Friday, January 30, 2009

The Train of Thought Lounge: Elzhi & Royce Da 5'9"

It's been a while since we've spotlighted any straight-up hip-hop here in the lounge, so I figured I'd break out this recently discovered gem from two Detroit MCs. In the past few months, I had been losing faith in hip-hop as a genre. Thankfully, a Howard alum compiled his top 100 hip-hop songs of 2008 for his Web site which is how I found this absolute jam, among many others, and needless to say faith has been fully restored.

The opening sample is from the landmark Motown 25 TV concert from 1983, which celebrated Motown Records' 25th anniversary and saw Michael Jackson debut the "Moonwalk." Hence the song's title, "Motown 25" (pretty self-explanatory).

Elzhi's opening stanza is very solid, containing a near perfect combination of clever punchlines, metaphors and double-entendres. Definitely B+ material. The reason I deem his verse near perfect is made evident after Royce Da 5'9" appears and summarily destroys the track.

His verse is purely diabolical. It took me three or four listens to catch every devastating reference, boast or diss. As a protege of Eminem, I'd enjoyed some of his earlier work (namely 2002's "Rock City" track). He has clearly matured into a more vicious, yet still cerebral rapper.

Probably goes without saying, but this song may contain some language not suitable for work (or stuck-up, out-of-touch, condescending Fox News anchors).

Elzhi - Motown 25 - Thisis50

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