What pandemic? Twin Cities hip-hop hero Nur-D is busier than ever

He can rock madly or be cuddly sweet, as his set for our Mini-Grandstand demonstrates.

Portrait of Twin Cities rapper Nur-D .] Jerry Holt • Jerry.Holt@startribune.com Twin Cities rapper Nur-D leads the pack in First Avenue's annual Bes
Portrait of Twin Cities rapper Nur-D .] Jerry Holt • Jerry.Holt@startribune.com Twin Cities rapper Nur-D leads the pack in First Avenue's annual Best New Bands showcase on Saturday. Matt Allen spent his day at his favorite store "Source Comics" Thursday January 16, 2020 in Roseville ,MN.

— Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Based on Nur-D’s activities and output so far this year, you wouldn’t know that he too has been living through a pandemic.

The St. Paul-reared, Rosemount-raised rapper wowed the crowd headlining First Avenue’s Best New Bands showcase in January, a giddy performance with a full band, horn section and dancers of all sizes. Once the lockdown hit, he kept up his maniacal stage energy on screen with cool guests in his MN Arts Relief Fund livestream gigs, and several solo virtual sets (including one from Paisley Park). He also served as a frontline medical caregiver during the George Floyd riots.

As you can hear in his Mini-Grandstand performance, the real-life Matt Allen — the stage name reflects his unabashed love for comics and video games — has also been churning out new songs at a pace that defies quarantine standards.

He dropped the new EP “Trapped in My Room” in April. He has since posted subsequent singles, including “My Girls,” a Chance the Rapper-flavored tribute to his nieces and goddaughter that shows just how cuddly sweet yet madly rocking his persona can be.

Look for all of Nur-D’s music at his Bandcamp.com page and check for updates (including a new surprise project!) at nurdrocks.com.