Writing and Design Portfolio

Urban Plains Magazine – Feature Layouts

by Lindsay Susla on March 9, 2014, no comments

A few examples of feature stories designed for Urban Plains Magazine in fall 2013. I collaborated with the Editor in Chief to select and edit images, issue colors, and design branding materials. Using Mag+, I programmed interactivity, assembled issues, and pushed each tablet issue to the app store.

Invitations Project

by Lindsay Susla on March 1, 2014, no comments

Invitation assignment meant to demonstrate hierarchy in design. Photo taken from the event the invitation was made for, an exhibit at the Walker Art Center by Jim Hodges, running February 15, 2014 – May 11, 2014.

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Minneapolis Underground

by Lindsay Susla on January 20, 2014, no comments

Minneapolis Rapper and Poet, Dessa. Photo by Jessy Gonzalez

Minneapolis Underground: A look into the Minnesota Hip Hop scene

In a parking lot in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, rapper P.O.S. stands on a stage and asks a crowd of people to circle up and join hands. After a little hesitation, they comply, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, palm locked in palm. Next, P.O.S. directs everyone to shout harambee—a word that means “pull together” in Swahili. When the crowd dies down, people turn to each other and introduce themselves, laughing and swapping stories about the acts they came to see.

It’s a moment of unity that would be hard to come by at most hip-hop festivals. In Minnesota, though, it’s representative of the underground music scene—particularly when it comes to hip-hop. There’s no beef here, no rivalries. Just people pulling together.

“We just wanted to create an event where we could bring as many different peoples together to celebrate one thing, which is our culture and our life,” says Manny Phesto, hip-hop artist and co-host of the Hip Hop Harambee, the official name of the day’s events.

And that culture—one defined by collaboration and community—is worth celebrating. Artists in the Twin Cities hip-hop scene thrive by creating together: They make something more dynamic as a whole than they could have alone. One example: Doomtree. The hip-hop collective—which includes P.O.S. and other musicians championing the Minneapolis scene—helps up-and-comers throughout the city. Then there’s Rhymesayers Entertainment, the label co-founded by Twin Cities royalty Atmosphere, that has worked to unify and promote Minnesota music for the last two decades. And local radio stations like The Current (89.3 KCMP FM) support the scene, spinning local hip-hop records during regular rotation, giving the music exposure and legitimacy.

The result of all that harambee is a scene that embodies Midwest values without compromising an edgy, hard-hitting sound. The output is purely authentic: a wealth of intelligent lyrics, a variety of voices and a slew of powerful beats. Urban Plains caught up with four Minneapolis-based rappers who give their insights on this refreshingly creative and collaborative scene, below.

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