Muja Messiah’s rap career began when—well, actually, the veteran Minneapolis rapper has a couple different answers to that question.
His crew Raw Villa came on the scene way back in 2000, and while sitting down with me at his St. Paul studio space, Muja says that if he finds himself arguing with a younger rapper, “I might be like, ‘Young buck, shut up—I’ve been doing this for 20 years.” Really, though, he says he didn’t properly start pursuing his music career until around the time of his 2014 album, God Kissed It, the Devil Missed It, which features what still might be his most essential song, “Northside Nightmares.”
“That’s where I had a plan of attack,” Muja says. “I had a focus. I had a team around me. Prior to then, it was just, ‘Let me go in, look at my notebook, and spit a verse over the beat.’”
Now 40, Muja is working as hard as ever and, with a pair of new EPs coming out soon, produced by New York indie-rap heavyweight Roc Marciano—Saran Rap and MPLS Massacre Vol. 2—he’s making some of the best music of his career. Over the years, Muja has developed a style that distinguishes him from many of his Minneapolis peers, especially introspective rhymers like Slug and conscious MCs like Brother Ali. Muja’s songs tend to be street-oriented and focused on all manner of hustling, but he’s also incisive about race and politics—and wickedly funny too.
full story at City Pages