In the world of independent hip-hop, it doesn’t get much bigger than signing to Rhymesayers Entertainment. The Minneapolis-based imprint—which is home to heavyweights Atmosphere, Brother Ali, P.O.S., and Toki Wright, and is responsible for one of the state’s largest music festivals, Soundset—has announced the latest addition to its roster, and it’s another artist based right here in the Twin Cities. His name is Dem Atlas, and he’s ready for his big debut.
Known off stage as Ohio-born, St. Paul-based rapper Joshua Evans, Dem Atlas has quickly gained traction in the local scene, teaming up with MC Guante and producer Rube for a spitfire side project called Sifu Hotman while also fostering his own solo career. On stage, Dem Atlas is a force, bursting with a contagious, positive energy and shifting seamlessly between rap, spoken word, and a more lyrical, lilting vocal delivery that lands somewhere between soul and jazz. And in the local scene, he can be found sharing stages with folk acts like Bomba de Luz in addition to fellow genre-bending MCs.
Dem Atlas released a new EP, Charle Brwn, earlier this year, and it provides an excellent introduction to this energetic young rapper.
“I feel like I relate to Charlie Brown because, he is a bit of a sad figure, yet reliant in the ways in which he fails time and time again, but continues to try and try again,” Dem Atlas says, explaining his influences in a press release. “I am inspired by cartoons and animation, static on the radio, vinyl scratches, Nirvana & hip hop.”
Listen to his entire Charle Brwn EP on Soundcloud. And catch him live this Thursday, November 14, when he opens for No Bird Sing at their album-release show at the Cedar Cultural Center.