Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Years active: 2005-today
Kristoff Krane (real name: Christopher Keller) is one of the most interesting people in the entire genre of hip-hop. It’s hard to decide where he fits into the big picture. In my mind, he should be an easy signing for the budding Rhymesayers label in Minneapolis.
For starters, Krane’s 2008 debut album This Will Work For Now received local acclaim, including a spot in the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s annual list of the best local albums. A year later, he was one of the side-stage show-stoppers at Soundset 2009, after which he retreated back to the studio to record a double album. In 2010, Krane released both Picking Flowers Next To Roadkill (featuring Slug, P.O.S. and the late Eyedea) and Hunting For Father. Both of these releases displayed an improvement in production and focus from the debut, and Picking Flowers even reached the top five on the CMJ hip-hop chart.
Krane’s specialty, like his friend/mentor Eyedea, is freestyling. He has carefully honed his craft over the years, and showed off his abilities during an unforgettable Face Candy set at Soundset this past May (more about that here). In terms of popularity, Krane is near the top of the pack, with a large battalion of online support, which is mostly due to his tireless touring and instant likability.
If I had to describe Krane in one word, it would be “organic”. Everything he does and says seems to come from the salt of the earth (I’m still trying to figure out what that means, exactly) and if you spend a few minutes listening to his songs or talking to him, you’ll understand what I mean.
Here are a handful of great places to start:
My five favorite Kristoff Krane tracks:
5. “Inside Out”
3. “Leave the Summer”
2. “Sparrows” (No Bird Sing featuring Krane)
1. “Easy Way Out”
Also, check out this awesome video of Krane performing in the studio at 89.3 The Current:
Kristoff seems like a really cool dude, and he deserves your support. His music is pretty good, too.