WHAT: Soundset 2010
WHO: Atmosphere , Brother Ali , many more
WHEN: May 30, Gates open at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee
In the humbler corners of our great Midwest, folks’ image of a hip-hop festival is likely one of 50,000 yahoos donning baggy pants that holster 100,000 9- mms and 200,000 baggies of crack cocaine. Worry not, though, mothers of Shakopee, there’s no need to rush the family to Grandma’s this weekend when the area’s perennial one-day hip-hop showcase, Soundset, invades your suburban Shangri-La.
On the contrary, Minneapolis hip-hop is decent and sophisticated. Its major players include a pacifist Qur’an- thumper, an introspective storyteller who advocates “painting shit gold” and a collective of educated street poets.
But it won’t be just local sensations at Soundset 2010, though Minneapolis rhyme-heads will get their P.O.S., Dessa, Toki Wright and Brother Ali fixes. The blue hologram from the Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood” video, Del tha Funkee Homosapian , who accompanied so many basement bong rips, will also be present. So will the perennial “How High” slacker BFFs Method Man and Redman , L.A. underground vets People Under the Stairs, Roc-a-Fella-turned-Rhymesayer Freeway and so many others that the gates must open at 11 a.m. to fit everybody in. Hip-hop before noon? That’s right, bring Corn Flakes to go, homeboy.
In our convenient fascination with lists, A&E has outlined the best local acts to catch at the proverbial day of rhyme.
The inveterate golden boy of the city’s rap game has the perfect ingredients for a festival setting. His flow, chill as a La-Z-Boy at times and frenetic as a militia at others, should get the crowd riled to the point of (respectful) rioting. 2009 was a monumental year for the rhymer as his sixth and best effort for Rhymesayers, “Us ,” took him to the borderline between star and superstar. We can assume that 2010 will either push him one toke over that line or send him retreating back – and Soundset will be a natural starting pad for his new journey.
A veteran of the Minneapolis scene and a pioneer of The Beatbox, Minneapolis’ first underground hip-hop show, BK One draws his tropical sound from a deep pool of influences that range from Charles Mingus to Rakim to Johnny Cash . He calls Brother Ali his “partner in crime,” but the only crime they appear to be involved with is breaking and entering into the attics of the gods of hip-hop and lifting their jewels. BK’s lyrical whoppers are best served in the sunshine, so the summer festival should be an opportune chance to check his tropical stylings.
Eyedea & Abilities
Bitter, tortured and dangerously clever, emcee Eyedea, behind the straight-from-the-gutter beats of Abilities, sounds like the raggedy orphan child of Atmosphere. With lines like “Empathy is the poor man’s cocaine / And love is just a chemical by any other name” (“Burn Fetish”) and, “There no judge or jury / When you’re looking adrenaline in the face” (“This Story”) Eyedea’s poetry is as explosive as it is virulent. Soundset should provide him with a sufficient pulpit to project his venomous, no-B.S. homilies.
“Murs” is French for “walls,” but the translation is not exact to the hip-hop language, in which it is an acronym for “Making Underground Raw [Expletive].” Volatile and fiery, this Los Angeles emcee is not confined by anything. His nobody’s-fool attitude reflects brazenly against his mean-street beats, making him one of the most powerful performers on the Soundset lineup. The Cali boy is no stranger to the Twin Cities hip-hop scene, having made three collaborative LPs with Slug, each of which acts as dedication to a seemingly random Hollywood madame (Christina Ricci, Lisa Bonet and Rosie Perez.)
A Fresno, Calif., migrant to the Soundset stage, Fashawn is just barely legal to drink a forty (21 years old), but his mature flow and silver-tongued intellect make him sound like he could be Rakim’s father. The young emcee labors under the impression that the golden age of hip-hop is still on our horizons – and if his instant-classic 2009 LP is any indication, perhaps he’s right. We met Fashawn via his electrifying debut “Boy Meets World.” I know what you’re thinking: ‘More Topanga and co.?’ – but the autobiographical rhymefest had about as much to do with Cory Matthews as “2Pacalypse Now” had to do with Martin Sheen . Soundset will be a way for the talented boy to properly meet the Midwest.