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Twin Cities hip hop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Minneapolis hip hop is hip hop or rap music that originates from the Minneapolis metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Minnesota.


Hip hop culture in the Twin Cities can be traced as far back as 1981.[1]: xvi, xxxv Similar to the development of hip hop in the South Bronx, Twin Cities rap started as parties with a DJ and an emcee.[2] A DJ named Travitron is considered the "godfather" of hip hop in the Twin Cities,[1]: xi and began hosting Hip Hop Shop on 89.9 KMOJ, the first radio station to play Hip Hop in the Twin Cities.[1]: xxxvi

The first Twin Cities hip hop vinyl record released was from the rap group I.R.M. Crew, led by Kelly "Kel-C" Crockett from North Minneapolis. Members were Devastating Dee, TLC, Kel-C, IBM and Cuttin' Kal. "I Dream of DJ’s" was released in 1986, followed by "Baseball" in 1987. Wide Angle, which doubled as a record store and indie recording label, is considered[by whom?] the first Twin Cities independent hip-hop label, with releases on vinyl from Shampayle, the twin cities first female rapper released on vinyl.

David "T.C." Ellis, was featured on a Prince song "Graffiti Bridge" in 1990 and his album "True Confessions", the first rap album released on the Paisley Park label in 1991.[3]

Graffiti and B-boy crews existed in the city. However, the first verifiable rap record to be released in Minnesota was "The Twin City Rapp," a vinyl single on TwinTown Records released in 1985. It was produced and performed by David "T.C." Ellis and C.T., and released by the Twin City Rappers.


Twin Cities hip hop is characterized best by the alternative hip hop, underground hip hop, conscious hip hop, popularized by Atmosphere. Another style category includes Midwest hip hop, heavily influenced by the Chicago mainstream and underground. The content of music speaks about personal stories, political, economic, and social issues. The beats use influences from jazz, soul and classic rock.

Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop Festival

The now defunct annual Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop, also known as The Hip Hop Fest, was cofounded by Larry Lucio, Jr. and Toki Wright of Amplified Life in 2002. It was hosted by Claire Redmond, FranzDiego DaHinten, Dimitris Kelly, and Alicia Steele of YO! The Movement. The event featured performances from National headlining artists and local acts.[4]


Rhymesayers Entertainment started sponsoring the Soundset Music Festival, the first being held at the Metrodome parking lot in 2008. Soundset quickly became a popular festival and moved to Canterbury Park grounds in Shakopee, MN before moving to the MN State Fair grounds.[5]


The well known Minneapolis venue First Avenue has been a typical location for major performances of Twin Cities hip hop. Other common places for shows around the cities include Honey Lounge, Nomad World Pub, Triple Rock (closed), Blue Nile (closed), Myth and the Fine Line. The Dinkytowner was a common place for smaller shows until its closing in 2009.[6]

Fifth Element was home to Last of the Record Buyer's showcase, which provided a platform for producers.[7]

Graffiti can be found throughout the twin cities, sanctioned and not. One popular place for writers to write legally was known as the Bomb Shelter.[8]

Hope Community is home to Graffiti and hip hop production classes; many active artists in the community have passed through its doors.[9][10]

Intermedia Arts was a nonprofit in Uptown Minneapolis which closed down Summer 2018. Intermedia Arts allowed public art and offered workshops/programs/ grant opportunities for artists in the cities. It was at Intermedia Arts that Desdamona co-founded the first festival dedicated to women in hip-hop, B-Girl Be.[11][12]

Notable artists


  • KCMP 89.3 (The Current) - Home of Rhymesayer's H2 Radio[13] as well as The Local Show[14] which plays some popular local hip hop
  • KFAI 90.3/106.7 FM - Hosts Soul Tools Radio every Saturday hosted by local Hip Hop artists Toki Wright.[15]
  • KMOJ 89.9 FM - Home of popular show "Rush it or Flush it"[16] where artists submit music to be voted on by the audience
  • KUOM 770 AM (Radio K) - University of Minnesota College Radio. They feature a "Track of the Day" from local artists.[17]
  • WMCN 91.7 FM - Macalester College Radio - weekly hip hop radio shows featuring live performances and interviews with many local artists.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Hess, Mickey (2010). "Introduction". In Hess, Mickey (ed.). Hip hop in America : a regional guide. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0313343216.
  2. ^ "City Pages". Archived from the original on 2007-12-01.
  3. ^ Beaudoin, Kate [1] "This American City Has the Greatest Hip-Hop Scene You've Never Heard Of" Mic Montana, Retrieved 29 May 2015
  4. ^ "The Hip Hop don't stop". Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  5. ^ "Soundset 2017". Soundset 2015. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  6. ^ MN Daily
  7. ^ City Pages
  8. ^ Star Tribune
  9. ^ Hop Community
  10. ^ Hope Community
  11. ^ "Women in Hip-Hop: The B-girl be Festival". 2010-02-04.
  12. ^ Intermedia Arts
  13. ^ The Current
  14. ^ The Current
  15. ^ KFAI
  16. ^ KMOJ
  17. ^ Radio K
This page was last edited on 13 September 2021, at 20:27
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