When it comes to homegrown hip-hop on a national scale, Minneapolis is particularly lucky to host one of the largest independent labels in the country, Rhymesayers. As usual they had a strong presence at SXSW.

My favorite performance by a Rhymesayer’s artist this year was Brother Ali. Sporting a new 7 piece band, his stage presence and crowd working abilities were top notch. I personally am a fan of rappers rapping over a full live sound, rather than just their beats. It was a hot and humid day, but Ali kept the crowd moving and interested through it all. Local Radio station The Current and legendary venue First Ave, deserve credit for completely packing the large venue during the day with a Minneapolis only lineup. It’s a strong testament to Minneapolis music that attendees were from around the country, not just MN.
Brother Ali will be hosting Rhymesayers’ Soundset Festival in Shakopee on Sunday, May 27th 2012. Check him out preaching to the crowd with the new full band.


Video by Conrad Schoenleber