If You Don’t Know, Now You Know

Yoni Reinharz’s picks for the ones to watch in local hip hop.

Words by Yoni Reinharz 

UnicusHarry was one of the first people I connected with in the Twin Cities rap scene in 1997. Harry is a Haitian-born artist, and member of Kanser with Big Zach and Mesh, Re5ve with MadSon and Big Jess of Unknown Prophets, and live band More Than Lights. Plus, Harry has infused the sounds and feels of his native Haiti and formed a group with his cousin Adp_Awake called Kouzen, a bilingual act with half of the songs written in Haitian Kreyol. Most of the beats are from Haitian producers, too. He hosts a regular event celebrating and educating our community about Haitian culture, food, music, and rum. The next Haitian Happy Hour will be Saturday, March 25 at The Legacy Building; 4024 E 46th St, Mpls.

Liquid Nails is a Minneapolis–based beatmaker who has been making moves on the low. His beats are hard and hauntingly melodic, while leaving enough breath and space to bring the best out of every emcee that blesses them. His collaborations with underground legends Blueprint, Akrobatik, and A-F-R-O are all worth multiple listens, but his upcoming project with NYC legend Vast Aire of the seminal group Cannibal Ox is going to make waves.   

Trinny Cee is one of the TC’s most prolific event promoters. Her events in collaboration with respected event maker, Ray Seville, bring a level of sophistication without sacrificing the fun and spontaneity of a good ol’ house party. Minnesota’s original Dancehall Queen, Cee curates Caribbean culture and music all year ’round, but her summer events, such as the Jamaica-Minnesota Organization’s Annual Reggae on the Riverboat Party and Carifest are consistently epic.  

Selah C performed at an event I helped curate for the 2022 VeeCon conference at US Bank Stadium with the vouch from Maria Isa. C has shared the stage with Sheila E. and Mint Condition, and recently released her debut album, Mind Body Soul. Now that the bio stuff is out of the way, I’ll be honest, there were only about 40 people in the crowd when she hit the stage, all hardcore hip hop heads, many of which were other artists. She absolutely killed it. Even the judgiest golden-era purists were making the stank face. Be in the crowd next time.  Black Brewers Podcast had their podcast release party last week at Arbeiter Brewing in Minneapolis. BBP was created by Anthony Jennings, Greg Davenport, and Phillip Owens to give a voice to BIPOC/POC in the craft beer industry. Inspired by the likes of Desus + Mero, they say their podcast is a variety show built around their love and passion for beer and the industry. I happened to have a meeting with my old college roommate and founder of the brewery, Juno Choi, about the great work Arbeiter is doing on East Lake Street, both in the community and in the pint glass, the day of the release party. I was greeted with so much love that I instantly wanted to tap into whatever was going on. Check them out at the Winter Dabbler February 25 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.