Christopher M. Keller is a Minneapolis based emcee and youth advocate. As an adolescent Keller struggled deeply with identity, societal expectations and spiritual belongingness, and as a result was often in-conflict and/or in-trouble. At 17 he had his first profound experience with a ‘communal freestyle’. Not only did it become a positive outlet, but a tool to help him see clearer into his inner world and interconnectedness of the human experience. Now at 34, his philosophy and approach rests on these two pillars: improvisation and community.
Best known for his stream-of-consciousness approach to writing, free-styling and performing, Keller has cultivated a unique voice which draws from lineages of rap and folk and ranges from melodic choral arrangements to rapid-fire free-jazz deliveries often channeled in the form of story-telling. In addition to his solo releases, he was frontman alongside Micheal ‘Eyedea’ Larsen in Rhymesayers’ freestyle group, Face Candy. Keller is also co-founder of Minneapolis-based artist collective F I X, which released his latest release, Kairos: a two-part album with music by Graham O’Brien.
As well as leading a residency-based music workshop at Safe Zone, an organization which serves youth experiencing homelessness, Keller currently works at Venture Academy Charter School as a SPED paraprofessional, yoga instructor and Artist-in-Residency/experiential field-trip coordinator, where he bridges connections between local artists and students. Keller was recently awarded the 2017 Artist Initiative Grant through the Minnesota States Arts Board where he will collaborate with Native Drummer & Singer, Alvin ‘Good-Heart Golden-Eagle Baker’ in a series of ‘Sunrise’ performances at Minnesota State Parks.
F R E E S T Y L E
Facilitated an eight-week residency-based workshop at Kulture Klub Collaborative: an art organization that engages art and artistic practices to provide enriching multidisciplinary opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness. The following excerpt was written by lead art-director, Crystal Brinkman: Kulture Klub Collaborative was fortunate enough to have Minneapolis-based musician and rapper Kristoff Krane facilitate and curate an eight-week residency based on performance, writing, and recording in our studio. Young artists drew inspiration from videos of performances by Nina Simone, Amiri Baraka, Lauryn Hill, and Gil Scott Heron. Discussions about identity, race, police brutality, homelessness, foster care, and family were the sparks igniting the flames of explosive creativity. Guest artists graced us with their stories and skill sets, and added to the experience. This is video is a documentation of both the process and the work that came out of it. That work turned into an album called 'The Deep End', named for the levels that these young folks went to. Listen to the album to the right. Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Coordinated and Co-facilitated an Experiential Field Trip with students of Venture Academy in collaboration with Native American Elders, Alvin 'Good-Heart, Golden-Eagle' Baker & Leola ‘One Feather’ at The Organic Compound: a farm-stead south of the Twin Cities that implements regenerative practices to encourage sustainability.