Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hiphop Pit Stop: Detroit, MI

While hiphop has rich styles down South in Atlanta, out West in Los Angeles and up North in New York, one city often forgotten about that has a rich hiphop culture is Detroit.

Known for the productions of the late and legendary J Dilla (who we'll save a blog for later), Detroit holds a lot of emcees who have strong lyrical skills but little to no credit. Not to mention the OTHER producers who can compose tunes just as good as Dilla did in his day.

The first artist that comes to mind is Black Milk. Not only does he come with raw lyricism that could get him through 8 Mile (and no, I'm not talking about the movie), but he is also a great hiphop producer. He has done work with J Dilla, as well as Slum Village, Royce da 5'9" and Lloyd Banks.

Speaking of Royce, he has just joined the new hiphop mega-group Slaughterhouse, composed of lyrical monsters Joell Ortiz (hailing from New York), Joe Budden (hailing from New Jersey) and Crooked I (hailing from LA). This group has the potential to be a group that no rappers will approach to battle. Ever. But the story of Royce is an interesting one. He first made his footprint in the hiphop scene under Eminem (who is also from Detroit). They did numerous tracks together (if you check Em's old albums you'll see). After breaking away from Aftermath for personnel issues, he kept a low profile until joining Slaughterhouse.

Another great hiphop artist that represents for the 313 is Invincible. She not only spits hotter lyrics than most men in the rap game, but she does a lot of community work too, which makes her far more hiphop than a lot of artists out of ATL, New York and LA. She currently works with kids in a program called the Live Media Arts Project (LAMP), where they research a problem in the city (ranging from public housing to education), and based on their findings they use one of the elements of hiphop as a tool to report it. This could range from an album to a graffiti mural.

One of the best videos that gives you an idea of the current environmental state of Detroit, as well as a great grassroots effort by Invincible and LAMP, is this docu-music-video called "Locusts," featuring rhymes by Invincible and Finale (another dope emcee from Detroit), as well as interviews from the kids in LAMP.

1 comment:

  1. Star- so stoked to see this post! As a Detroit native and hip-hop enthusiast, I have always felt that the city has some of the realest talent but receives very little press. Also, commercial hip-hop radio stations in the city (we have two) have repeatedly refused to play the amazing music being created, much to the dismay of artists and fans alike.

    Thanks for the coverage. For anyone interested, check out Slum Village and related affiliates (Phat Kat is blowing up right now), Guilty Simpson, Frank-N-Dank and Illa J (Dilla's lil bro) just to name a few.