Up-and-coming artists from Midwest bring energy to Red Sky
By Katie Feind
A compilation of hard-hitting performers made for an energetic show at Red Sky Lounge last Friday for the Spring Fever 2013 Showcase including acts from around the Midwest. The night encompassed performances by a number of hip-hop and rap artists, including Plastic Bag Boyz, Uneasy, Sushi, D.G.B. Muzik Ent., Hi Capacity, J. Mose, and Solo Star.
Typical to any show, the audience became more hyped as the performances went on. By midnight, the venue was filled with bass, energy, and turned up fans. The highlights of the night were groups D.G.B. Muzik Ent., Sushi, and Plastic Bag Boyz, who had the crowd going crazy.
Among the acts for the night, I had the pleasure of speaking with D.G.B. Muzik Ent., a bold hip-hop group from Minneapolis, and Sushi, an independent act who came with his crew from Chicago.
With more than 15,000 followers on Twitter, Sushi serves as the lead artist in Sushi Gang, a group of five from Chicago who have links to Project Pat, Young LA, and Bricksquad. Although we Minnesotans may not be familiar with Sushi Gang’s music, they are frequently played on a number of radio stations in Chicago and continue their endeavors around the U.S. to showcase their sound and gain supportive fans.
Sushi described his music to be “trap energy,” with different vibes and feelings they portray in various tracks. Sushi continued to explain that the group has music that he considers inspirational. “I’ve got the club music, money talk, and different music for
different feelings. We’re trying to give them [audience] a better look – we
came from a struggle but we’re doing way better now.”
Curious where the name “Sushi” came from? I was too. They described that the name related to their street history and past, also adding with confidence that “we’re Sushi because our swag is RAW.” Sushi recommends that viewers check out “Ice Tone Bricks” and “Marley and Mollies,” two bangers which can be found on Youtube.
Performing is an art – every artist and group has their own unique way of portraying their music to fans. Sushi gave me a better look at the feeling of performing to an audience, whether big or small. “The best part of performing is getting the energy from the crowd, we try to interact with the fans,” Sushi described, adding that one of the most rewarding parts of performing is seeing total strangers recite the words to their songs during a performance.
Instead of releasing a mixtape or album, they’ve consistently leaked almost 30 songs and booked shows off singles, taking a different approach to get recognized. Although fans have been asking for a mixtape for months, they’ve been raising the hype for an upcoming mixtape by performing all over the United States, ranging from St. Louis and Kentucky to Minnesota and all around Chicago. “We’re really on the road with this grind. We’ve got A1 music.” Sushi plans to produce a mixtape by June with a top producer in Chicago.
D.G.B. Muzik Ent. was another favorite from Friday’s performance, a group comprised of blood cousins that hail from the Twin Cities. D.G.B. encompasses elements of hip-hop into their sound, comparable to Odd Future and the A$AP Mob.
I spoke with Sweetz P., a talented component of D.G.B., who I coincidentally met shortly before D.G.B. performed on Friday night. It was no surprise that Sweetz was faded – upholding an image D.G.B. portrays in their lyrics – but when it was showtime, Sweetz handed me her Patron, went on stage, and killed it. Sweetz is a member of the D.G.B. collective who has over 80 thousand Youtube views on her single “Nutzo” with Lil Durk, has been featured on World Star Hip Hop Twice and discussed on Complex magazine’s site and the Fader as well.
Sweetz described D.G.B. as a label, a group structured by artists that produce both collective and solo work. Included in the label are stylists and managers who are considered part of the team as well, each part essential to the finished product. “Our work is a mix of everything. I’m hip-hop but there are so many different elements mixed in my style.”
The family ties that make up D.G.B. Muzik Ent. explain the formation of the name, which Sweetz elaborated on. “It started as a family thing, we’re blood cousins. Our family’s last name is Diggins, so ‘Diggins Girls & Boys.’ As we got older, we formed it into something everyone could get into.” D.G.B. now stands for Determined to Get By.
D.G.B. reps the Twin Cities, which for many Minnesota State University, Mankato students is considered home. Sweetz P. showed enthusiasm about the Twin Cities area, the versatility, the culture, and the vast variety of people that make it a staple for local hip-hop. “The Twin Cities match the way my music is, a little bit of everything”.
As a writer for a Twin Cities-based music and culture blog, Be Scene MPLS, I was inclined to get Sweetz P.’s take on the local music scene and asked what Minnesota artist she would collaborate with if the opportunity came. Minnesota has produced some hip-hop greats including Atmosphere, Rocky Diamonds, Prof, and other local artists who have swept the nation with their talent. Among the many, Sweetz expressed great desire to work with Mod Sun, who also started off local but is now doing big things in the industry.
D.G.B. Muzik Ent. is continuing to build a foundation for success with their individualized style and powerful sound, incorporating variations of hip-hop. Sweetz’ newest mixtape is hosted by DJ Capcom, one of the top DJs in the game who has collaborated with DJ Haze, DJ Scream, and many others to create CDs with the likes of Mac Miller, 2 Chainz, and Rocky Diamonds (to name a few).
Performing in Mankato at venues like Red Sky Lounge is the first step to bigger endeavors for many artists, and I can see a number of the acts from Friday approaching a come-up. Keep these artists on your radar, folks, because you never know who could be next big thing!