The first rapper to appear on Chairmen of the Bored, the second album from high-concept rich-white-guy rap duo Lord T. & Eloise, isn't one of the principals: It's old-school Memphis rap stalwart Al Kapone. It's a hint of real-life humility beneath the duo's outrageously self-absorbed exterior.
This follow-up to the 2006 debut Aristocrunk is a more confident, better-sounding affair, produced by vocalist sideman Myster-E (Elliot Ives) along with Eloise (Robert Anthony) and featuring a dense collection of local hip-hop voices that includes 8Ball, Gangsta Boo, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Kaz, Free Sol, and, um, Cody Dickinson. (DJ Witnesse rounds out a duo that's really a quartet on stage.)
On record, Lord T. & Eloise's concept loses its visual accompaniment — Lord T. (Cameron Mann) clad in powdered wig and regal attire; Eloise a gold-plated mutant with his hair inexplicably in curlers. But the boisterous goofing on old-money excess still connects. That these guys satirize themselves as upscale white outsiders more than they critique hip-hop's own materialism is, in part, what makes it possible for the group to endear themselves to the proper rap artists who come along for the ride.
Outlandish comic boasts are, of course, part of hip-hop tradition, and Lord T. & Eloise put their own novel spin on the basics, envisioning a lavish world of Palm Beach vacations, Mideast business trips, parties where they "do the foxtrot with El DeBarge," sailing Cape Cod with Kenny Loggins bumpin' in the yacht.
Hip-hop is a very verbal form, and Lord T. & Eloise have lots of fun with the high-falutin vernacular their characters make possible: "Yeah, you're the one whom I ignore as I cast my castigations on the ones I deem impure," Eloise sniffs on "High Horse," later explaining, "When I leave the boutique, the garçon starts to pout." Even better is when they push their creations to their most outlandish extremes. I'm particularly fond of this moment from "Gettin' Richer": "I'm so rich that the rich are watching their backs/For fear that Eloise has returned to take it all back/I'm so rich that when I have a thought, action occurs/Like the one I just had, that's why there are women here in furs." — CH