Monday, October 19, 2009

Lord T & Eloise

Lord T and Eloise are a crunk rap group from Memphis, Tennessee.

Very visual in nature, Lord T is dressed continuously as an 18th century aristocrat, while Eloise wears a tuxedo and sports a "24-karat" gold skin. Alongside soul singer and producer, MysterE, this group of privileged gentlemen are on a self-proclaimed mission to save rap music.

Lord Treadwell and Maurice Eloise XIII (aka Lord T and Eloise) have dubbed their rap style "aristocrunk". Though perceived by many as an oxymoron, the term is meant to describe a lifestyle as well as a musical genre. Many songs of their album Aristocrunk are accompanied by harpsichord and baroque style music, while others stay close to the traditional crunk Memphis sound. Whereas Lord T's rhymes seem to inspired by the "slow train" lyrical style similar to Snoop Dogg, Eloise's style draws more comparisons to Chuck D of Public Enemy. Drawing from a diverse palette of influences, the group admits that the Beastie Boys, David Bowie, Busta Rhymes, The ODB, 8Ball and MJG, Al Kapone have all been influences. While tracks like "Cashmere" and "Penthouse Suite" have a more refined, classical edge with the incorporation of strings and cello, other tracks like "Pillz" and "Make Dat Monet" have a more crunk, dirty south edge to them, featuring 808 drums and heavy bottom end.

The lyrical content of this band has been highly lauded by critics, who cite the cleverness of the turns of phrase and the "catchiness" of the hooks. Unique in its disregard for traditional rap dialect, "aristocrunk" lyrics are nevertheless made up of many rap mainstays, using themes common to regular rap, such as the supremacy of the artists in the areas of success, sexual prowess, and financial know-how (e.g. in the video for "Million Dollar Boots", they are shown with the ticker for the NASDAQ stock exchange displayed across their teeth, in place of a "grill").

An interesting mixture of performance art, party rap, and social commentary, the group's lyrics cover a range of topics from plastic surgery to the stock market to prescription drug use and abuse. Where there are overtones of fun and frivolity, there are often undertones of admonitions and satire. Pensive and absurd at the same time, it is no wonder that the group has baffled and intrigued fans and foes alike with their stunning musical display.

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