2411 Hennepin Avenue, in the Uptown area of South Minneapolis, houses a worldly dynamic record store for the Hip Hop generation. 2411 Hennepin Avenue, in the Uptown area of South Minneapolis, houses a worldly dynamic record store for the Hip Hop generation. Fifth Element Record Store is part of a burgeoning music empire. Brent Sayers is the mastermind behind the scenes, holding two titles as owner of the store and CEO of RhymeSayers Entertainment. Under the umbrella of RhymeSayers Entertainment, is the RhymeSayers record label, which represents some stellar underground rap talent.
Sayers developed a passion for rap in his youth. Growing up in the eighties, it was common for Sayers and friends to create and share rhymes with one another. That was just the beginning of a Minnesota rap phenomena. Their creativity couldn’t be harnessed but gained familiarity amongst the masses and eventually developed a following. With age and greater responsibilities, Sayers melded his passion and career aspirations. While creating rhymes was his forte, Sayers determined there was a greater future in talent production and management. In 1995 RhymeSayers Entertainment Record Label began. In the beginning there were three core artists, including Sayers, Atmosphere, and Musab. Over time the artist roster expanded to include Brother Ali, Oliver Hart aka Eyedea, Soul Position (RJD2 & Blueprint), Mr. Dibbs, Semi Official, and Los Nativos. Beyond their uniquely diverse talent, Sayers values the artists’ many contributions. He said, “this is an artist based company. The artists are involved.” As an example some artists hold the responsibility of tour management or production management. In the beginning, artists performed up to seven nights a month in Minnesota venues like First Avenue and Red Sea. With all the touring and the release of a full length cd Sayers said, “[RhymeSayers] has had a big impact on the local scene. Now we are expanding into the national market.”
Sayers operates with a business acumen leading him to success. This characteristic is essential for survival in what is rumored to be a vicious music industry. Sayers is a game player, never wavering in the face of obstacles, but working hard to place RhymeSayers on the map. Meeting with major record labels and distributors is no small task, but Sayers regards his business as an untapped wellspring of talent. Many times, to acquire success, artists lose their identity in conforming to the music industry’s demands. Sayers said, “we are bringing it up another notch, but staying on our own terms.”
Minnesota has never been nationally recognized as a hot market for underground rap. Sayers has accepted the challenge because RhymeSayers offers a unique twist on this genre of music. “RhymeSayers Entertainment is good at what we do. We are well-rounded, professional, and diverse in our range of artists. For most independent labels the talent is all the same, and that works to their advantage.” Sayers continued by saying that RhymeSayers doesn’t operate with the cookie cutter image, because one artist’s work is totally different from the next. “There is certain music for different things. We can reach all kinds of people on different levels, rather than one particular artist, and one particular sound.”
At a young age, with a wife and children, Sayers has accomplished an amazing feat. He realized his dream and is living it out. His work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit are values he comes by naturally. “I picked up the entrepreneurial spirit from my father. I was blessed to have parents that instilled an independent spirit in my upbringing.” He said, because of parental influence, he developed a strong work ethic and stayed out of trouble. He was always told, “if you are going to do something do it right.” Sayers always operated within that vein of thinking. “Rather than always going to parties, I threw parties. Instead of always going to clubs, I had club nights.”
He finds it unfortunate to see youth glorify the perceived materiali