I’m no connoisseur of the rap music industry other than just being a fan of this genre of music. The intense beats to the harmonious and poetic lyrics that these originators can compile together is mind-boggling. So, just like a lot of kids growing up, I came to love rap.
Since its initial inception, rhythm and poetry has become a phenomenon within the hip-hop culture. Starting back to as far as the late 1970’s, this new musical art form has taken different styles with contributions from a large diverse group of inventive minds.
You can examine interpretations of this genre of music expressing love and life; to the gangster era of hate, jealousy, envy and retaliation; lastly, to what we experience now as rap musicians are more resourceful in combining rap with other genre of music. It is now quite simply making the right tunes with the right hook for the club goers to enjoy.
So, give credit where credit is due! We’ve seen pioneers in the industry paving the way for the next generation of rap musicians. As a result, the continuity of rap will always have a presence in the mainstream of the music industry.
Consequently, the widespread of this cultural wonder crept into the hearts of many young Hmong kids and as a result, you see the era in the rise of Hmong rappers.
From a personal perspective while trying to embrace these novice Hmong rappers, you think of mediocrity. Their notable heavy Asian accent with their feeble choice of vocabulary is a downfall comparing them to the norm. If only they can reinvent themselves and emerge as poetic geniuses all awhile eliminating their Asiatic accents.
And this leads me to introduce to you a rap group that resides in the Twin Cities known as City Wide Kin. City Wide Kin has the creativity of Three-Six-Mafia integrated with a touch of T.I. and a twist of Bone-Thugs all in one.
Their originality is beyond any other Hmong rap groups or artists that I’ve heard of. This ensemble of different talents is taking Hmong musicians to a new level and already in their second album titled as “City State of Mine.”
To me, “City State of Mine” symbolizes their pride and appreciation for their hometown and state, Saint Paul, Minnesota. I could foresee these guys taking it to the next level and finally, getting Minnesota rappers on the map. They have the swagger of professionals. And if you didn’t know better and heard one of their piece of music, you’ll probably consider these artists African American. Yes, they’re that good!
In this compilation, City Wide Kin showcases their 2nd album with the production of 16 tracks-even though only 11 were full length songs. Nevertheless, these 11 songs are so good that you can place each song worthy of being debuted as their own single hit. In this album they displayed their creativity from the beat making, to their fluidity and smoothness of their lyrics, on into the transitions from one artist to another, and all awhile keeping the perfect chorus to each of their unique songs.
You’ve got to check out some of my personal favorites from this album which includes: “M.I.N.N.E.S.O.T.A”, “Up the Ante”, “Issa Done Deal (Takeover)” and “Face-off.”
I wasn’t a believer at first sight, but after listening to their album, I became a firm believer in their music. They’ve got a new fan in me!
And you know what, they aren’t stopping just yet! While many Hmong musicians only market to one general (Hmong) audience, these entertainers broke away outside the Hmong barriers to market their products to the mass media entertaining at premier night clubs such as Myth and Karma.
If you want to get in the business, plus survive in the business you have to take risks and play to your creative side. We, as listeners, want to see better-quality in the next performer, while also seeing new ideas and technology being utilized to enhance beats and lyrics. And this is something they’ve accomplished.
Here’s something to take into consideration. Rap artists are just ordinary people like you and I who aspired to be somebody. Many of them were in the underground scene before they made it big and many of them-before making it big-marketed their business by word of mouth.
I think we’re just in the beginning phases of seeing these rap musicians bridge over to superstardom in the mainstream of the industry. As I see it, City Wide Kin is the next big thing in the Hmong market. So, “go cop that album and support the group!”