Ced Linus
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Ced Linus

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | INDIE

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2007
Solo Hip Hop Indie




"Ced Linus And Pledge Empire Records Emphasize Both Words And Beat"

“The music I used to listen to when I was young was very violent,” says Cedric Dildy, who raps as Ced Linus and co-runs Pledge Empire Records. “When you’re younger it doesn’t really hit you but you grow older, it’s like, ‘I was saying that?’” Ced Linus wordsmith is decidedly positive, a beacon who favors words and attitude as much as he does the big, banging beats.

“As I’m older, when I hear some derogatory stuff, I kind of cringe,” he says, noting that he still loves the records he grew up with, but he wouldn’t make that content himself. “I don’t mind artists talking about something violent,” he expands, “but tell the truth.” Tell your own story instead of riding the coat tails of what is popular. “You don’t always have to make music about being the coolest guy, the guy with all the chicks, the guy who can beat everybody up,” he feels. “Just make music about you.”

His fourth album Christ Like is just that. Integrating a spiritual side to his music, the song titles are reflective of his Christian beliefs but he writes the songs to reflect on life through this lens, without taking pulpit. “If you don’t repent, you’re going to hell—that’s not my music,” he says. Rather, “I talk about real life occurrences,” music for the people. “You can listen to this music whether you believe or not.”

Photo courtesy of Pledge Empire
Ced Linus speaks at a Black Lives Matter rally at Government Plaza. Photo courtesy of Pledge Empire
The true takeaway for Ced Linus is that he wants the listener to pay attention. Drawing from a wide range of ‘90s hip-hop, he namedrops growing up on everything from Pharcyde to Mobb Deep. “Hip-hop music nowadays is amped up and really loud,” he says, music where people come to the show to jump around instead of reflect. While his tracks are mixed tempo and switch from energetic fare like “Codes” and “Moses,” to more conscious cuts, the words are key to him. “Even though I do get very amped up and aggressive when I perform, I’m laid back,” he explains. “It’s stuff with a lot of words behind it, stuff you need to listen to. The emotion is not built into the beat, some of the emotion is built into the lyrics.” Most of the beats on Christ Like were created by his cousin in Virginia, Rodney Rocks Jr. “All he listens to is indie music,” Ced Linus says. “His melodies, his drums aren’t that loud.”

Even though he grew up in Virginia Beach making dubs with his brother, Prince Carlton, Ced Linus didn’t dream of being a rapper. Basketball took him and his brother to Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, where they began looking more toward the future. With a budding clothing line, they made a song to include on the college’s annual student sampler CD. “People hated our t-shirts but they loved our song,” he laughs, “So we said, ‘Okay, let’s just make more music.’” That was in 2005, and Pledge Empire officially launched in 2007.

His brother handles the business side of the label, which also releases Sti-Lo Reel, Matthew J, Louie P, and Mastermind. Of those, both Ced Linus and Sti-Lo Reel play 7th Street Entry on Tuesday night. The label is constantly making adjustments as the industry changes.

CL“Music is different now,” he reflects, more digital and streaming instead of physical. “You now pay $.99 and you can listen to any song any time on your phone or iPad. “What’s gonna make me go out and pay for that album?” That observation has changed his approach, and he treats CDs (which he still presses) as a loss, more for spreading word than as a capital raising element. “Now you have to gear people towards streaming it for free and try to create enough buzz where I can make money off of shows,” he says, selling merch to turn a profit. “If people like the music they’ll come to a show,” he says, same as ever, it’s just that revenue streams have changed.

Now living in Minneapolis, Ced Linus is having a fruitful summer. He’s submitted a 9-minute short film to festivals and he’s putting the finishing touches on a new self-produced EP. He sees both available in October.

An easy going figure, Ced Linus feeds on his creativity, not just releasing his own music, but supporting the scene through Pledge Empire. That hard work is paying off, as he’s climbed from the What’s Up Lounge in Mankato to performing at Red Sea, the 400 Bar, and now 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, with growing crowds at each stop on his path. “We’ve been doing shows at Mill City Nights once a month,” he adds, “So we may end up getting the First Avenue Mainroom at some point.” Wherever the stage, Ced Linus asks just one thing: take a moment and listen to the words and not just the beat. - Redcurrent.com

"Try Love By Ced Linus"

Amidst a national tour that has expanded several months, Pledge Empire Records recording artist, Ced Linus still has time to put out music. That takes a man dedicated to the cause to be able to pull that off. And his music is conscious, advocating for positive change in our community.

His latest release, Try Love, suggest using Love as an alternative to all other previously suggest solutions to our problems. The beginning of the song features an exceptional trumpet ballad, which leads into Linus delivery a beautiful set of metaphors, and word play advocating for things to be done in the name of Love.

Listen to Try Love by Ced Linus. - themorningmacchiato.com


Ced Linus is a Hip Hop artist from Virginia Beach and the co owner of Pledge Empire Records. He is what most would describe as an old school flow with an indie/soulful style to his music as a whole and an example of this is the new single off his upcoming album Autumn Sessions titled Life Aint Easy. We don’t normally cover US Hip Hop but the crew are playing their only Australian show at Rad Bar in Wollongong on March 26th. Of all the places in OZ the ‘Gong gets the gigs! We find that part hilarious, part awesome. This is what happens when Hip Hop Heads holiday in Australia. We catch up with Ced to find out more about him ahead of his trip downunder.

What’s your Hip Hop background?

I’ve always listened to Hip Hop growing up. It’s our culture and way of life. My cousin, my brother and I used to make songs every weekend just because we thought it was fun. During college after my basketball career was over, my brother Prince Carlton and I starting doing shows and performing again. I was started opening up for local bands until we became headliners in our college area. We moved to a bigger city which is Minneapolis and built Pledge Empire Records from the ground up. We’ve put out albums from myself and also an artist named Sti-Lo Reel. We’ve also completed both national and international tours.
What inspires you to make Hip Hop music?

Hip Hop is my way of life so it comes easy to me like speaking or breathing. It allows me to express myself in full capacity. It feels like this is what I’ve been put on Earth to do. I am mostly influenced by God and the society in which I live in. I try to paint pictures of my surroundings and how we can make our lives better. My music is also spiritual which comes from growing up in the church.

Tell us about your latest project…

My latest project was called Christ Like. It was produced by myself, Rich Lee, and Rodney Ricks Jr. The lead singles were titled Codes, and Moses. There are also videos shot for Chrysler Museum Music and a movie titled Hundred Sheep based off of the song Christ Like.

My upcoming album is Autumn Sessions which should be out in late March. All written and produced by myself. The music sounds like Autumn as the pace of life slows down. There will be a part two called Summer Sessions that will be fast paced.

What is your process for creating music?

Usually I will make a beat and the sounds will trigger certain topics that I want to rap about. I’ll write the lyrics down, record the song at least five or six times. I bounce the song off of a couple people to make sure what I’m saying is getting conveyed properly through the music.

Do you also produce your own beats?

I make my own beats using Reason. As of the past six months I’ve been sampling and building beats around the loops or chops. Usually I’ll hear music that I think would sound good with harder drums. So lately its been old soul music and disco with 70’s rock.

Who are you working with on your project?

On Autumn Sessions, I have a singer by the name of Matthew J featured on a song with pretty much just ad-libs and Alex Tulp from a band called The Friendly Beers has a guitar solo. Matthew J is signed through my record label Pledge Empire Records and Alex plays in my backing band for live shows.

Anything else you want to mention?

Pledge Empire Records is coming to Rad Bar in Wollongong, New South Wales on March 26th. I will be performing a lot of new music and looking forward to meeting the Hip Hop scene in Australia. - OZ Hip Hop


Still working on that hot first release.



Ced Linus, born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the co owner and artist on Pledge Empire Records, which is a record label based in Minneapolis. It was started in 2007 by him and his brother Prince Carlton. 

Ced Linus has performed at most of the top venues in Minneapolis such as First Ave/7th St Entry, Honey, Cabooze, Bedlam Theatre, and a monthly residency at Mill City Nights. 

In 2013 and 2014 he was a part of two legs of the “We Already Signed Tour”, which included stops across the country and Hackney, London. "The Greater Good Tour" took up the summer of 2014 and the "The Code Of Linus Tour" in 2015. In March of 2016 Ced Linus performed in Wollongong, Australia and premiered a documentary about the trip in August. 

Band Members