Hip-hop don’t stop in the TC drop

Once again, Minnesota is anything but cold and dry in the national music scene.

Adri Mehra

For the past five years or so, the Twin Cities area has been garnering national attention for its hip-hop talent.

It all started when local indie rap hero Eyedea smoked the competition in HBO’s televised Blaze Battle World Championships in 2000.

The next year, Eyedea and his DJ, Abilities, were joined on a U.S. tour by two Minneapolis kids ” one gangly, one a bit stockier ” known as Slug and Ant individually, and together as Atmosphere.

Fast-forward three years; Eyedea is missing and Atmosphere is, well, in its own stratosphere. With the runaway success of “Seven’s Travels,” which charted inside the Top 100 of Billboard’s pop album chart and just missed the Top 40 R&B chart, dozens of teen girls across the metro area enjoyed the sweet taste of vindication, as the sensitive, sleek-jawed rhymesayer pasted above their beds (the formerly merely gangly Slug) could finally officially be pronounced the Twin Cities’ ambassador to hip-hop.

Though Slug is often razzed for his wordy detours, Slug paints an unassuming and unapologetic portrait of man’s search for muses, with the occasional punk-fueled diatribe diary. Could he be the Conor Oberst of Compton? Discuss.Like their high-profile contemporaries The Roots, the Heiruspecs crew includes some of the most sought-after hip-hop musicians in the industry, and can be seen backing up Slug, Atmosphere, Oddjobs, Aesop Rock, Sage Francis and other underground scene shakers.

Hell, you can even hear Heiruspecs’ bass player, Twinkiejiggles, backing up Eyedea and Abilities on the soundtrack of “Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4” on your PlayStation. This is to say nothing of their MCs, Felix and Muad’Dib, two of the thickest story-spinning syllabists you can find between the coasts. Instant game. Word. I snagged Twinkiejiggles at Heiruspecs’ rehearsal space. “This is certainly, I think, the year where it’s going to feel like Minnesota is hovering around the rest of the country,” Twinkie said of the local hip-hop scene.

His optimism is anything but unfounded. Local boy P.O.S. and his group Doomtree are racking up critical kudos as well. The Blend, made up of University students, was featured in USA Today earlier this year.

“Now it’s to the point where it’s a thing people are checking for, and that’s where every scene ” hip-hop, rock or otherwise ” should want to get to. For it to be a little bit of a thing just to be from here, you know?”

If you’re in town Nov. 26, do your absolute best to scope the ‘Specs at the Triple Rock Social Club on Sixth and Cedar, near the West Bank.

The all-ages show is at 5 p.m., and the elder nighthawks can sweep in at 10 p.m. to roost their cabooze.

Tickets for either performance are $8 with your humble donation of a nonperishable food item.

Trust me, winter goes down a lot better with a bottle of whisky and rhyme. As they say, get fresh or die tryin’.

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected]