Growing up in Sota Rico-Minneapolis Rapper Maria Isa makes Noise


Minneapolis Hip Hop star Maria Isa takes us through Sota Rico as she celebrates her new album Street Politics

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Maria Isa, photographed in the Minneapolis Uptown neighborhood.

Not a kid anymore, Maria Isa proves she wasn’t kidding about making Minnesota music with a hot Latin hip-hop beat (and a message).


Last update: June 4, 2009 – 5:55 PM

As she looked around the booth-lined basement that was the Dinkytowner Cafe — was as of last weekend, when the venue shut down — Maria Isa sounded like an old sailor paying respects to a decommissioned battleship. Never mind that she’s still only 22 and has many wars left to fight.

“My first show here was a Yo! the Movement show when I was 17, and it was packed with kids,” she remembered in her muy-rapido verbal style (fast and spiked with Spanglish).

The St. Paul rapper/singer lamented the fact that the nonprofit youth program Yo! has also ceased to exist, as has the female hip-hop fest that helped launch her, Be Girl Be. A product of community-driven venues and arts programs, she fears they’re being cast aside in the current economy.

“Those of us who benefited from these things can keep them alive by continuing to grow, and by doing what we set out to do,” she said.

Since her coming-out as a Latina hip-hop artist, Maria IsaBelle Perez Vega certainly has grown. She has developed in the way that could make her protective abuela/grandma ban all men from her concerts. More important, she has blossomed in the way that turns aspiring performers into genuine artists.

Maria’s second album, “Street Politics” — which she’s promoting with a release party tonight at First Avenue — fleshes out her bomba- and reggaeton-enflamed hip-hop sound with an eight-piece band. The CD also raises her value as a sociopolitical rapper and cultural ambassador. When she sings the title track, she says that “I’m not just representing Puerto Ricans or [St. Paul’s] West Side, I’m representing all boys and girls in the hood. I’m saying there’s a way to rule and change government from the streets.”

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Newest Rhymesayer Member Toki Wright Comes through and Represents



Minneapolis Hip Hop artist Toki Wright and the newest member of the Rhymesayers sat down w/ us to talk about the new Hip Hop College he is direction and race relations within Hip Hop. He talks about the importance of having an accredited school on Hip Hop and how we need to bridge the gap between Hip Hop from the hood and Hip Hop enjoyed in burbs. 



Hip-hop has emerged as the newest cultural phenomenon, with a global presence on stage and in youth culture, TV, film, radio, video games, and other media.  Hip-hop music, like every other musical genre from blues to jazz to rock, has a unique set of musical characteristics and challenges.  McNally Smith College of Music is proud to announce a new three semester Diploma program dedicated to hip-hop studies. Our new Diploma program in Hip-Hop Studies is for prospective students who want to explore and develop in a cross-departmental curriculum that covers music, recording technology, language, music history, and music business.
You’ll get hands-on technical training on recording and mixing music in a studio. You’ll take part in a three-course history sequence that grounds hip-hop in its cultural origins.  You’ll learn the fundamentals of language through creative writing and performance.  You will take part in a hands on introduction to deejay techniques and hip-hop music production.
Students enrolled in our other music degree programs can also take advantage of our wide range of hip-hop classes.  For example, music business majors can take hip-hop classes as electives.  
Whether you are focused on music performance, music composition, music business, or music technology our goal at McNally Smith College of Music is to provide you with a contemporary music education as far reaching and in depth as possible.  Today, this includes exploring the sound art of beats, lyrics, sampling, and remixing; the digital technology of MIDI, loop-based music, and hardware sound sources; the dynamic world of editing, mixing, and processing in the modern recording and production studio; and the business skills of branding and promoting your work in the new realm of social media.

Accredited by The National Association of Schools of Music



The hip-hop curriculum includes both general and hip-hop specific courses in the areas of  Music Technology, Music Composition, Music Performance, Music Business, General Music, and Liberal Arts. 

The Big Picture

The Hip-Hop Studies program spans three semesters and results in a Diploma credential.  The hip-hop program culminates with a comprehensive final project and an actualized professional portfolio.

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Star & Buc, Glen Ford of Black Agenda Respond to Michael Eric Dyson



GlenFord-blackagenda-225So last week I posted up a video clip of an interview I did with Michael Eric Dyson that has been making ther rounds. In the interview Dyson a former surrogate and early Obama supporter holds his friend’s feet to the fire.  He asserts that Obama was not being responsive to the needs of Black people. His remarks set off all sorts of response including two compelling remarks from Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report… Ford a long time critic of Obama even when he was a Senator, debated Dyson last year during the primaries and was said to have bested Dyson in the exchange. There was the promise to hold another debate  which never happened.

 Ford  a former radio newsman is known for coming to the table with indisputable facts opens up his remarks with some troubling statistics and numbers that about the amount of money given to banks on President Obama’s watch. he then launches in on Dyson and doesn’t let up..

StarThe other response comes from Star of the Star and Bucwyld Show. Star accuses Dyson of being an opportunist who has not been on the frontline of the struggle and his now smashing on Obama because he was snubbed. Star’s retort doesn’t have the political depth and insight of Ford but does touch on sopme factors that have stirred up debate.. We figure we’d share both.

-Davey D-

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For those who missed it.. Here’s Dyson’s initial jump off


Here’s the link to Star’s Response followed by Glen Ford’s

 Here’s the link to the Glen Ford Video