The Twin Cities are a hotbed for literate, politically-conscious hip-hop, and this Saturday many of the area’s best MCs will face off at “Hip-Hop for the Homeless.” The event serves dual purposes: showcasing a diverse cast of local hip-hop talent and raising money for Youthlink, a local nonprofit organization that works to prevent teen homelessness.
Hip-Hop for the Homeless takes place this Saturday, February 16 at the Triple Rock Social Club. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. 9 p.m. Ages 18+.
Located just north of downtown Minneapolis, Youthlink provides troubled teens with the resources they need to stay on solid ground: emergency housing, medical care, and legal and educational advisors. According to the organization’s Web site, Youthlink is “one of the largest and most experienced nonprofit youth service providers in the Twin Cities area.”
Saturday’s event will be hosted by I Self Divine, an influential rapper on the local scene who spent 13 years rapping with Micronots before branching out to discover his own unique style of political and personal hip-hop. The night will be jam-packed with local talent. Here’s a rundown of the groups and artists scheduled to perform:
Sha Cage is a woman of many talents, currently working in the Twin Cities as an artist, poet, actor and playwright. Her spoken word performances are both riveting and heartfelt, showcasing her talent for internal rhyme schemes, wry humor and strong will. Her fellow opener Indigo is a young female rapper who broke onto the scene this year with her B-Girl-powered album Kiri*Ke. For more on Indigo, check out Dwight Hobbes’s Daily Planet interview with the artist.
Ghana-born rapper M.anifest has received unending critical acclaim for his stylized, impeccably produced breakout album M.anifestations, including a high ranking on the critic’s picks list in the Star Tribune and a spot at the Best New Bands showcase at First Avenue last month. If his set at the Best New Bands showcase is any indication, M.anifest is likely to be a crowd favorite at Saturday’s show.
Big Quarters are a Chicano rap duo featuring brothers Brandon Allday and Medium Zack. Their most recent album, Cost of Living, features home-produced tracks and an organic feel that is representative of this duo’s DIY nature. St. Paul hip-hop babe Maria Isa has become the go-to reference for all things reggaeton in Minnesota, but in actuality her music is a genre-bending blend of hip-hop, Bomba, Plena (a blend of African and Spanish music rampant in Puerto Rico), and soul.
Chosen Few is a Minneapolis-based rap collective that specializes in whipping the crowd into a frenzy, while Muja Messiah has perhaps the most mainstream sound of all of the MCs on the bill for Saturday’s show, rapping with a smooth flow over R&B beats and gritty mixes.
Headliners Heiruspecs with Dessa Darling (of the Doomtree Collective) are mainstays on the local scene and are sure to provide a solid finish to a great night of inspiring hip-hop. Heiruspecs recently celebrated a decade of organic hip-hop with their album 10 Years Strong, and Dessa continues to impress critics and fans with her ability to disprove misogynistic rap stereotypes and hold her own in a genre that has historically been male-dominated.
Andrea Myers (email@example.com) is a freelance music critic and co-founder of online music site Reveille Magazine.