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Twin Cities' own rap hellion, Manchita, is gearing up to release her first sola project. Since her first collaboration with Slapping Purses in 2011, Manchita has managed to stay off the grid as a solo artist, choosing instead to focus on group projects, Tha Clerb (Mike Mictlan, Lizzo, Spyder Baybie Raw Dog, and 2%Muck) and more recently, GRRRL PRTY (Lizzo, Sophia Eris, DJ Shannon Blowtorch). In a departure from the ferocious swagger evident in GRRRL PRTY's most recent release GRRRL PRTY x BIONIK, she will be revealing a new project with Bionik that promises to reveal a moodier, more heavy-hearted body of content—centered on love, loss, and survival. Although her material spans the spectrum from braggy twerk-along ego anthems, to what she has dubbed "sad bangers,”—catchy, shadow-ridden turns of tongue accented by jazz-smoked hooks—expect to see a more tender, sensual, and softer side of Manchita in the forthcoming EP.
"I feel like a divided person most of the time. There's the Chita in me—the confident, sarcastic, vulgar, ready to fight, warrior, survivor, twerk-enthusiast—and then there's the other side of me—the softy, the abandoned lover, the codependent caretaker, the spiritually hibernating, perpetually grieving person. This sola project is about embracing all of me, the good, the bad, the silly, the foul. The tomboy and the princess. The rapper and the singer. It's a full dose."
Like the part-man, part-machine allusions of his nickname, Stefon “Bionik” Taylor is at one in both acoustic and electronic realms. As a producer and performer, a composer and collaborator who brings out the best in those around him, that Bionik theory works. Throughout his career, Taylor has twined his technical wizardry to make singer/songwriter John Martyn’s voice sound like a horn, hip-hop trio Far East Movement’s first single a radio smash, and rapper Ice-T’s lyrics chopped and screwed. In recent years, his live performances as a producer have taken him to Minneapolis’ First Avenue, Los Angeles’ Low End Theory, and Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory.It’s this acoustic finesse that distinguishes him from industry newcomers. A proficient instrumentalist in the studio and on the stage, Taylor sings, plays guitar, bass, drums, percussion and anything else he can get his hands on. He writes, records and mixes all of his own sample-free music, thriving on communication with other artists in order to create works that resonate with real people.Taylor has composed, arranged, and collaborated on hip-hop, trap, dancehall, soul and funk records with classic and contemporary artists ranging from Phil Collins to Lizzo. He’s been in the studio with legendary producers like George Martin (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix) and Peter Mokran (R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, The Flaming Lips). His original compositions and productions have been synced in the Fast and Furious series, Entourage television show, NBA 2K12 video game, and many more. Having lived and worked in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Taylor returned to Minnesota in 2010. Combining national experience and international influences with hometown pride, he opened a private studio in Minneapolis and continues to produce for artists and perform his original music live.With a revived sense of autonomy and drive, Taylor is now embarking on his second record of original music due out this summer. His new EP, titled The Way I Be, will feature never-before-heard collaborations with both old friends and new musical partners.Continuing to parlay the Bionik contradictions of humanism and industrialism, acoustic music and electronic creations, almost every track on The Way I Be will feature a guest vocalist. “The human voice is what people really connect with,” Taylor emphasizes. “People want to hear the sounds of their generation—the sirens and angular synth sounds that are a part of their chaotic, fast-paced existence. I want to supply the soundtrack for everyday moments in their lives.”
A Minneapolis resident, Sophia Eris is a DJ/MC who has moved through various influences that have left her with a stirring ear for booming new hip hop. She is currently the touring DJ for the newly Atlantic Records signee, Lizzo. Together, the two have opened for acts including SZA, CHVRCHES, Sleater-Kinney and more. Sophia and Lizzo have also performed for David Letterman and Stephen Colbert, and just recently broke through on the Emmy nominated daytime TV hit, The Real. This summer, Sophia and Lizzo will continue to slay the festival circuit worldwide. Listen to all the artists’ music below: