As hip-hop naturally changes over time, it becomes more challenging for artists and listeners to maintain a mutual commitment towards each other, especially when styles and personal tastes evolve. When I think of two rappers who have successfully maintained a loyal and dedicated fanbase in this fast-paced digital age, The Grouch and Eligh immediately come to mind.
Back when I was in high school, The Grouch and Eligh were part of a crew called Living Legends that changed the way I viewed hip-hop music. Regardless of whether you listened to mainstream acts in the late 90s (i.e. Nas, Jay-Z, 2Pac) and/or underground acts (i.e. Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Company Flow), these artists were all signed to major or independent labels to help push their music to a large targeted audience. Keep in mind, this is when the internet was not around much.
In contrast, Living Legends did everything on their own without a label, and eventually spawned successful solo careers, especially for The Grouch and Eligh. Despite their ever-growing fanbase, both The Grouch and Eligh have stayed true to the Do-It-Yourself style for over a decade, whether it has involved solo albums, or collaboration albums under the duo name of G&E. They have faced many obstacles in this business, yet come back stronger with each project, further cementing their mark on music. What strikes me in particular is that The Grouch and Eligh do not just speak to my generation, but also the future young generation of hip-hop listeners who appreciate originality and quality. As a grown man, I would have never imagined that I would see junior high kids walking down the sidewalk near Venice Beach singing along lyrics to the “Say G&E!” song that came blasting from my car (this happened last summer).
Now, in one week The Grouch and Eligh will be releasing another project under the G&E name, this time an unprecedented triple disc album called The Tortoise and The Crow. It will consist of one G&E album called 333, one Grouch album called Lighthouses, and one Eligh album called Nomads. The Grouch and Eligh already shattered their Kickstarter goal to facilitate the album’s release. In addition, they recently held a special listening party in San Francisco that I was lucky enough to attend. I can confirm that the new music is (not surprisingly) dope as hell and reminds me why I love this culture. Peep the latest singles from the new album below: