Somewhere between her movie shoot in Los Angeles over the summer and working on her own new music, Maria Isa managed to finish off her collaborative album with longtime running buddy Muja Messiah. They haven't had a lot of time to hype the project, though, so they're hitting it hard this week leading up to their album release party Saturday at First Avenue. They were on the Current's "Local Show" last night and then dropped a video online today for the song "Watch Out," which you can view below. Yes, nothing says Minnesota hip-hop like Venice Beach.
Their duo's name is Villa Rosa, and their album is called "Blue Diamond Island." Its 14 tracks run a pretty wide gamut from Muja's gritty street jams to Maria's reggae-spiked and Latinized tunes, with several surprisingly sexy and mellow duets and a couple lively party starters. The disc includes guest appearances by I Self Devine and Dodi Phy and production by the likes of Benzilla, DJ Turtleneck, Mike the Martyr and Rodney "Rush" Williams. Word is they're rehearsing with a full live band that includes members of burgeoning local Latin group Malamanya.
You can catch a little preview Villa Rosa performance at Cause on Tuesday, a benefit for gardening-rights organization NORML (10 p.m., $5). Saturday's First Ave show will also feature Carnage, Mayda and MaLLy (7 p.m., $8-$10).