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Stories of abuse, misogyny spotlight patterns of predatory behavior in local music

Rhymesayers' 2018 Soundset music festival

Rhymesayers' 2018 Soundset music festival Lisa Persson

Following widespread social media reports attributing misogyny and abusive behavior to prominent Twin Cities musicians, some other musicians and labels—including Rhymesayers and Doomtree—are scrambling to cut ties with their former collaborators.

Questions remain, however, about whether prominent local musicians and institutions will take further steps to address the deep-seated patterns of emotional and physical violence against women and non-binary individuals in the music community.

DJ Fundo, who established himself as part of the Get Cryphy dance night, collaborated with Doomtree, and worked for seven years as the DJ/hypeman for sleaze-rap notable Prof, was disowned by his former collaborators in internet statements after a series of social media posts depicted him as manipulative and abusive.

On Thursday, Rhymesayers released a statement saying “the reports of abuse this past week are not things that we’ve ever tacitly condoned or were previously aware of” and dropped two of its biggest artists: Prof (“we were complicit in promoting and marketing music that perpetuates misogyny”) and Dem Atlas (“given recent reports of his behavior.”)

The initial stirrings of what soon would be a storm came when DJ BabyGhost shared her experience with Fundo.

Multiple women responded to say their encounters with Fundo had been similar, or that they’d had other similar experiences with other musicians, while still more voices came forth expressing that they’d raised similar concerns for years to no avail. The flood of reports continues on social media. Type your favorite local musician’s name into a search bar and they might not be your favorite local musician anymore. 

A consistent pattern of behavior emerged across these stories. Young women entering the local music scene were manipulated by older men whose behavior ranged from highly inappropriate and disrespectful to outright emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. When male performers were alone with women, according to many allegations, those musicians assumed they were entitled to sex. The effect was a “boy’s club” environment where predators could thrive, their activities protected by the silence of other men, and, despite open secrets about which “creeps” to “look out for,” suffered no repercussions.

City Pages would like to acknowledge that while the response of these labels and performers is newsworthy, it is far more significant that women and non-binary people have been stepping forward to share their stories of abuse. The issues raised are systemic, and plucking bad apples from the barrel will not make the scene safer in the long term.

As members of the media, we are committing ourselves to coverage that makes the music scene safe and enjoyable for anyone who wants to participate, and we welcome feedback when we fall short. “Supporting local music” doesn’t mean hiding dirty secrets; it means fostering an atmosphere where everyone is free to create and enjoy music. 

We also recognize that survivors’ voices should always be at the center of discussions like this. But we will not publicize stories women have told on this broader platform if that will heighten their trauma or endanger their safety. We have reached out to several of the women who have shared stories of abuse online, and we continue to remain available to them if they want to discuss their stories with a City Pages staffer.