Twin Cities Come-Up: new hip-hop and R&B you can discover right at home


Twin Cities hip hop and R&B artists on the come up
Twin Cities hip hop and R&B artists on the come up, March 2020 (images courtesy the artists)

The thing I love most about being able to cover local Hip-Hop is that I'm always constantly surprised and inspired by the talent that residents in our beautiful state. This love doesn't wane no matter how far I travel. And with everyone social distancing and staying at home, it's still possible to discover and listen to great artists online.

In this edition of The Come-Up, I looked at some recent singles/projects and new-to-me projects that have caught my attention. Enjoy!

Finding Novyon – Lamborghini Chandeliers

By now, if you're unfamiliar with Finding Novyon, wait no longer! Novyon has been one of the more consistent artists of the new era of Hip-Hop we're witnessing in the city. A lab rat by nature, he's always supplying us with hits on hits. He even made a theme song for Karl-Anthony Towns. Now residing in Florida, he still puts on for the cities that raised him. Check out his new album, Lamborghini Chandeliers. Hopefully he'll have some new music videos for us to enjoy before too long.

Mac Irv ft JyellowL – No Rivals

An OG in the Twin Cities Hip-Hop game, Minneapolis rapper Mac Irv drops his first single of 2020 to remind peers and foes alike that he has no rivals in this game. True to his trade, Mac delivers impressive bars matched by emphatic flows. To complement him, Jyellowl comes in to make sure the warning shots have properly been sent. If you're searching for a new bop to jam while working at home, this is the one.

Obi Original – Tsunami

Had you told me a few years ago that the Afro-pop revolution would find a home in the Twin Cities, I would've called you a liar, yet here we are. If you've enjoyed artists like Davido, Maleek Berry and Wizkid, you've got to check out Twin Cities' Obi original. Like his hit single, "Tsunami," the Nigerian native has been making waves for his soothing vocals and afro-pop vibes. He's a talent to keep an eye on.

Drelli – We Don't Sell Dope

No cap, Drelli is slowly becoming one of my favorite artists from the Twin Cities. Rumor has it that if you listen to one of his songs and your head don't start bopping, you are liable catch a criminal offense. I'm tripping, but seriously, Drelli's combination of flow, creativity and energy makes you excited about the state of Hip-Hop in Minnesota. Check out his single, "We Don't Sell Dope." Yo Drelli, when the full video come out??!

Kobruh – J. Cole

At some point in the last year, I was blessed to meet Kobruh at an event in Minneapolis. She was new to me, but according to some of her peers that I talked to, she was one of the illest MCs in the city. I promised to check out her music and fell in love with one of her old songs, "J. Cole." Looking forward to hearing new music from her in 2020.

Solana – Just Know

Most people don't know this, but R&B is my first love. Before my voice cracked and my singing crashed before it even started, I used to love serenading folks. As a retired singer, I've gained an even greater appreciation for talented singers. One such talent is Minneapolis' Solana, whose single, "Just Know," should be playing on every radio station in the city. Solana is working on his first EP, "Ginger Vodka," which I'll be impatiently waiting for.

Mike Dreams – Already Wavy

In 2019, Mike Dreams dropped his album, Young Veteran, and I'm ashamed it took me so long to get hip, but alas. The standout song on the album, "Already Wavy," gave me a view of a confident rapper hoping to leave his mark on the local rap game. The song tells about his coming up story and why you shouldn't sleep on his come up.

Tufawon – Your Warmth

A Dakota and Puerto Rican spitta from the Twin Cities, Tufawon is just the latest 'Sota rapper to make me a fan of their music. In "Your Warmth," the fourth song on his Dream Release project, Tufawon reflects on his time traveling abroad and discovering the world. The track is soothing and truly takes you on a trip. When I get back to the Twin Cities, I hope to see Tufawon perform live. His voice and vibe, matched with a live band in an intimate venue would make for quite the show.

J Fly – Levitate

I recently had the opportunity to write about an online Hmong rap contest that seeks to grow the influence of Hip-Hop culture. The contest drew contestants from all over the U.S. as well as Thailand and Laos. J Fly, a Hmong rapper from St. Paul, participated in the contest, submitting his song, "Levitate."

Jeffrey Bissoy is a former assistant producer at MPR News. Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, raised in The Twin Cities and now based in Mexico City, Jeffrey has grown a passion for representation and identity, Hip-Hop, and the impact of sports on society. He's also the host of the podcast — The Come-Up — which stays current with the NBA when the season is on.

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