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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The Ten Freestyle Rap Commandments

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Eddie Soto
MC Elijah Black Freestyling at Legendary Cyphers

If you've ever caught freestyle rap action in person, there's a chance you've been curious to try it out. The bigger names in indie rap, like New York's Homeboy Sandman, our hometown hero Slug of Atmosphere, and Los Angeles' Open Mike Eagle, have made freestyling a regular part of their live shows. It's incredible.

Given how much fun we think it is to freestyle -- a.k.a. spit out improvised and unprepared rap lyrics -- we've put together this list of 10 things every freestyle rapper should know. Here are our 10 freestyle commandments:

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Tech N9ne Found Inspiration in an Instagram Comment

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Strange Music
Tech N9ne, as Seen on The World Series

Tech N9ne | Myth | Saturday, November 22
Kansas City's Tech N9ne is perhaps the biggest indie MC in the world. Like seemingly every year, 2014's been a big year for Tech as he released a new collaboration album, aptly titled Strangeulation, and even got some national TV time by being behind home plate for the first game of the World Series.

Before Saturday's show at Myth, Gimme Noise spoke to Tech about how his fanbase has changed following recent high profile collaborations with the likes of Lil Wayne, as well as how much his fans impact his music.

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Run the Jewels: "We're Gonna Be Working Together for Years"

Photo by Vic Michael
El-P and Killer Mike just making some Run the Jewels hand gestures. Nothing more.

Run the Jewels with Ratking and Despot | Fine Line Music Cafe | Thursday, November 20 (sold out)
Killer Mike and El-P have impacted rap in a big way yet again with the release of their second free album as the duo Run the Jewels in October.

They've since been selling out venues across the country on their recent tour. The record is a no-holds-barred representation of the advanced levels they're working on, pummeling through El-P's production with some striking bars and harrowing subject matter. Gimme Noise talked with Killer Mike and El-P about their upcoming show, and the hardest song to finish on their new album.

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Mike Mictlan: "I Was the Aztec Ancient Interstellar Galactic Traveler"

Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash

Mike Mictlan | 7th St. Entry | Saturday, November 1
Doomtree MC Mike Mictlan dropped his latest project HELLA FRREAL this week. It's a powerfully crafted combination of the abstract, hardcore, and inspirational parts of the rapper's brain. As grimy and hard-hitting as his last project, SNAXXX, Mictlan again advances his sound by effectively blending harsh realities and positive forward momentum.

Gimme Noise caught up with the rapper at Palmer's for an enlightening conversation about his process and his upcoming album release show at 7th Street Entry this Saturday.

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Lecrae at Skyway Theatre, 10/24/14

Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

with Andy Mineo and DJ Promote
Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis
Friday, October 24, 2014

At different moments, Lecrae's flow is akin to Kanye West's spiritual bombast, J. Cole's longform narrative storytelling, and Kendrick Lamar's innocent-in-Gomorrah mystique. With these tools and a Christian message, the Houston rapper who recently topped the Billboard charts with his latest, Anomaly, engaged a packed crowd Friday at Skyway Theatre.

Lecrae also sounded remarkably Houston, bending words and smoothing phrases to give richness to each line. Accompanied by a live band and a big-budget cinematic stage show, the message-heavy hip-hop played out verbally and visually, and won over the all-ages crowd.

See also:
Slideshow: Lecrae Packs Skyway Theatre

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Revisiting Method Man and Redman's Failed Fox Sitcom, Method & Red

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Method Man and Redman in Method & Red

While Method Man and Redman have consistently put on an acclaimed live hip-hop show for close to two decades, not everything they've done together has been as successful. This year marks a decade since their short-lived Fox sitcom Method & Red.

To celebrate this milestone of sorts -- and before their Sunday show at First Avenue -- Gimme Noise revisited the series to figure out exact what went wrong.

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Nocando: Eyedea Took It There Every Time

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
Photo by Dan Corrigan

James "Nocando" McCall is an L.A.-based critically acclaimed rapper, co-founder of the Low End Theory and founder of indie rap label Hellfyre Club. This is part one of his "Unrivaled Under the Sun" series dedicated to his inspirations. Read more of his writing at LA Weekly.

I've been to Minneapolis on three occasions. The first was in 2007, and I have barely any recollection of what happened that night. There wasn't a word for the tone of the night in my vocabulary at the time. Now there is, and it's ratchet. Although fun, it was amoral but no one got hurt or arrested. The second time was at 7th St. Entry this past February on tour with Hellfyre Club compadres Busdriver, Milo, and Open Mike Eagle. The cold felt like the dark side of the moon, and I grew a new respect for the people of Minneapolis.

I had a magical moment that night. I freestyled over an instrumental that was jacked from the internet -- kinda like the kids do these days, kinda like me and my friends did as teens and in our early 20s. I did this in front of a room full of people at 7th St. I improvised a song and took a risk that could have destroyed the momentum of my set. It could've meant I would not get to play in Minneapolis again. Sounds dramatic, but that's how I feel about it sometimes. With that said, it was a near-flawless three minutes of improvised rap. Just before I did that, I ate three bowls of vegan chili and gave a big hug to a lady who cooked the chili. I dedicated the freestyle to her son. That man's name is Micheal Larsen, better known as Eyedea.

See also:
Eyedea dead at 28

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