The Minneapolis music community must be more open-minded than culturally segregated Pittsburgh: Disparate genres interact in ways Pittsburgh's artists and audiences never would. I've drawn this impression from interviewing MC Slug, of successful indie hip-hop icons Atmosphere, and also from Audition, the solo debut of P.O.S., a newer exponent on the Slug-run label Rhymesayers Entertainment.
Would Anti-Flag and Lone Catalysts ever appear on each other's records? How about CRAVE and The Modey Lemon? Hardly. But young buck P.O.S. has no problem with the frontmen of the Bouncing Souls and the Hold Steady contributing catchy vocals to some of his album's best songs: "De La Souls" and "Safety in Speed." Black kids won't feel Grand Buffet, yet in his liner notes P.O.S thanks both Twin Cities indie rock and hip hop. It's refreshingly diverse without seeming artificial. Plus, his intro blasts "fuck Bush," just so you know where he stands.
Audition also features members of his heavily touted crew Doomtree -- the tattoo-laden Emily Bloodmobile and producer-on-crack Lazerbeak -- who drop bombastic, in-your-face production on whatever tracks aren't perfected by P.O.S. himself.
This is "Warped Tour rap." The shuffling funk is there, but so are chunky hardcore guitar samples, emo lyrics and screamo shoutalongs. The politics are progressive: P.O.S. refuses to stoop to "nigga" or "faggot" in his rhymes, unlike his gangsta forebears.
Yet this is also undeniably hip hop. The cadences are unfalteringly tight, and interest rarely fades for those who appreciate a deft blend of words and beats. He might not make a mint off it -- like Slug, he's content merely to "live slightly larger" -- but he's not above Raging Against the Machine with the Suicide Girls, and he won't let a Nation of Ulysses hold him back, either. --