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Music

by Kevin Crowe

Born into unimaginable luxury, Lord T and Eloise have come to the New World to spread the gospel of Aristocrunk. Their story began in England, when the two burst forth from a golden placenta: One child was born with golden skin, the other with white ringlets and a decadent blue ring, and our heroes spent their early days trimming hedge funds, wooing ladies with their Epicurean tastes and, of course, spending more money than any other rappers currently in the game. These dandy bluebloods aren't kidding when they say they're here to save rap. They're vicious on the mike, even though they're bedecked in the most foppish digs this side of the 18th Century.

According to legend, on the shore of their private beach, a bottle washed ashore, with a note inside. The rhymes are in danger , the note said. Hurry, you must come to America to save rap. The note was signed by MisterE, the mysterious American who has since become the prime beatmonger behind all of Lord T and Eloise's rhymes.

â“We're trying to save the game,â” MisterE says. â“It's the music of our generation, and we've watched it rise from greatness to become a genre lost in the wilderness. We are here to let it out.â”

â“We bring our Aristocrunk because we have a love for rap music. People misinterpret; they think we're mistreating hip hop. But what we're doing is real.â”

The whole charade is brilliantly tongue-in-cheek. Sporting a huge white-powder wig, Lord T (née Cameron Mann) has a deceptively smooth flow. When Eloise (née Robert Anthony) comes into the picture, it's pure theater. Every inch of his exposed skin is slathered in gold paint, just like Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger .

Cue the strings/ Bump the cello , MisterE tells us on â“Million Dollar Boots,â” a song that features Memphis-crunk stalwart Al Kapone. It's probably not like anything you've ever heard. The beat flows ever so delicately, like a Baroque motet. And then comes Lord T's silver-spooned lyricism: People of pedigree come to see Lord T/ Geneticists try to decode my fine breeding/ It does not mean a thing if it does not cha-ching, cha-ching/ People travel the world to kiss my blue ring/ Come into my trust-fund/ Where the money come from?

Who cares Lord T , Eloise chimes in, his voice just a little raspy. It's just another lump sum!

â“It's about our estates, our parties, our lifestylesâ. I think we are bringing honesty back to the game,â” Eloise explains. â“Celebrating once again the important parts of humanity through rap, instead of the shallow elements. Our goal is to take the lead, because we're born leaders.â”

â“We grew up with the Beastie Boys and Grandmaster Flash,â” Mann says, as he drops the outrageous persona of Lord T. â“We've watched it grow from an underground movement into a worldwide thing. It's been over-commercialized.â”

â“A lot of the rap out there does take itself too seriously,â” Anthony explains. He too has become more austere, a little less flamboyant than his on-stage antics would lead you to believe. â“There are a lot of tired themes. We've heard about growing up in the ghetto. We've heard about gun shots.â”

The rhymes are as cocksure as any crunk to come out of Memphis in recent memory. And the beats are thick, beefed up with plenty of synth blips. Nevertheless, true to the aristocratic sensibilities of his frontmen, MisterE adds a tinge of class to his beats by sampling opera singers and cellos.

â“Is this project degrading rap music? Is it negative in any way?â” Mann asks. â“More than anything, what we're trying to do with the satire is to really poke fun at American culture, not rap music. American obsessions with getting their bodies worked on. Our characters, although they indulge in these excesses, are a part of our social commentary.â”

The over-the-top decadence isn't so much an indictment of the current state of rap music. Rather, Lord T and Eloise symbolize the wanton excesses, the big pimpin' anthem of epicure consumption. Cashmere head to toe , they tell us in the aptly titled â“Cashmere.â” How many cashmeres had to die for this?/ I don't know.

â“It's performance art,â” Mann says. All the tired tropes that continue to litter rap music are embellished to the n th degree whenever Lord T, Eloise and MisterE step on the stage. It's ridiculous. It's velveteen decadence. It's the most fun you'll have this weekend.

WHO: Lord T & Eloise WHEN: Friday, July 6, 10 p.m. WHERE: World Grotto

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