It’s been more than six years since Minneapolis emcee I Self Devine released his debut solo album “Self Destruction”. With instrumentals provided by super-producer Ant (of Atmosphere fame) the album was a gritty, industrial affair filled with street narratives fueled by Devine’s socially conscious perspective.
Although the album made Devine (real name Chaka Mkali )a force to be reckoned with, the Rhymesayers‘ emcee decided to spend the better part of the past six years focusing his energy on community organizing and other social justice efforts on Minneapolis’ south side.
Despite a long absence from the public eye it appears as if I Self is ready to make a momentous return to the underground hip-hop scene with “The Culture Series.” This innovative campaign will consist of a number of mixtapes, videos and live performances leading up to the May 8th release of Devine’s second official studio album entitled “The Sounds Of Low Class America.”
For those not up to date, two of these mixtapes have been released with accompanying videos. The first release, “LA State Of Mind” finds a more lyrically mature I Self Devine reflecting on his youth in the City Of Angels and features the single “Sweat Equity.”To maintain momentum “The Upliftment Struggle” was release barely a month later and features a video for “Up Aboves“.
From a musical standpoint both releases have contained the quality and consistency one would expect from a veteran in the Twin Cities’ music scene only increasing the anticipation for the official album release. The spent in volunteering in the community has clearly invigorated Devine as his message of social justice and upward mobility continue to remain the focal point of his music.
With the announcement and subsequent releases within “The Culture Series” I Self Devine has proven that he can not only still make great music but also adapt to the times with a unique campaign that displays both his artistic talent and marketing ingenuity.