New Music

Elzhi Flexes Classic M.C. Skills on Forthcoming ‘Lead Poison’

His track 'Two 16s' is a breath of fresh air for old-school hip hop fans

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Hip-hop’s not dead (despite what Nas once said), but sometimes it seems like traditional M.C. skills might be. Contemporary hip hop is crowded with pop stars (Drake, G-Eazy) and human memes (Lil B, RiFF RAFF) that seem to have little to do with actual rapping. Enter Detroit M.C. Elzhi, a bastion of traditional rhyme skills who released the song ‘Two 16s’ today (listen below). The song is a cut from Elzhi’s long-awaited LP Lead Poison.

‘Two 16s’ finds Elzhi telling solemn street tales over introspective production by Karriem Riggins. Both the mood and subject matter are reminiscent of classic ‘street knowledge’ elegies like Big L’s ‘Street Struck’ and Nas’ ‘One Love’. The evocation of Nas in particular makes sense because Elzhi is best known for his Elmatic tribute to Nas’ masterpiece Illmatic. The storytelling and verbal gymnastics on ‘Two 16s’ will be a breath of fresh air for fans of those aforementioned nineties rap giants.

Lead Poison was funded via Kickstarter. The album stirred some controversy due to extended delays partially caused by Elzhi’s struggle with depression. He told Noisey, “one of the reasons why I’ve been gone is because I’ve been getting chased by this fucking black cloud that I can’t seem to shake.”

Lead Poison drops March 25th and it sounds like it’s worth the wait.

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