Back in Eminem’s Marshal Mathers LP days, I was introduced to D12 on the song Under the Influence. Having already been decently familiar with famous Eminem but knowing nothing of his past, I was kind of amazed. It turned out that the transgressive White lyricist was backed by a crew of Black hardcore rappers, who shared some of his shock tendencies but were mostly just really solid emcees. So I was excited to hear more of the Dirty Dozen, but singles like Purple Pills and My Band annoyed me much too much to allow that to happen. Now, here I am, in 2015, finally listening to a full D12 project, The Devil’s Night Mixtape. And just like with Guilty Simpson, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long with another Detroit artist!
When I think of Detroit hip-hop, people like Elzhi, Black Milk, and Slum Village come to mind. Not Guilty Simpson. While I’ve known of Simpson since first hearing him years ago on Elzhi’s Fire remix (his is the second to last verse), I’ve never been compelled to explore his music beyond features and the Random Axe album. So Detroit’s Son, his fifth album on the Stones Throw label, is my first experience of Guilty Simpson as a solo artist. And, having now played it for a few weeks, I can safely say that I’ve been sleeping on this guy.
2010’s Villa Manifesto was supposed to be the last album from Detroit’s highly respected Slum Village crew. But, instead of ending on that sour note, group members T3 and Young RJ decided to keep the music flowing with some mixtapes and now this album. The title, Yes!, couldn’t be any more appropriate, because, after my frustrating recent experiences with a lot of new rap, “YES!” is exactly my reaction to finally hearing something soulful and fun like this.