Soul purpose: Detroit hip hop 2003 

As evidenced by everyone from Kem to Slum Village, D12 to Eminem, Detroit is no longer the perennial bridesmaid to New York and LA on the scope of national hip hop. We’re not just talking sales figures and levels of celebrity — we’re talking creativity, inspiration and downright resourcefulness. As Detroit is quickly becoming an international center of renown for myriad strains of hip hop and rap, the city has also proved itself skillful in a way that hides all craft. But, certainly, things are changing.

Each week throughout the summer, we will examine finer points of hip hop in Detroit; a series of comprehensive stories on the underdogs, the coulda-shouldas and those breaking out nationally, with profiles on local labels, producers and artists making it happen. The series starts now with Khary Kimani Turner’s piece on Pajam, a Detroit-based production team that has a hand in the way soul, R&B and rap is heard around the world.

Read all of the Soul purpose: Detroit hip hop 2003 features:

Pajam party
Khary Kimani Turner
Hometown trio becomes international idol makers.

The king has entered the building
Nate Cavalieri
And, yes, his real name is Berry Gordy.

Hush life
Hobey Echlin
MC grows up, in and out of Detroit rap.

Say cheese
Khary Kimani Turner
The East Side Chedda Boyz look beyond bootleggers and strip bars.

One-week wonders
Nate Cavalieri
Spirited MC battles at Lush are a land of hip-hopportunity.

Shoni backward
Khary Kimani Turner
Inohs Sivad’s folky hip hop soul comes clean.

Baby beatsmiths
David Valk
Teen producers balance street cred with commerce.

The streets are alive
David Valk
Waajeed's beats buff Detroit's 'beautiful ugly.'

From the choir to the charts
Khary Kimani Turner
Kem stays grounded as stardom beckons.

Amplified life
Khary Kimani Turner
Fiddler steps out front again.

Lacks' luster
David Valk
Detroit keeps calling expat producer/rapper home.

Left end of the dial
Ronit Feldman
Noncommercial radio DJs uphold hip-hop honor.

Wikky-wikky wonders
Hobey Echlin
Lenn Swann and Detroit’s scratch DJs battle for respect and recognition.

Brian Smith is the music editor of Metro Times. E-mail

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