What: Local Current Live — The Chalice, Chastity Brown, Van Stee
Where: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 S. Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
When: 7 p.m., WednesdayCost: Free
The local music scene is sometimes derided for being insular, but it’s also heavily collaborative. Bands are constantly dissolving and reforming with what’s left behind. Musicians move from project to project quickly, releasing solo efforts between collaborations.
It was this ecosystem that gave rise to the Chalice, an all-female hip-hop collective and one of the most exciting new acts in the cities.
Claire De Lune, Sophia Eris and Lizzo of Lizzo and The Larva Ink met last August when the electro-funk duo moved up to the Twin Cities from Houston. Eris had just started releasing spoken word and rap tracks online and De Lune was already an established solo artist in Minneapolis and released music as A Loud Heart with local poet/rapper Guante.
On a whim, the three recorded a song together, “Push It” and posted it on the music-sharing website SoundCloud. They hadn’t thought much about the track until 89.3 The Current contacted them asking for a radio edit.
The song was a smash and after receiving multiple offers to play shows around the cities, the Chalice returned to the studio to record enough tracks for a full set.
“We were all shocked,” Eris said. “Everything with the Chalice has been us catching up to ourselves.”
The group wrote enough tracks to get a full set together and played their first show in February, opening for joke-rappers Turquoise Jeep.
“There was a whole college frat lapping at our ankles. It was crazy,” Lizzo said.
After playing a few more shows and recording more tracks, the women of the Chalice began to realize the potential of the project as being a break from the personas they’ve established with their solo careers.
“I think we all get to play up a side of our personality that we don’t get to in our other projects,” De Lune said. “Our solo projects are much more serious sounding.”
Lizzo only sings when she’s performing with producer The Larva Ink. With the Chalice, she gets to unleash her bombastic rapping. Eris gives her nimble, thoughtful flow a little more bite. De Lune also gets to let loose, belting hooks and occasionally playing hype-woman to Eris and Lizzo.
The members of the Chalice are keen to identify themselves as a collective, rather than as a rap group. They said they hope to hearken back to the time when the Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest allowed for members to show their own distinct personalities.
Rather than being a closed trio, De Lune, Lizzo and Eris are also eager to open themselves up to more collaboration as a collective. After they release their EP this fall, they said they hope to reach out to other female rappers and signers to be a part of the Chalice.
This structure also means that everyone in the Chalice finds a network of support. The trio is playing the Local Current show at the Cedar on Wednesday, and the next night De Lune is celebrating the release of her new album at the 7th Street Entry. Alford and Lizzo will be along to play with her.
“That’s part of being a collective. It’s not just our band that we have, and then completely unrelated are our own things. [Lizzo and Eris] are going to flier for my show.”
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