P.O.S.: From underground rap culture to the charts

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By Ryan Asselin

Stemming from the rich underground rap culture of Minneapolis, Minnesota, rapper/producer P.O.S. is working hard, trying to make his name known and his words heard.  Born Stefon Alexander, P.O.S. grew up in the punk rock and skateboard scene.

Those influences are still noticeable today, even as he prepares to release his fourth full-length solo rap album, We Don’t Even Live Here, on October 23, 2012. From screaming vocals to live drums and political attacks to motivational lyrics, P.O.S. has made his own style that blurs the genre lines and continues to grow and evolve with the times. A few weeks ago, news broke about a few big features on P.O.S.’ new album.  Bon Iver singer Justin Vernon is featured on the third track, “Where We Land.” Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre is also supposedly featured on two of the upcoming songs.

Long time listeners to P.O.S., whether through his solo work or through the Minneapolis underground rap group that he co-founded, Doomtree, see these features as big changes to the more punk-influenced style of P.O.S.  However, most of his audience looks forward to the combinations and chemistry as P.O.S. releases the newest chapter of his music career.

In a culture where musicians who have very little say in their final product are not only accepted, but also idolized, it is hard to find an artist who thrives on creating every aspect of his own music.

P.O.S. plays acoustic, electric, and bass guitars, drums, keyboards, and samplers; in total control of song development, P.O.S. can do his own thing by making the music he wants to make.

On the song “Optimist (We Are Not For Them)” from his 2009 album Never Better, Stefon actually recorded the loop to the song through handclaps and cup slaps.

Creative inspiration is everywhere, but it all depends on how we look for it; P.O.S. actually raps about writing “That One,” a song off his first solo release From 31st to Clinton, foaming at the mouth.

Thirst for the art is an admirable trait in an artist.  P.O.S. actually wants to make a difference with the music he makes; he doesn’t just want to make millions like most rappers who plague the genre.

The Minneapolis underground rap culture is significantly different, and in many ways more advanced, than today’s radio rap which often lacks emotion, let alone talent.

Minneapolis rappers, like P.O.S, Atmosphere and Brother Ali will definitely take the rap world by storm if ever given the chance.

As his 2009 album Never Better made it to  number 109 on the US charts, P.O.S. has high hopes for his upcoming release, We Don’t Even Live Here, which should be an instant purchase the day of its release, October 23, 2012.

Times are changing, so catch the wave before it engulfs you. With wittier lyrics and deeper meanings, true rap music lives underground.

2012’s underground rap release of the year could potentially be We Don’t Even Live Here by P.O.S. It has been a long time since P.O.S.’s Never Better (2009) was released, so anticipation is high for the October 23 release.

In an age of internet stardom, rappers are coming into the game younger and younger, but it seems that 31-year-old P.O.S. knows what he is doing, as he only gets better with age.

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