In part inspired by their Osborn High School classmate Esham, who started releasing records at age 13, and by mixtapes from New York’s underground — handed to them by DJ Kevo — Thyme and Mudd took to the mics.
Consisting of Mudd, Thyme, Proof (who hosted the Shop’s open mics) and J Dilla, 5 Elementz was a future who’s who of Detroit hip hop. (J Dilla, you’ll note, produced the group’s first three recordings.)
After an extended hiatus, 5 ELA is back with a vengeance. The group just dropped the album-mixtape …Will Be Televised, their EP World Wide Riot will be out in fall, and their album Global Warming hits in 2010. DJ Sicari — who break danced for Proof back at the Shop — joined 5 ELA in 2002.
In part to provide creative space for Detroit hip hop akin to the Hip Hop Shop, Sicari opened the 5 Elements Gallery on Michigan Avenue in Corktown last year. Equal parts cyber café, art gallery and performance space, 5 Elements has become one of the major outlets for the next wave of Detroit hip-hop culture. "And Detroit makes hip hop go round," Thyme says.