Last Friday night, as I sat in the green room of The Rev Room in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, it occurred to me that I might be witnessing a monumental moment in the history of Memphis’ Aristocrunk rappers Lord T and Eloise. Claiming to be “the first legitimate rap group to represent the perspective of the uber-wealthy,” the band has taken the southeast by storm, selling out their very first show at The Hitone in Memphis, Tennessee, before they had even released an album.
As the characters of 18th century aristocrat Lord Treadwell, gold-skinned wordsmith Maurice Eloise and producer and beat maker MysterE paced the small room (as they waited for their music cue from DJ Witnesse to hit the stage), I wondered if this might be their last performance in a mid-sized club. The satirical and comedic purveyors of hip-hop had just come from a well-received performance at Bonnaroo and were one of the highlights of the 2008 Beale Street Music Festival. They spent the last year opening for everyone, from The Yin Yang Twins, to Lil Jon, to Feist, to My Chemical Romance. With the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album Chairmen of the Bored, due for release this week, the clubs they’ve been selling out for the last year might not be able to contain their break-out success for much longer.
Just a few hours before their high energy performance to a standing room only crowd, I was treated to a preview of the new album, as we drove from Memphis in a van packed with Eloise, MysterE, DJ Witnesse, Kaz, and their tour manager. The new joint is filled with A-listers of the rap scene, including Al Kapone, 8Ball, Khia Shine, Dirt Nasty, Gangsta Boo, and the aforementioned Kaz; all well-respected rappers in the Memphis music scene and beyond. They even had Cody Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-Stars collaborate on some beats, which left the new album overflowing with songs.
The theme of the new album stays true to the party rap and irony-fueled nature of their debut full-length Aristocrunk, with songs that revel in excess like “Palm Beach”, “Coup D’Etat”, “Yacht”, “High Horse”, and “Hot”. It’s a mix that is not only entertaining for those who take their music at face value, but also for listeners who are in-tune enough to catch when the band is obviously winking at the crowd, as they drink from their golden goblets.
If their ever was a group that has made the most of internet marketing it has to be Lord T and Eloise. From their viral video for “Million Dollar Boots”, to Eloise’s crashing of the red carpet of The Grammys this past February (that landed him on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show), the group seems to be popping up in all the right places. They have caught the ear of major blogs such as Blender, Spin, Giant, and Radar Magazines. A review from the San Francisco Bay Guardian said it best when they called the group “polished, unique, and catchy as hell…funny, relevant, and original.”