It's been two years since old-money rap duo Lord T & Eloise became a local cause celebre via their genre-starting debut Aristocrunk. You'd think men of such wealth and power could meet demand for new product more quickly, but, as the group puts the finishing touches on its second album, Chairmen of the Bored, in preparation for a record-release party at the Hi-Tone Café this week, gold-plated MC Eloise explains the delay.
"It took so long because we were traveling. We had to check out some real estate in Dubai and definitely had to oversee some other projects," Eloise says. "As you know, we're not just musicians, we're capitalists and businessmen. We love music, but we do have other responsibilities."
The 18-track Chairmen of the Bored features guest turns from a who's who of local rap talent, including 8Ball, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, and Gangsta Boo.
"We've got some new guests on there, so I think it will be a more fun record than Aristocrunk," Eloise says. "It's definitely a more high-impact record."
An early advance of the unfinished disc suggests tighter rhyme skills and more consistently laugh-inducing lyrics (sample: "Eloise/The type of guy to order super-size and still steal your fries").
"Having been tutored by Memphis' greats, I think we've certainly elevated our skills," says Eloise of the way the group has been adopted by many of the cities' foremost rap artists.
Lord T & Eloise — which also includes rapper/singer/producer MysterE and DJ Witnesse — have been busy recently with a string of high-profile performances, including shows at the South By Southwest Music Festival, the Beale Street Music Festival, and, most recently, at Bonnaroo.
"We touched down in our Apache helicopter and rocked a very enthusiastic crowd of revelers and potential capitalists," Eloise says of the Bonnaroo performance. He also suggests that the group used its power to manipulate the weather at Memphis in May, instigating a downpour after its Friday afternoon performance in order to force Philadelphia hip-hop band The Roots to cancel and make Lord T & Eloise the centerpiece hip-hop act on stage that night.
"That was us. We did that. If you were watching, you would notice that it rained after we played," Eloise says. "Was that a coincidence? We'll let posterity decide."
Lord T & Eloise celebrate the release of Chairmen of the Bored Saturday, June 28th, at the Hi-Tone Café. Free Sol, the hip-hop fusion band featuring MysterE alter ego Elliot Ives on guitar, will open the evening and show off some of the material the group recently recorded in Miami for Justin Timberlake's production company.
As for headliner, Eloise promises special guests and that the group will make it rain like Joey Dorsey at the Plush Club. Doors open at the Hi-Tone at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
Another new locally produced hip-hop album is Stacks of Stax Re-Staxed, a mix disc from Memphix/Tunnels Clones DJ Redeye Jedi. Born out of an event he curated at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music a couple of years ago, the album consists entirely of music sampled from Stax recordings and reconfigured by Redeye into new music. The disc's intro, which culls samples from 30 different Stax recordings into a four-minute mix, was conceived for the original event. Redeye then extended the idea into an album-length collection of mixes, with most other tracks using only a handful of sources.
"I got busy trying to finish up the Tunnel Clones album," Redeye says of the gap between doing the intro mix and completing the album. "But [once that was done] I wanted to get another project finished before the end of the year. I finished getting everything mixed right before the new year and was able to get all the artwork done by February."
The mix draws heavily from late-period Stax LPs, including records released on Stax subsidiaries such as Enterprise. "I was definitely trying to use more stuff people haven't heard," Redeye says.
Hip-hop fans will recognize snippets that have been sampled by hip-hop artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Redeye pressed a run of only 500 copies of the disc, which are available locally at Midtown record stores Goner and Shangri-La and online at TurntableLab.com, though Redeye hopes to make the record available digitally in the near future.