworth@gmail.com


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13 comments
Joe Winterer
Joe Winterer

Nice feature. And yes, there are more than just rappers and singer/songwriters in this town, not that they ever get celebrated. Thank you.

emceeharv
emceeharv

@DJDSpeak yes yes! i've jotted down a bunchha names on a shortlist for future mixes and they're all on it

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