The 10 Best Moments From Open Mike Eagle's Secret Skin Podcast

Photo by Andy Scott
In addition to his hip-hop skills, Open Mike Eagle is a gifted conversationalist who gets into some deep territory during interviews with fellow artists as part of his Secret Skin podcast for the Infinite Guest network.

This Friday, the rapper who is about to join Doomtree on the road will tape a new podcast episode live at the UBS Forum in St. Paul, featuring Carnage and Aby Wolf alongside Chicago rapper Psalm One. Judging by the thought-provoking material that has come before, this should be a great discussion. Here are our ten favorite moments from the 12 episodes of Secret Skin released so far.

See also:
Open Mike Eagle on the hip-hop and podcast sides of his brain

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Rhymesayers Unearth Atmosphere's 20-Year-Old "Ear Blister" Video

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Screengrab via YouTube
Here's some 20-year-old footage of Slug.
This year, local indie rap label Rhymesayers have hit 20 years in existence. They're celebrating by digging up artifacts from their early days.

One just emerged in the form of Urban Atmosphere's "Ear Blister," a peek into Atmosphere's initial incarnation in 1995 with rap partner Spawn. Check out the DIY footage and vintage track below.

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How Mystikal Linked Up With Mark Ronson for "Feel Right"

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
YouTube Screen Capture

There's only one thing more invigorating and inspiring than a good comeback story, and that's a story that involves New Orleans rapper Mystikal. Naturally, the return of Mystikal to our ears once again is a welcome development. One element we admittedly didn't expect would be Mystikal's collaboration with Mark Ronson on the producer's spankin' new Uptown Special album. (That's the album with the unavoidable Bruno Mars collaboration "Uptown Funk.")

Ronson's lush updates of the soul genre have traditionally worked best with abundantly charismatic MCs like Ghostface Killah and Q-Tip, so the prospect of hearing one of the most galvanizing artists to ever touch a mic on the track seemed like a home run. The resulting track, "Feel Right" is a can't miss, won't miss single that even exceeded our lofty expectations.

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5 Classic West Coast Rap Albums Turning 20 in 2015

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Interscope Records
2Pac was Against the World in '95

While 1994 was undeniably a great year for hip-hop, fans have plenty of 20th anniversaries to celebrate this year as well. Whether getting "Sumpin' New" from the mainstream or seeing boundaries pushed until they "bounce" in the underground, 1995 had something for everybody and its influence is still being felt today.

Here are five classic West Coast rap albums turning 20 in 2015.

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Dem Atlas Proved His Star Is Rising Rapidly at 7th St. Entry

Photo by Mike Madison
Dem Atlas's attire had some MJ flair.
Dem Atlas 
with Radio Ahlee, Breakaway, Bloomer, DJ Adatrak and DJ Bob Marino
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Saturday, January 17, 2015

Even after spending a large chunk of 2014 on the road with his Rhymesayers labelmates, Dem Atlas hasn't lost his humility.

Charismatic onstage and off, the young St. Paul rapper made the most of his first local headlining show in front of a sold out crowd at 7th St. Entry Saturday. In addition to performing a set filled with melodic tongue-twister raps, Atlas stood outside the venue to thank his fans for coming and rocked in the front row to his opening acts.

See also:
Slideshow: Dem Atlas Packs the 7th St Entry

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Rap Prodigy Chester Watson Turned Down to Stir Up His Audience

Publicity Photo
Chester Watson
Chester Watson
with K.Raydio & O.D., Art Vandelay, and prime.cut
Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis
Thursday, January 15, 2015

Florida rapper Chester Watson unassumingly dropped one of last year's strongest underground rap albums last March. The epic 28-song mixtape, entitled Tin Wooki, is divided into five acts and featuring production from himself and a rotating cast of like-minded beatmakers.

The album's collaborations with Minnesotan artists Psymun, Art Vandelay, and K. Raydio helped introduce the 17-year old talent to a local audience, who hung to his every word Thursday at Kitty Cat Klub. A night centered on the young rapper's signature chilled sound helped solidify Chester Watson's place as an impactful up-and-comer and put his work squarely in context of a new sound bubbling up in hip-hop.

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The Rotation Combine Rap Work Ethic and Deep Live Presence

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Photo via MADE
The Rotation are combining their talents for a new vision.

The Rotation | 7th St. Entry | Tuesday, December 23
Rappers Dwynell Roland, Finding Novyon, Devon Reason, and producer Travis Gorman once again join forces this week as the Rotation. It's a live rap collective that brings together their solo material and various in-circle features. They've all gained a bubbling following after years of doing shows and dropping records, and collectively their performance is rivaled by few.

Gimme Noise sat down with the Rotation to ask about their group process and what it means to be an up-and-coming rapper in this particular scene.

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Spooky Black Is Going By His Real Name Now

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Photo by Mike Madison
Corbin, a.k.a. Spooky Black, at Amsterdam Bar & Hall in November.

Yesterday afternoon, teen social media was dealt a mind-splitting blow. With the release of new track "Worn," Spooky Black decided to attach his given name, Corbin, to the project.

A flurry of comments followed, and many folks wondered whether their loyalties should be with one moniker or the other. Some even begged him to reconsider, and he gave an immediate reply (see below). 

See also:
The Unveiling of Spooky Black Can Wait

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The Best Minnesota Rap Albums of 2014

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash

The year in Twin Cities hip-hop is like a wall covered in graffiti. So many different styles have coalesced -- boom bap descendants, noise rap, futurism, and more -- in such a satisfying fashion. From St. Paul to the South Side to the North Side and beyond, it's been another great year.

Here's our list for the best MInnesota rap albums of 2014.

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Doomtree Tore Up the Turf Club to Launch Blowout X

Photo by Tony Nelson
The entire Doomtree crew hard at work.

Doomtree Blowout X: Night One
Turf Club, St. Paul
Saturday, December 6, 2014

For the beginning of the end of a long-standing local tradition, Doomtree opted for the intimate confines of the Turf Club to begin laying their annual Blowout to rest. The first of what will be a week's worth of grand finales set the St. Paul institution ablaze with a solid two-hour performance that rivaled some of their best of the past decade.

Every night of the final Blowout's week of performances sold out nearly immediately, and there's a sense the group has the power to do whatever they want to do when it comes to booking local gigs. Thankfully, the prospect of playing at smaller venues remains of importance to the powerhouse seven-person rap outfit, and the Turf kickoff perfectly melded their current-day legend status with the fiery energy of their hardscrabble beginnings.

See also:
Slideshow: Doomtree Blowout X: Night One at the Turf Club

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