Getting his just due

If the members of Atmosphere are the poster boys for the unfortunately labeled âÄúemo-rapâÄù movement âÄî and they are âÄî then, logically, that relegates Minneapolis as the hometown to the heart-on-sleeve emcee genre. In fact, even local rapper/punker P.O.S. has a song titled âÄúBleeding Hearts Club.âÄù With an optimistsâÄô spin, weâÄôre introspective, cerebral and evolved. From another perspective, we may just be considered a big bunch of wimps. If your thoughts align more with the latter category, meet Muja Messiah. Born and raised just north of the cities in Brooklyn Park, Muja Messiah channels entirely different vibes than you Slugs, Alis and Heirus âĦ pecs. His rhymes are abrasive, contentious and fierce. Subject matter that was once reserved for cities like NYC, Compton and Atlanta (drugs, guns and the like) is spit with measured flow onto a backdrop that is our very own Minneapolis. But it wouldnâÄôt be wise to lump MujaâÄôs style in with the rest of the overwhelmingly empty and trite realm of gangster rap. Not only can his street credentials be validated (heâÄôs experienced the drugs and violence firsthand), but thereâÄôs also the element of depth to be considered. ThereâÄôs something to be said for rapping about yayo and AKâÄôs one moment while shifting effortlessly into politics and sentiment the next. But thatâÄôs just what Muja accomplishes. Songs like his Internet smash âÄúPatriot ActâÄù scorch crooked politicians and equally crooked politics. On âÄúGrowing PainsâÄù he takes yet another content 180 and delves into some good olâÄô fashion Minneapolis emo-rap. ItâÄôs this multi-faceted style, mounting endorsements (City Pages, Vibe) and excess of confidence that rightly justify what others have already heartily touted: Muja Messiah is MinneapolisâÄô next big hip-hop star. A&E had the opportunity to chat with Muja on, of all places, a busy Minneapolis street, leaning up against a liquor store. HowâÄôd you first get involved in hip-hop? RakimâÄôs âÄúMy Melody.âÄù I heard that when I was in sixth grade. I tried to write something like it that night. So, since IâÄôve been 12, IâÄôve been heavily involved in hip-hop. YouâÄôre originally from Minneapolis? IâÄôm from Brooklyn Park. Brooklyn Park is the âÄôhood. ItâÄôs damn near all-black out there. They used to call it Brooklyn Dark. Was it cool growing up there? Yeah, it was tight. All the apartment buildings was full of young lilâÄô [expletives], hookinâÄô up, ya know? We used to call it âÄúRougin.âÄù WeâÄôd go âÄúRougin,âÄù just break [expletive] for no reason. See someoneâÄôs basketball hoop? Break it down. Bust a window, bust a car window. Run. Did you get into the city a lot? I use to take the 5 [bus] downtown every day, start rapping. ThatâÄôs when I started rapping on the corner, right on Seven and Nicollet. That used to be the spot. How does the Minneapolis hip-hop scene compare to others youâÄôve seen, and has it helped or hurt your career? Well, it has helped it. There are people who actually make a living off hip-hop here. You canâÄôt say that about Omaha, Des Moines or, ya know, Akron, Ohio. But, itâÄôs a lot of emo-rap. That sorta frustrated me, at first. ThatâÄôs just not my particular taste in music. I like a little harder edge. I love the scene here. There are shows weekly. ItâÄôs a place to showcase your talent. People wanna move here to do shows. ItâÄôs âÄòcause of Atmosphere. Tell me about âÄúThee Adventures of a B-boy D-boyâÄù ThatâÄôs my life, man. All the years of growing up in Minneapolis, I just put it down on a CD. Just the two extremes: my emo side and my harder edge side. I put âÄôem all together. I love it. I think itâÄôs a classic. I think itâÄôs one of the best albums to ever come out of here. YouâÄôre clearly not a fan of Bush, but whatâÄôs your take on the âÄô08 election? ItâÄôs a no-brainer, man. McCain all the way? Yeah, McCain all the way. I think if you vote for McCain youâÄôre out of touch with America. YouâÄôre out of touch with anyone under 50. I think heâÄôs a joke. The way he was condescending to Obama last night, just laughing at him. HeâÄôs a jerk, man. My mom was actually more Republican until last night. Her opinion changed after last night. After seeing McCain talk, sheâÄôs not having it. HeâÄôs a joke, man. Do you think hip-hop can impact politics and change peopleâÄôs opinions on politics in a real way? Of course. ItâÄôs an easy way to get people to vote; they come out and register to vote at your show. ItâÄôs a great forum, if you utilize it. A lot of rappers get up there and rap about rapping. A lot of emo-rap, they diss people because âÄútheyâÄôre not real,âÄù but all theyâÄôre doing is rapping about rapping. ThereâÄôs no message. But yeah, hip-hop is how IâÄôve got involved in politics. WhatâÄôs your take on mainstream hip-hop? ItâÄôs redundant. But you know, I like to get my club on. I hate when people are like, âÄúLil Wayne is whack.âÄù Like Cannibal Ox, Blueprint or Murs. I like Murs, but Lil Wayne would tear his ass up. Mother [expletive]ers be talking shit, Lil Wayne can rap better than all those little âÄúrealâÄù artists. If weâÄôre talking about Jeezy, T.I. and Lil Wayne; I love that stuff. But if weâÄôre talking about MIMS and Soulja Boy, I donâÄôt wanna hear that. YouâÄôve got a lot of hip-hop legends as influences on your Myspace page, but youâÄôve also got The Mars Volta and Bad Brains. Do those rock groups influence you at all? Man, Mars Volta, White Stripes and System of a Down. IâÄôm actually doing a mix tape called âÄúIRockâÄùâÄô where itâÄôs just songs for soldiers over rock tracks. IâÄôm just now getting into Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, âÄôcause IâÄôve been such a hip-hop fan. But now, thatâÄôs the stuff I like, mainly because Top-40 hip-hop gets on your nerves. What are your top three favorite releases of the past year? My album (âÄúThee Adventures of a B-boy D-boyâÄù), Jeezy (âÄúThe RecessionâÄù) and TV on the Radio (âÄúDear ScienceâÄù). Also, NasâÄô latest (âÄúUntitledâÄù). Where do you eventually want your career to take you? Australia. I was talking to Slug like two weeks ago; he was in Australia. ThatâÄôs what I want to do. I want to travel. I want to take my kids to Paris. I want to be able to have someone take me to Germany, call my daughter and say, âÄúPack your [expletive], weâÄôre going to Germany.âÄù I want it to give me a world experience. I just want my just due. Final words? Buy the album, stay in school and vote for Obama.