Nocando: Eyedea Took It There Every Time

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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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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Open Mike Eagle on the hip-hop and podcast sides of his brain

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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Publicity photo

Open Mike Eagle's recent album Dark Comedy stands as one of the year's best so far, deftly juggling thought-provoking lyrics, skillful flows, and a comedic approach to create a wholly compelling listen. He also runs his own podcast, Secret Skin, where he talks about some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of independent artistry.

This weekend, you'll get the chance to see him as a hip-hop performer -- during the P.O.S.-curated Fucking Best Show Ever, alongside Le1f, Busdriver, SZA, and more. He'll also be in town as a podcast conversationalist during Greenroom Magazine's Issue 3 release, featuring a live recording of the podcast Shots Fired alongside guests P.O.S. and Dam Funk. Gimme Noise spoke with Open Mike Eagle about his various projects and this weekend's show.

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How Tek wrote over 70 songs in prison

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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St. Paul rapper and producer Tek was released from prison in June, and dropped a brand new solo album just a month later, handling production and recording duties himself. ...Like I Never Left is Tek's first fully individual musical statement since his collaborative effort with JessListen.

Gimme Noise caught up with Tek to ask about jumping back into music, and how he created so much material without any beats to listen to.

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Nicki Minaj revives Mystery Science Theater 3000 in "Anaconda" video

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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Nicki Minaj: Big McLarge Huge

Nicki Minaj has always been unpredictable, but this is possibly her most surprising surprise. Recently, the rapper took a break from her nonstop ode to her backside during the roll-out for new single "Anaconda" to celebrate a cult TV show with Minnesota ties. Yes, somehow Mystery Science Theater 3000 ended up in the new song's lyric video.

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Hip-hop songs about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A history

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop

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Vanilla Ice's "Ninja Rap" from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991).
I have good news, and I have great news. The good news: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back. The great news: Hip-hop tracks about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back.

Yes, 1990s nostalgia has reached such peak levels that they're making another Ninja Turtles film. The Turtles began as a gritty comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It exploded into a multimillion dollar media franchise for kids due to a goofy animated series that began in 1987 and lasted until 1996.

That series led to three live-action movies in the '90s, another animated series (and another film) in the 2000s, scores of action figures -- I had about 15, and they'd wrestle my WWF guys -- and a concert tour. The Ninja Turtles have always been a musical bunch. And for each film and TV show, there is a new song about the Ninja Turtles. This week, a new one was released. We now have five turtle films and five turtle songs. Let's count them down.

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Desdamona is a rapping lunch lady in new Kmart ad

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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Screengrab via YouTube
L-R: Nikki Lynette and Desdamona just made it rain... corn.

A year after the back-to-school campaign featuring Da Rich Kidzz, KMart once again taps into the local scene with a new commercial starring Desdamona as a rapping lunchlady. It's a fun spot that plays off her natural energy as an MC, and she appreciated the opportunity to do something a little outside the box.

See also:
Y.N. Rich Kids shill for Kmart in "My Limo" video


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Guante details his full-length with Dem Atlas as Sifu Hotman

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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Photo courtesy of the artist

Last year, Guante and Dem Atlas dropped a short collaborative project with producer Rube as Sifu Hotman. The three-song EP has since grown into the full-length album Embrace the Sun, complete with more songs and an exclusive remix from producer Lewis Parker, set for release on July 29.

To premiere the group effort, the trio is playing an all-ages show at Intermedia Arts Friday, and Gimme Noise sat with Guante to get the details.

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Warren G children's book released by South Dakota rapper

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop

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Photo courtesy of the artist
As anyone with functioning ears will tell you, there's never a bad time to hear Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate." Whether you spend your days hitting the east side of the LBC or just watching your Above the Rim VHS, the classic song's always been a welcome presence. South Dakota rapper and Soulcrate Music member Wes Eisenhauer is further spreading the good word of "Regulate" by introducing it into the medium of a children's book.

Debuting on tumblr, word of Regulate: The Children's Book is spreading and we spoke to Eisenhauer to hear how it came to be.

See also:
Five rap songs that would make great children's books


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Why 2008 was hip-hop's worst year

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop

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Def Jam Records
Nas
Everyone seems to agree that 1994 was hip-hop's best year. We don't exactly disagree.

But what was hip-hop's worst year? No it's not, as so many stick-in-the-mud hip-hop traditionalists say every year, "this year."

In fact, it was, unequivocally, 2008. And here's why.

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The best Minnesota rap albums of 2014 (so far)

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop
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Photo by Darren Johnson
The local rap scene has already shown itself to be in control in 2014 -- and we're only halfway through. Creativity is coming from all corners of the Twin Cities.

Gimme Noise compiled our picks for the best rap albums thus far.

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