The Rebrand: Minneapolis Hip Hop

The Rebrand: Minneapolis Hip Hop

The Minneapolis sound has grown and evolved since being made famous by Prince. However, the systemic architecture of the Twin Cities is still in need of evolution. Black voices all over the Twin Cities are continuously silenced. That was until May of 2020, when outrage sparked, following the death of George Floyd, whose life was taken at the hands of police. The world watched as several much larger, more controversial yet necessary steps were taken to voice the demand for change, to dismantle the deeply rooted integral components of Minnesota’s racist system. Some of these demands are now being heard. However locally, in a much dimmer spotlight, more was being dug up. The white washed, misogynist hip hop scene also had its iron curtain lifted and exposed the skeletons in the closets of many of its prominent MC’s including those from powerhouse labels such as Doomtree, Stophouse and Rhymesayers Ent. A localized #metoo movement emerged and survival stories from both men and women surfaced introducing the collapse of yet another white washed pandemic. Hip hop in Minnesota is showcased mainly by white artists, despite the overwhelming amount of black and brown talents whose music resonates with the black community directly. Black music has always been exploited and in Minnesota you see it at events such as the Soundset festival, where major black artists are brought in to drive ticket sales, but similar local acts are overlooked. Hip hop here is almost always branded by a white face. When promoters do include artists that are people of color in their lineups, you’re more likely to see venues packed with white people than you are to see it filled with people of color, and that’s because these artist’s fan bases reflect that. Minnesota media, radio, distinguished record labels, their promoters and venues have this “be weird” gimmicky concept when it comes to booking black hip hop and when choosing who to support. Another systemic approach to avoid performances that echo real truths about the entire black experience, in order to make white audiences more comfortable. This then leaves black audiences ignored and local black artists silenced and under promoted. With the new current state of awareness these ideologies can now fall and the rise of black stories, black music, and black culture can ring loud while also giving voices back to the black and brown people that have been silenced by its systems, acts of misogyny and oppression. Hip hop duo iLLism has always been vocal about the white washing of Minnesota hip hop, so they put together this playlist to reflect their ongoing protests and to illuminate Minnesota hip hop, soul and RnB in its truest respectable form. This playlist showcases the ever evolving Minneapolis sound, while celebrating some of the Twin Cities deserving black and brown artists whose talents now have space to be fully illuminated. It’s a rebranding of Minneapolis hip hop that’s been long overdue.

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