Responding to a wave of sexual misconduct allegations that hit the Twin Cities music scene this week, nationally renowned label Rhymesayers has dropped two of its best-known local artists.
The Minneapolis hip-hop promoter announced Wednesday night it was cutting all ties with Prof and Dem Atlas to “proactively address sexism and the toxic masculinity that pervades our culture.”
Prof’s latest album, “Powderhorn Suites,” was due to be released Friday.
The two rappers did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
A dozen or more men in the Twin Cities hip-hop scene are accused of sexual misconduct in the social media firestorm that started Monday. No charges are known to have been filed.
The discussion resurfaced old tweets and song lyrics in which Prof seemingly joked about abuse and sexual misconduct toward women and girls. In a 2012 tweet, he suggested that age 18 was “legal” for his crew and that 19 was “too old.”
Prof responded with a series of statements and apologetic tweets. “I’ve made progress since these disgusting excuses for jokes, and it’s important I show improve[ment] everyday going forward,” he tweeted.
In a statement, he said “the behaviors described in the survivors’ accounts are disgusting, vicious and completely unacceptable.” He later tweeted: “I need to make substantial improvements with me and the men around me so these things don’t happen again.”
The action by Rhymesayers followed three days of growing criticism of the label and its artists on social media.
“The reports of abuse this past week are not things that we’ve ever tacitly condoned or were previously aware of,” Rhymesayers said in a lengthy statement, singling out Prof’s “music, messaging and content” as potentially harmful to women.
“We, like many others, separated the music from potential behavior. Thus, we were complicit in promoting and marketing music that perpetuates misogyny.”
As for Dem Atlas, Rhymesayers alluded to “recent reports of his behavior” as the reason for dropping him.
In the online discussion, both women and men lined up to support victims and pledge a better dialogue to prevent sexual assault and harassment.
“Minneapolis’ music scene is riddled with abusive and manipulative egotistical men,” posted singer/rapper Booboo.
One of the Twin Cities’ leading hip-hip collectives, Doomtree, tweeted that it had held a “long, hard and honest crew meeting” Monday after it was accused of complicity for employing musicians allegedly involved in sexual misconduct. Several members later issued statements.
“I am committed to turning the mirror on myself to examine the ways in which my inaction, co-sign, or blind eye has hurt members of my community,” producer and manager Lazerbeak (aka Aaron Mader) posted.
“I want to acknowledge and apologize for my role in not holding my cis-male people accountable for our roles in perpetuating misogyny and hostility to women in our scene and city,” tweeted rapper P.O.S. (Stefon Alexander).
The discussions have gone beyond hip-hop circles, too. Indie-rocker Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal posted, “[You] don’t need a microscope to see the misogyny in the Twin Cities music scene. You need blinders to not see it.”
Citing her own cases of assault and harassment, singer/songwriter Haley (Haley McCallum) wrote, “We need to stop training our young people to accept toxic masculinity as a right or an expectation.”