It has recently been brought to my attention that–with the exception of the honorable Marshall Mathers–I have been neglecting one of America’s best Hip Hop scenes Detroit. So let’s dive in with a little music.
Elzhi on the rhymes. Black Milk on the beat. And oh that boy Black Milk has fire to spare on the mic and behind the boards.
Black Milk and plenty more after the break…
Now, you can’t really mention Black Milk without mentioning Dilla. This is not going to turn into a Dilla tribute post, so I’m putting up one of his solo tracks that’s been a favorite of mine for a few years.
But you know what, let’s keep Dilla’s beats in the next two, shall we?
Yeah, those are lovely. Guilty Simpson, of course, is also from Detroit.
I’m sure there’s some material I’m forgetting (I haven’t even touched on Slum Village, Royce, MC Breed, Obie Trice, or Wajeed), but I feel this is a pretty good overview of where Detroit Hip Hop has been and where it stands now. For many years I think the Detroit scene struggled to find an identity. It had a national superstar, but now it has a sound that you can hear and identify directly with Detroit. While the influence of early 90s New York production looms large over Detroit Hip Hop (as it does over Chicago Hip Hop), Detroit producers mix enough grime and bump with their soulfulness to create a sound that maintains uniqueness despite familiarity. And their rappers are probably the best in the nation right now, simply between Black Milk and Royce murdering tracks left and right. Up there with Atlanta as one of the Hip Hop scenes that must always be watched. Don’t sleep on Detroit.
BONUS: The darkside of the D…