Local Current Blog

H2 Local seeking input on early Minnesota hip-hop

If you’ve been listening to H2 Local with Siddiq and I the last couple weeks, then you probably noticed that there is a strong focus on new music, but also a nice sprinkling in of the history as well. As I was working on the third show I made an interesting discovery: I really don’t have that much music that documents the history of the Twin Cities, much less greater Minnesota. I have a handful of some key things, but I think it’s safe to assume there has to be more out there.

In my travels to different cities, and when interviewing artists from the ’80s and ’90s in those cities or doing other random research, I’m always unearthing hidden and rare gems. Furthermore, there’s a growing number of record labels that are specializing in unreleased or rare ’80s and ’90s releases (i.e. Dope Folks, DWG, Chopped Herring, Slice Of Spice), all of which are constantly finding amazing projects that most people, myself included, have never heard. There’s even Jamille Records, which has focused nearly exclusively on releasing ’80s archives from the Milwaukee scene. Yet, no one has put out anything from the Twin Cities—not as far as I know at least.

States like Minnesota were vastly overlooked in that time period by any outside cities. Even in the Chicago area, where I was located for most of that time, people weren’t thinking about what was happening in the Twin Cities; even Milwaukee was a distant thought to the Chicago scene. What that means is that if we don’t use the outlets provided to us now, such as social media and shows like H2 Local, then those stories of the groups and crews that helped build this scene get left untold for even longer, perhaps lost forever. And that would be quite unfortunate.

All that said, it seems there has to be some ’80s and ’90s hip hop out there waiting to be discovered from Minnesota. Perhaps it’s on old reel-to-reel tapes that haven’t been touched in ages, dubbed tapes in a shoebox in someone’s basement, boxes of old vinyl that never sold due to lack of distribution, masters of demos tapes sent of to labels who never wrote back, and so on. Those stories interest me and the thought of that unheard music heavily intrigues me. I’m on a mission to procure what is out there… I’m specifically curious about anything from the years of ’80-’95. If you have anything of the sort or know who may have any such MN hip hop artifacts, well, then we need to talk…

Here’s basically everything I have from that time period, which is not a lot:

Twin City Rappers-Twin City Rapp ’85

I.R.M-I Dream Of DJs Maxi Single ’86

I.R.M–Baseball b/w Chil Cut 12″ ’87

I.R.M-R U Ready To Change The World 12″ ’88

Style Posse-We Need Some Bass 12″ ’87

Style Posse-No Rhyme Or Reason 12″ ’88

P.O.L.O Crew-Black Image 12″ ’89

Soul Purpose-Cut It Out b/w Soul Purpose 12″

School Of Thought (mid 90s demos)

X Goverment-World Sound Of Philosophy (tape) ’91

Micranot-Hoods Pack The Jam ’93

Urban Atmosphere-Ear Blister ’93

If you have any information, contacts or related knowledge please reach out!

–Kevin Beacham