5/12/2017 02:20:00 PM

Happy Born Day, eLZhi! + Scattered Pictures

Elzhi Elmatic Original Artwork

A Happy Born Day shout-out to the good homie, eLZhi; one of the greatest lyricists and storytellers in all of Hip-Hop! In a career that dates back to the 90s, the Detroit spitter recorded tracks with DJ Houseshoes in '98 that would become the 'Out Of Focus' EP. (It was re-issued on CD in 2011, you should own it.) 'Scattered Pictures' is one of my favorite tracks, as well as 'S.A.R.A.H.,' and the storytelling on 'Boomerang Slang' is impeccable! It was long-rumored that Houseshoes had given the DATs to J Dilla to remix before his passing, and ultimately, it was Dilla who asked eLZhi to step in and become part of Slum Village and gave him his international debut on 'Welcome To Detroit' in 2001. As part of Slum Village, eL's verse on 'Keep Holdin On' always stood out to me as one of their most slept-on joints: "And deep inside my bones I'm believing that my poems that I'm reading is the songs to my freedom." From his 'Witness My Growth' double-disc mixtape, the 'Euro Pass' Tour CD, 'The Preface' and 'The Leftovers (Unmixedtape),' these releases along with his work with Slum further cemented his place among the very best of the industry. In 2011, eLZhi released 'Elmatic;' a critically-acclaimed homage to Nas & his hometown in Detroit that was flawless from start to finish. After some controversy involving his 2013 KickStarter campaign, he returned last year with 'Lead Poison,' which answered many questions surrounding his mindstate and some of the inner battles he was facing during its recording. The quality of the final product was enough to silence any detractors. A little perspective to close this out: "Words are powerful things. If very real emotions are behind the words, I think they can manifest things. So, if there's something I won't rap about or don't address, it's only because I don't underestimate the power of those words." (MetroTimes).