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Let’s Check in With MN’s First Gen Z Republican Lawmaker

Plus a North Side shooting, recapping the T-Wolves season, and why Yung Gravy is the future of music (and that's bad!) in today's Flyover.

5:12 PM CDT on April 27, 2023

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Elliott Engen

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Engen Peddles Pedophilia Panic

Last we checked on Elliott Engen (R-Lino Lakes), the 24-year-old Republican State Rep was the subject of a glowing MPR profile in which he made aisle-bridging proclamations like "I aim to unify, not divide," and "we actually have a heart." As we noted at the time, his first two unifying, heartfelt votes were against expanding abortion access and against restoring voting rights for felons; he'd also introduced a bill—the Shield Act—to effectively militarize schools.

So what's Engen up to these days? Well, this week state Rep. Leigh Finke (DFL-St. Paul), Minnesota's first trans state legislator, introduced changes to Minnesota's Human Rights Act that would remove language referring to pedophilia as a sexual orientation. (It's not, of course—it's a crime.) Fox News picked up the story, saying that the proposed change has "has shocked and bewildered Republicans" (aren't those their resting states?) who are confused about what it does. And our young guy Engen, here? Ever the unifier, he's been raising a big stink about it on Twitter, suggesting Finke is protecting pedophiles. Bad-faith trolling under the guise of concern: This guy is gonna fit right in.

Pitchfork: Yung Gravy Demonstrates How Future Music Will Suck

We know you’re probably as sick and tired of reading about Yung Gravy on Racket as we are not sick and not tired of writing about the hippin’ and hoppin’ Rochester lad. But we felt compelled to share the opening of Jayson Greene’s excellent piece in Pitchfork today, which details how the genesis of Yung’s “Betty (Get Money)” is indicative of a new and kinda dumb way music publishers are influencing music. Neither Gravy nor his producers came up with the idea to interpolate Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” into the track. Instead, Justin Shukat, the president of the music publishing company Primary Wave, which owned a percentage of the song’s rights, contacted them and suggested the interpolation. (His only problem with the resulting track was that it was called “Get Pussy.” Gravy, rebel that he is, obligingly changed the title.) 

What does this all mean? Well, we’ve all read stories about how companies like Primary Wave and Hipgnosis, as well as the publishing arms of established music industry companies like Universal, are shelling out multi-millions to up the rights to the music of aging songwriters—Dylan, for instance, sold his songs for more than $300 million. Greene’s piece points to the Gravy track as one example of what this will mean for music listeners as these companies begin peddling the use of these compositions to producers and artists—namely, very obvious interpolation of very familiar songs again and again and again.

Remembering the Dumb Timberwolves Season That Was

For our money, there's no better hoops writer in town than MinnPost's Britt Robson. That makes his farewell essay to the 2022-'23 Timberwolves squad required reading for even the most casual T-Pups fan. "Given all the injuries, the rhythm-disrupting roster-churn, and the variously random and self-imposed strife, a win-lose record of 44-45 still could give off the glimmer and heft of a glass half-full," Robson writes. "Until and unless you remember the caliber of the liquid that was supposed to be in the glass. It is a memory that calls for more discerning taste buds, and compels you to 'savor' a season that was almost perennially half-empty."

And savor he does, putting an almost optimist spin on a Wolves team that mortgaged its future for Rudy Gobert, the fan-insulting, teammate-punching, aging 7-footer that cost the team four first-round picks, plus rookie star Walker Kessler. Robson argues that the core of talented players who project to be with the team next season—KAT, budding superstar Anthony Edwards, Gobert, wall-punching Jaden McDaniels, and a deep cast of role guys—mean the potential for this Wolves era has yet to be fully tapped. "Bottom line, this was a disappointing season, made more so by a raising of the bar while the actual teamwork performance was lowered," he concludes. "But miraculously, the future isn’t mortgaged. Wolves fans know that hope springs eternal, dubiously and otherwise."

In Developing News...

A man named Chue Feng Yang was shot dead on the North Side this Thursday at noon after an hours-long standoff with a FBI SWAT unit at the 3700 block of North Dupont Avenue. "After barricading himself for several hours, the subject was armed as he emerged from the home," reads the agency's statement. "The subject was fatally wounded, and another individual required medical assistance. Both were transported to the hospital." MPD say they were there to assist on scene, but weren't directly involved. And that's about all we know for now.

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