Purest Form (Minneapolis)
Published in The Pulse of The Twin Cities
by Kandis Knight
The first time I saw Purest Form (http://www.purestform.com/) perform was at my own event, Tha’ Tunnel this past September. I remember when the group hit the stage a friend approached me and said “They’re really good, are they really from here?” “Yes,” I replied as we bobbed our heads and submerged ourselves into their performance, which was a breath of fresh air to the Twin Cities Hip-Hop community.
Purest Form takes Hip-Hop seriously. Purest Form is a local group that stands out because of their national-level-group focus and commitment (which continually tricks locals into thinking they’re from out of town). Listening to their music, observing their business etiquette, seeing their performance, one can tell Purest Form is serious about their work.
“As Purest Form we’re trying to preserve the Hip-Hop culture from when we were growing up and strive to elevate it. I don’t mean we want to keep it how it was in 1987 and rhyme like Kane (Big Daddy Kane) and Rakim but we want to be influenced by them and take their similar mental states and elevate it with the time lyrically and address issues that are prevalent today. That’s why we call ourselves Purest Form because we are trying to keep that purest form that is coming from the heart of Hip-Hop,” said A-Ron.Purest Form’s first full-length CD, Perfect Balance, was released September 2003 (available at Electric Fetus or online at CD Baby.com) and if there’s one thing these guys represent, it’s just that, a perfect balance of creativity, principle, skill and intellect.
The members of Purest Form, Alibi aka. Alex Leonard, 23, A-Quil aka. Anthony DuBose, 24, Dialek aka Anthony Powe, 24 and A-Ron aka Andy Winger, 22 are all St. Paul Central graduates and currently engage in professions from teaching to Web Site development, photography and, of course, music. These emcees are clean-cut and have a schoolboy image that’s backed by real-life post secondary education, an image befitting a Midwest Hip-Hop group.
With so much going on in their lives, they do struggle to find a perfect balance. “We can’t be as involved in the local scene as much as other groups and I think that’s misunderstood as cocky or elitist but it’s strictly the time factor because we all just graduated from college. We would love to spread ourselves out there but we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin because our major goal is providing quality music no matter how long it takes,” said Dialek, who also is the group’s music producer.
Since the release of Perfect Balance the group has been busy performing around town. To date they have performed six local shows, most recently headlining Try D’s “The Fu!@# Fund Raiser” on November 28 at The Red Sea, featuring an all star lineup of who’s who among local Hip-Hop artists.The members of the group have all paid dues even though many locals consider them a young, new group.
“We viewed ourselves as being old in the local scene because we’ve been doing this since high school, but when we released this album we realized although we’ve been doing this for a long time, we’re young and new to the local scene as compared to many local Hip-Hop artists,” said A-Ron.The group’s debut, long on quality music with no filler, is the kind of album that makes me proud to be a Twin Cities Hip-Hop fan. I could tell from listening to Perfect Balance that The Purest Form would provide an interesting interview and they didn’t disappoint, providing a conversation packed with lots of commentary on the local scene.
“The biggest problem with the local Hip-Hop scene and what I would like to see change is the level of respect for true artistry,” claims Dialek. “It’s almost turning into a comedy show here. To a lot of people, rap and Hip-Hop is entertainment and to other people it’s really a way of expressing what’s going on in their real lives with the intent of inspiring others to reach greatness. I’d like to see more people take pride in their craft regardless of who they’re performing in front of.”
“I’d like to see local Hip-Hop coming from the heart and there should still be a sense that you have to show and prove your skills that was how it was when we were growing up. People should push themselves more so that we can have a local scene where people aren’t trying to be like other places but other places are trying to be like us—because we do have a lot of talent here,” said A-quil.
“People rap around their friends too much here and of course your friends are going to tell you that you are good. I want to see people push themselves more, criticize each other more, constructively you know. I want people to tell me how to get better. I want to see the purest form of Hip-Hop return to the Twin Cities where we’re socially critiquing society and Hip-Hop to make it an art again,” said A-ron.