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Haphduzn's Hip-Hop Intimacy

Concerning Haphduzn's album, "The Whittier Alliance", it stands as one of the best albums to come out of the Twin Cities in 2013.

"What Good is All the Swag if it Ain't Got Soul?"
Thomas Perowitz Photography (

Concerning Haphduzn's performance at 7th Street Entry on April 18th, 2014, he's one of the best emcees to come out of the Twin Cities in the last five years.

Anchored by the retro-fitted "Brand New Nostalgia" and the stripped down vitality of "Have My Doubts", Haphduzn takes the opportunity to fully develop his personality. But, it's done with such discourse that never comes off as exclusive or territorial. With each stanza, a visual is vividly given. Ultimately, he displays his character very fully and very willingly, but there is a compounded determination beyond a nod to predecessors and a stories from his painful past, but a legitimate belief.

A belief that perfection is scarcely perfect: "You know, I have a car and apartment in my name, the first time ever--with a family I love. I'm doing better now than I was back then." Everyday on the job is a learning experience for him. After all, a lot happens in the short span of time when you go on the "Welcome to Minnesota Tour" with Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Carnage then play Soundset only a few months later.

With such progress has come from years of frustration. Raised largely by his Grandmother--of whom is on the cover of "Whittier Alliance"--Haphduzn reflects on the road that led him to rapping, as well as the road that helped change his life:

I was running the streets a lot, I was being stupid. I wanted to get money fast so I as I grew older and I realized that the only place it led were the places I was already being led to for years, seeing my friends go down the same path. My parents passed when I was just becoming an adult—very abruptly—I remember how it deeply affected me, kind of hindering me and put me in a bad place. I was the age of an adult, but I didn't feel like an adult.… my oldest son was [born] around that time so I didn't want that for him.

It's an inspiration that led him to eventually meet deejay Dimity Killstorm after a rap battle--a friendship that would lead to collaboration on various songs, including those on "Whittier Alliance". Those two elements were what created the factors to make "Whittier Alliance" so sincerely authentic: Haphduzn has blunt delivery paired with lyrical prowess contrasted with the soul and blues sampling of Killstorm's production that serves as a fitting parallel.

It's a sound, as well as a mindset, that is starting to definitively gel. As his fanbase gets larger with each passing show and with news of new material coming out within the next year, the lessons learned and the redemptive future is all the more sweet and inspiring. It is a struggle finally beginning as victorious. He demonstrates strength through hip-hop, his neighborhood, and family. He is past where he started, an origin of inexperience and confusion, to ultimately do right for his family, his communities, and, ultimately, himself.:

[Hip-Hop] is the coolest chance I've had in my life. I wasn't going to let it slip by—like I could have played ball, I could have gone to school to play ball but I didn't want to school to get a job. For me, music is that thing I get. This is the thing I will pour all of myself into.

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