From his smooth, razor-sharp verses with Slum Village, Elzhi quickly established himself as an MC in the realest sense (and think about how many MCs can be smooth and razor-sharp at the same time – I’ll wait). Whether he’s dropping game to a lady or reminding you why his wit and wordplay is in another realm, Elzhi’s stayed Elzhi as he transitioned away from Slum to establish himself as a solo artist. When he reinvented Nas’s classic Illmatic as Elmatic, Elzhi proved to still be on the innovative tip, as he not only flipped songs that would be frightening to most, but he added a live band just to show off a little.
In 2016, Elzhi is still that same dude. Bars for days with that smooth-like-butter flow, but the artistic growth continues. With Lead Poison, an album that unfortunately took on a double-meaning once the Flint water crisis hit, Elzhi is an open book. From his battles with depression to his love life, nothing is off limits in what is his most personal album to date. I caught up with the Detroit legend to talk about the album, mental health and hip-hop, and much more.