The Come-Up: Twin Cities Rappers who got next

The Come Up: Lexii Alijal, Student 1, Dru Devon
Local hip-hop artists to watch, left to right: Lexii Alijal, Student 1, Dru Devon (courtesy the artists)

Thanksgiving is long past, and I'm still recovering from my food coma. As we look to Christmas and New Year's around the corner, I want to take the time to express how thankful I am for all the dope Minnesota Hip-Hop artists in the state. To all the producers, promoters, new emcees to studio legends, keep doing your thing!

Over the summer, I wrote the inaugural The Come-Up article. That was a lot of fun, and I thought it was about time to do another. Before I get into it, I just want to prelude by saying that this isn't a top-ten list of current Hip-Hop artists. Rather, it's a collection of local talents that I've come across, who've either been putting on for Minnesota Hip-Hop, been slept on, or, who I believe have a lot of potential. Now that we got that covered, let's get straight to it:


I'm not gonna lie, I've been asleep on Lizzo. The Queen of Minnesota Hip-hop, herself, would behead me if she read this. Seriously speaking, I'm late to the hype. I can confirm, however, that Lizzo is not just hype for all you doubters out there. She's a bona fide star, who's been reppin' Minny on the national stage. Lizzo is real! She's proud, gregarious, and she doesn't care who knows. She's unapologetically herself, and we're proud to call her one of our own. Lizzo will be performing on New Year's Eve, along with some other local artists at Myth Live Event Center, so be sure to check that out before she continues to rock the stage across the country.

Black Bag Entertainment: Black Bag LA & Momoh

This tandem, right here, has the potential to shake up the culture of Hip-Hop in the Twin Cities, as we know it. Between Momoh's hooks and LA's punchlines, they have enough artillery to rock many a music chart. A few months back, I wrote about Momoh and the listening party that Black Bag Entertainment hosted at Privé. Believe when I say that these folks really out here trying to push the wave. Follow Black Bag LA on Instagram for all of Black Bag Entertainment's updates — you won't' be disappointed. Their upcoming album, The Drop, is loaded with features from some of Hip-Hop's biggest names. Look no further than this track titled, "I made it," ft. Gucci Mane:

Why Khaliq

If you haven't heard of Why Khaliq by now, PLEASE GET HIP! He's hard to describe because he's just so unique. Why Khaliq combines elements of funk and electro, mixed with some East Coast flair. He's certainly a conscious rapper, but limiting him to that label would be doing him a crazy disservice. He's a deep thinker, a poet, with a strong knack for narrating stories of violence in the Twin Cities, death, as well as trauma in the black community. I got mad respect for his music videos; it's like you're watching a movie. SERIOUSLY! Matter of fact, he turned his 2017 project, "The Mustard Seed," into a short film. I won't share the whole music film with ya'll, but this is my favorite track and from the album, "Follow The Leaves."

Frankie Bash

Frankie's too smooth. I could legit start and end there, then proceed to the following artist, but I'd be selling my man short. Frankie is like Minnesota's mid-2000s T-Pain. Just how premier artists always went to T-Pain for a crazy hook back in the day, Twin Cities artists are constantly booking Frankie for a hook or a verse. He's so versatile. He can ride a heavy trap beat, he could hit you on a laid-back joint, he sings, he raps, he does it all well. Emphasis on well! Oh, by the way, he produces most of his own beats. Frankie is a Minnesota gem and you should definitely check him out. Last month, he dropped a 14-track project titled Time-lapse. The album warps you into another dimension as Frankie guides you through his twisted dark fantasy. Here's a personal fave off the album, "Flight Back To MN."

Student 1

After I wrote the first Come-Up article, I had a lot of folks holla at me on Twitter, telling me, "How you forget about Student 1?" Or, "Ayo Jeff, show my man Student 1 some love dawg." So, here I am doing just that. Student 1 is bonkers. I didn't know what to expect when y'all sent me on that mission, but thank you for sending me. Student 1 is super creative, with a wicked flow and lyricism that captures you from the first line. Also, he quietly has a large following here in the Twin Cities. I tried to catch a concert of his at First Ave back in September, but I was unable to make it. Student 1, or reader, next time he's performing in town, please @ me. I've seen some videos of his performances, and my mans is live! PEEP THE BACKBACK THOUGH! #Levels. See for yourself:

Sole.. [Sole2dotz]

Yes, those are two dots behind his name. Don't you forget them when you tell your friends about Sole... He's an artist who caught my eye with his flow, realness, and introspectiveness. I'm a huge fan of artists with that East Coast flair, and Sole.. has just that. Sole... has the type of sound you just wanna vibe to, especially when you want to get lost. You know those moments when you so desperately want to disconnect with the world and be displaced? Sole..'s music helps you do just that. Don't take this comment as white noise, but rather, it's me saying that Sole... is a unique talent. His music puts you at ease and helps you process your thoughts and life. In 2016, he released his first major project, "Zoned out...," which I highly recommend. Here's Sole..'s latest track, "Scope," ft. St. Paul's Juice Lord.

Dru Devon

When I think of Dru Devon, the first word that comes to mind is confidence. The way he rides a beat, you get the sense that the man can do absolutely no wrong on a track. Dru released an album in the last year titled, The Indigo Child, and in the opening track, "My Moment," he mentions that he might be the second coming of the late Minnesota Legend, Prince. Dru is a sharp storyteller, who invites you to ride the rollercoaster of life with him, while sharing his thoughts of the world, which surrounds you. What I admire in Dru is his willingness to experiment with his sound. He's a man on the come up and he knows it, and it's about time y'all knew it, too. Check out "The Indigo Child," on Spotify, iTunes or Soundcloud. Here's an oldie but a goodie titled "Bridge the Gap." Peep the Minnesota love in the lyrics and the Wolves hat in the music video.

Lexii Alijal

In her recently released album, Growing Pains, Lexii caught me by surprise with her lyricism and storytelling. I hadn't heard anything from her before, but as soon as I took a listen, I was hooked. When you're listening to her, you get an '80s and '90s R&B influence, with her beat selection and sampling, which forces you to dig deeper into your thoughts and memories. If you take a listen, bring a journal, relax and take notes. As you listen, prepare to analyze your entire life, because Lexii takes you on a meandering journey through your mind. Here's one of my favorites from her latest album, Miss Jackson.

These are some local artists that have caught my eye. Check them out, attend a local show, if you're able to, and reach out them love on Twitter. If you have any Hip-Hop artists that you think I should show some love to, holla at me on Twitter @jeffembiid. I'm currently on a mission to track the dope women emcees of our great state. If you got any that I should check out, please tweet or DM me.

Much love, Jeff!

Jeffrey Bissoy is a Twin Cities native by way of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Outside of reporting Hip-Hop for The Current, he's the Host of Maintainin' & Co-host of the NBA podcast, The Come Up. Got a suggestion or wanna leave a comment? Follow him on Twitter, @JeffEmbiid.

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