"We haven't done one photo shoot where every member has been in it," says Audio Perm rapper 80H20 with a laugh. That's because the AP crew, which has risen to prominence putting in work and a fresh approach to the Twin Cities rap sound, is more than 10 members deep. Each Audio Perm show features material stemming from a number of side projects and group efforts. A rotating cast of young rappers — including Chantz Erolin, 80H20, Bobby Raps, Ramiro X, Yakub, Big Dylan, and Unfuh Qwittable — spit over beats provided by Taylor Madrigal, Cory Grindberg, and Julian Fairbanks.
At shows, including the last Soundset, opening slots for big names like Kendrick Lamar, and AP's very own block party, these performances have slowly grown into melees putting forth the team of rappers as one entity. "It used to be like a medley, just sharing dope shit over Audio Perm beats," says Madrigal, who formed an initial trio with Grindberg and Fairbanks as a producer crew. "It's pretty much just some stuntin' shit, like look at all these dope songs we made with all these dope rappers, and they're our fucking homies." Beyond the manic energy the large group of young scoundrels creates, the guys have drawn attention from fans and older-generation rap veterans thanks to their thought-provoking content and distinct instrumental style.
The newcomers have gotten a lot of support from the old heads — many members of Audio Perm met through I Self Devine's hip-hop classes at Hope Community Center — which isn't surprising considering they've been around in the scene as fans, students, and budding artists for years. "A lot of us do a really good job of dressing up our own personal ideas, styles, and values in this way that's fun and enjoyable," says Chantz Erolin of his work with Audio Perm. "Everybody kind of shines through that in their own way. It's given depth to this hype and it's made me feel in friendly competition with the rappers that I'm working with." A compilation of scattered tracks previously released, We Out Chea, came out over the summer, but an official crew record is slated for the coming year. Audio Perm represent the new face of local hip hop, one that pays homage to predecessors but is striking out in bold new directions. "We got Slug hollering at Julian beats," Erolin continues. "We got P.O.S. and them bigging up Cory. If I'm not careful, I could get left in the dust. I feel like I have to match up to them." [City Pages "Picked 2 Click" 2012]