Minneapolis/St Paul might not be the haven of hip hop as far as the global community are concerned – no doubt it’s the metropolises of Los Angeles and New York in the minds of most. But for those of us who like to dig a little deeper, it is the Twin Cities in Minnesota that are currently bringing the world of hip hop to its knees.
Austyn Steelman came across it by chance, on a visit to her mother, when she went to Fifth Element, a record shop owned and run by Rhymesayers Entertainment which is the core of the hip hop scene in the cities. The beauty of visiting this store was that at any given time any number of rappers or producers will be there, and in the case of this DVD, you’ll get to hear the views of Los Nativos’ Felipe from the store and see his freestyling with Eyedea.
The other people interviewed are Atmosphere’s rapper Slug, DJ Abilities and the mainstay of the Hecatomb crew and friend of Rhymesayers, Carnage. What this documentary does well is find out how the scene differs from the usual NYC/LA stories, with Felipe explaining how the sound differs due to the different scenery, lack of skyscrapers and close proximity to the countryside.
You are able to learning about their histories too, from Eyedea’s days with the Battle Cats breaking crew through to how they make their records, with DJ Abilities’ views on exploring sound particularly interesting. What stands out as a big positive for me is that Steelman has focussed not just on Atmosphere, the big group that are well established, but also the smaller acts, like Los Nativos who are a great group in their own right, and given us a more rounded idea of what it’s like to grow up and mature in the hip hop scene in Minneapolis.
This DVD is certainly one for the underground hip hop fans, so get on over to the website and order your copy right now!