Gig Seeker Pro


Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Midwest Broadcast Interview with Lipset and Lokes"

Midwest Broadcast is proud to be co-sponsoring an upcoming album by two artists from Minneapolis, Lipset and Lokes. Their Level Heads LP will be officially released on November 2, and its yet another impressive project to be released from the crop of new Twin Cities talent. But Lipset and Lokes' album truly is something special. The combination of Lipset's thoughtful and intricate lyricism with Lokes' diverse and lush production made for one hell of a debut album. Midwest Broadcast was recently able to interview the two artists, and give them a chance to speak on their musical background, creative inspiration, and more. It's a slightly length interview, but well worth your time. Give it a read, and be sure to purchase the album at your local record store when it's released early next month.

MWB: You two are both relatively new to the TC hip-hop scene. Tell me a little about your background, personally and musically, and, if relevant, how they're interrelated.

Lokes: I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California and made my way out to the Twin Cities in the winter of ‘07. Although I’ve only spent a few years in the TC I’ve made it my home away from home and fell in love with its poetry/hip-hop scene because it has a raw element that many cities don’t have anymore. I come from a culture that’s rich with music. I was raised in a Samoan church and sang in the choir. When our choir director was not around, I used to hop on the drums and piano and before I knew it I could play them. That’s pretty much the same with the guitar, trumpet, and singing, music is just something I love to learn to do.

Lipset: Growing up, my parents always played a wide range of music, from Little Richard to the Grateful Dead, Roy Orbison to Ray Charles, so I was exposed to a diverse body of music early on, which helps me not confine myself to one type of music. One of my brother's friends put me on to the saxophone when I was a kid and I think that's where I get my ill cadence from. After the saxophone, my Mom put me behind the piano (but I'm not that fluent) and then my orchestra teacher put me behind the drums, where I further sharpened my rhythm. I was born between Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the heart of the Twin Cities, but I grew up on the Saint Paul side and now reside in South Minneapolis, so I'm truly a product of the Twin Cities. It wasn't until I heard Muad'Dib "pull insectivorous out of [his] cornflakes" on Small Steps that I began seeing hip-hop as something that I could get into as well. It was lyricism like his and story telling like Brother Ali's, coupled with the stealth braggadocio of heavyweights like Nas, Black Thought, Guru, Pharaohe Monche and the like that truly lured me into working towards lyrical perfection.

MWB: How did you two link up?

Lipset: We actually met through a mutual friend, a teammate of Logan's on the U of M football team, same guy who was my roommate. He and I made music, then he, Logan and I made music, then Logan and I made music and since then, we haven't really stopped making music together.

MWB: Your debut collaborative project is the upcoming Level Heads LP, could you explain a bit about that album for a moment?

Lokes: This album is something we were just driven to do. It’s a personal achievement for both of us and is a goal that we were able to accomplish. Having it done and getting to this step where we're promoting it and doing interviews and stuff for it is dope. Neither of us ever thought something like this would actually happen, but it was something we wanted to make happen and the time, effort and hard work we put into getting it done would really not be done justice if we didn't keep working hard to see it through to the end.

The best way to understand this album is just by listening to it from track one to fifteen, just make sure to keep an ear out for those hidden treasures scattered through the album.

Lipset: The Level Heads concept I think speaks for itself. It refers to an individual or group of individuals who pursues their passion and refuses to let anything or anyone stand in the way of them accomplishing that goal and living their dreams. Outside of the album, it's our family of people who we keep around to make sure we all stay focused, grounded and prepared for whatever comes our way. We know that in doing so, positivity will yield positive outcomes.

MWB: Where do you find your creative inspiration, both lyrically and musically? Are there any artists, stories, experiences that drive your creative process.

Lokes: Lip will tell you, I LOVE SOUNDS. I feel that every sound whether its electronic, acoustic, rhythmic, or soul filled, has potential to give birth to something hot. Just put me in a room full of objects and I’ll find inspiration to make a thumper.

Lipset: I don't think there are any artists that inspire my content, but there are definitely artists that inspire my creativity. I think creative inspiration ultimately comes from within, though, so the more important sources of inspiration are the ones that fuel your content. For me, those people are my family and friends as well as the people that I sit down on a bench in the park and write about for an hour as they walk by.

MWB: What is the dynamic between Lipset and Lokes when you're making songs? Is there any pattern or formula for how you two go about things together?

Lipset: There's no real formula or process in terms of how things go down but there are always a select few things that will happen. Lokes basically will make a beat, and then he'll title the beat, that title will communicate a loose emotion or feeling to me. Lokes will usually also have a rough idea about the topic or cadence for the flow, we'll discuss and grow those ideas, then we'll go smoke the LeLe bowl (which is Samoan for 'herb') and then we'll come back and he'll finish the beat while I write the song.

MWB: What's it like being developing hip-hop artists in a Twin Cities scene that has so much history and an established core group of performers already? Does the presence of these veteran artists/labels that have been relevant for the past decade make it any easier or harder to find your own footing in the local scene?

Lokes: Unfortunately good music doesn’t sell any more and that’s sad to me because there are a lot of good artists in the TC that no one knows about. I was raised in the west coast where the hip-hop culture is very different than the likes of Minnesota. I look up to artists such as Murs who is from the west coast like me and who appreciates the mid west hip-hop seen and gives them the recognition they deserve. I think that when artists/labels listen to the album they’ll hear an MC who has a unique story to tell and a producer who can lace down tracks with real music not just processed samples and beats.

Lipset: First off, it's great coming up in the Twin Cities. In terms of support and availability, you couldn't ask for a better scene. In addition, there are role models for success, which is something that helps someone realize that the impossible really can be accomplished regardless of whether or not it's MC'ing, teaching, whatever. Role models are always helpful. In that sense, the presence of veterans has made it easier in one way, but it also means that there are elders there to check who is paying their dues and who is truly respectable throughout the underground. With regard to other artist's affect on establishing your own footing I don't think it's something any artist should worry about because if you are unique, if your style stands out, heads will turn. There's always room for true music.

While I do love the Twin Cities, I am working towards a world stage where we can reach all walks of life. We’ve crafted a sound that I hope will touch people in many places, so to label us as local artists I think is a bit premature.

MWB: Anything coming up soon that we should be looking out for besides the album?

Lokes: I've just invested in some new toys (the yamaha XS, new electric guitars and bass, and new music software) so I'm in the kitchen cooking up beats to soon feed the streets… thumpers for your bumpers.

Lipset: Yessir, and I'm helping the Duenday kids finish up their new album which should be dropping that next week after ours. Our album's coming November 2nd, release party November 5th at Hell's Kitchen with Mally, Mike Dreams, Duenday, Alissa Paris, DJ Gabe Garcia, Epitome No Question and Lokes and I. Then we've got an interview at KMOJ on Halloween night! It's going to be nuts make sure to tune in between 10 and midnight. Between now and the release party you can catch me out at the venues, probably trying to talk to you.

MWB: Anything else you'd like to mention?

Lipset: Buy the album, spread the word, maybe we can put quality music back on top. -

"Lipset & Solplay Productions Presents: Level Heads LP"

My guy Lipset informed me about his upcoming release of his album and I’m proud to say that I’m very impressed by the production. It’s been a big step up and the sound is truly something great. I had the opportunity to ask them a few questions about the productions peep it here!

1) What really inspired the Level Heads Album since there’s a lot of lyrics that pertain to the up bringing or adolescent days?
Lokes: I always wanted to produce an album, this one evolved on its own. Mike came off as an artist with a million things in his head but was not structured after any one known regional style, he wasn’t West Coast, he wasn’t MidWest, it was just him putting what he felt in the moment on a track. It’s not fake, it’s straight from the heart. There’s no one single event that inspired this album, it was the culmination of us having fun while discovering our own musical abilities. We’re still learning and growing musically.
Lipset: I am inspired by what I know and what I’ve been through, so of course my adolescence and upbringing are going to be a topic that I cover. But, the true concept behind the Level Heads album is working towards creating art that is unmatched in many ways but consciously working to remain humble at the same time. How do you strike that balance? How do you stay level-headed? At its core it’s an album about self-discovery and the personal growth that will perpetually come from the process of putting together and releasing this album. The length of time that it took to record and construct the album reflects that growth, since we both went through tremendous personal experiences and change from the time when the album was a seed to it’s current state. In response to your question about the New Era Kids track, that’s a song that I did with Duenday and an idea that we all just pooled our heads together to compile. The goal was to create a track that was both fresh and new to the rest of the members of our generation.

Lokes I know you’re the man behind the sound engineering. How did you and Mike start this adventure of pursuing a musical career?
Lokes: we met because we were both members of a spoken word based student group, we both liked poetry and music, I used to do beats and Lip used to do lyrics and one day Lip came around and he just started writing to one of my beats and spitting on it. At that moment I said, “Dude’s a lyricist, he just came through and proved himself on a throwaway beat of mine and did so in only 12 bars.” From there we did one more project, and for that to happen is big because I’m really protective of my music. That track was hot, so we moved on and the next track we made was the “Sexy” track for Lip’s mix-tape called In From the Cold. One night he was out pushin that mixtape and he hit me up like hey, come down to the radio station and do this interview with me. Instead I said, “No, I’ll make you a beat while you do that,” and that was the beat for the single off of this Level Heads album, Distortion. After the radio show he came over and wrote that song in one night. Everyone else was up all night partying and Lip was just steady writing the whole time.

Mike since our last interview and the discussion of your mixtape “In from the Cold” what’s the difference between Level Heads and this one?
Lipset: That mixtape was constructed over the course of 5 or so years so my style developed, evolved and changed in a lot of ways between then and the Level Heads album. On In From the Cold, I basically spit a timeline, lol, tracks that ranged from old to young (depending on the way you look at it) because they were just the hottest tracks I had made since I was like, 15. You want to talk about trimming fat? I made probably 50 tracks to get to those 21. Level Heads was different in that it was two brothers coming together and artistically just vibing. (We were lit for every song of that album, stay level headed.) The Level Heads album is a great synopsis of who I am, each track was made by Lokes with me in mind. When you make music with family, it’s great because Lokes would make a song for a specific moment in my life. Dude just knows what’s going down at the right time.
How long did it take to get the project done?
Lipset: We were making music together Fall semester of 2009, then Logan went and studied abroad in Samoa for about 6 months which left me to fend for myself for awhile. That’s when In From the Cold dropped. But, before Lokes left, we started five songs together, we got one verse on Temptation, Murderous Cypher, Frustrated and Dreams Come True alone, then Distrotion was the only track that had been 100% completed before he left. Then I finished writing the four unfinished songs while Lokes was gone and I also produced and completed Back Up and Trusty Battle Gear so that when he came back the album was halfway written.
Then this summer he came home to Minnesota a month-and-a-half before moving to Arizona to start Grad School, and it was during that month-and-a-half we finished the album… and nearly killed each other doing it!
What’s your favorite song on the album?
Lokes: Favorite track is Feel It In Your Soul because we wrote, produced and recorded it in one day and also because it shows the way that we think about the world. Not just on some pot-head non-sense but through being politically aware and conscious, working towards change while simultaneously remembering not to get caught up in the bull s***.
Lipset: I have to pick two favorites, Credits Roll (which is the first track) and the Title Track (which is the last track) because I wrote the lyrics for the Credits Roll track to another beat and then was just going to have Lokes make his own version of it later. Instead, Lokes pulled up a beat that he had produced to go at the end of the album. The beat and the lyrics worked perfectly together, but the beat was made to go at the end of the album and the lyrics were written to go at the beginning of the album. We decided, though, that because the two worked so well together we just had to let the track be as it was.
Then Lokes showed me another beat and that was the beat for Credits Roll. We titled it Credits Roll because conceptually, I wrote the lyrics to that beat like it was going to be the last track on the album. Later, Lokes told me he meant for that beat to be the first song on the album, and that’s how the Intro went last on the album and the Outro went first.

I see that there was some collaboration with Duenday and Mally and a few other artist. Who do you look forward to working with next?
Lokes: Personally I’d like for the two of us to collab with Mike Dreams, which Lip and Dreams have already done, but not over a Sol.Play. Production. I’m looking forward to working with my cousin Reno and really being able to showcase his skills to the world. Be on the look out for R&L, our upcoming mixtape.
Lipset: I’m looking forward to working with friends and people who I’m comfortable making magic with. What made the Level Heads album unique is that everyone we worked with was considered family and close to us. In the Twin Cities, and if money wasn’t an issue, I would make a song with Brother Ali and Muad’Dib from Heiruspecs. That’s my local wish list…
9) Where can you find the album?
Right now, apparently you can find it on University Ave bumpin out of a golden sedan. Our friend hit us up the other day like, “Yo, I just heard you guys coming through someone’s speakers and I have no idea who they were.” That was dope to hear. But no in all seriousness you can also find it in your girlfriends tape deck, any local record store and online through iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and the like. -


Bottom of the Flyer ft. Initial MC - Single
Jan, 2011 -

The Game & Me ft. Mally - Single
Nov, 2010 -

Level Heads LP - Debut Full-Length Album
Nov, 2010 - itunes, amazon, rhapsody, etc.

Everything - Single
May 2010 -

In From the Cold - A Mixtape
Feb 2010 - available at



Welcome to Lipset music. I was born Michael Braun Lipset in Minneapolis on July 31st, 1987. I have been writing since I was 13. Over the last ten years I’ve worked and recorded with artists all over the country.

It wasn't until I graduated from college in December of 2009, however, that I began to place music above everything else in my life and shift all of the energy I had been putting into school, teaching, and my student groups, toward my music and the pursuit of creative self-expression.

Between December 2009 and February 2010 I finished putting together a mixtape, "In From the Cold"—the first collection of my work that I released to the public. The mixtape was tied together by the overall theme of transitioning from having music as more of a hobby, into making music the focus of my energy: the one thing that kept me warm on those cold December nights.

Since the release of that first mixtape, I have released my debut album the Level Heads LP, produced by Logan "Lokes" U'u of Solplayproductions and Juggernaut Records. The album was sponsored by and released in conjunction with, and Together, we are currently re-releasing this album, track by track over the next 6 months, for FREE. By the end of July, 2011, the entire album will be available for free download. Tune in for The Level Heads Project here I invite you now to come get down with me as I journey into the next phase of my career. Peace and Respect… - Lipset