Showing posts with label elzhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elzhi. Show all posts

Saturday, March 10, 2018

video review: 'khrysis & elzhi are jericho jackson' by jericho jackson

Man, I really wished I could call this great... but I just can't. It's on the cusp, but there are problems I can't quite ignore. Meh, it happens.

Okay, next up... David Byrne. Whoo boy, that'll be a doozy, stay tuned!

album review: 'khrysis & elzhi are jericho jackson' by jericho jackson

Man, I wanted to get this review out earlier. 

And that's the problem with certain indie hip-hop projects: you might see the duo name and shrug unless you know who it is, and when I heard it was actually the Detroit MC Elzhi teaming up with veteran indie producer Khrysis to assemble a project, I definitely wanted to get in front of it... but it fell back on my schedule and I just never got the chance to push it up before now. Not ideal by any means, but considering how this seems to have flown under the radar for a lot of critics, both on and off YouTube, better late than never!

And while most of you should know Elzhi from his work in Slum Village or his mid-2000s breakthrough The Preface, newer listeners might have caught his 2016 release Lead Poison, the sort of layered hip-hop overflowing with great storytelling that hooked me very quickly, even if I wouldn't quite call it a personal favourite of mine that year. Now with Khrysis... hell, dig into the liner notes of Justus League, Little Brother, Rapsody and Jean Grae and you'll see a list of credits going back to the early 2000s, infused with the sort of textured, jazz-influenced samples that'd be a natural backdrop for Elzhi to dominate. So with them teaming up for a tight collection of songs just under forty minutes, I had a lot of high hopes for this, so what did we get from Khrysis & Elzhi Are Jericho Jackson?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

video review: 'lead poison' by elzhi

Finally glad I got a chance to cover this, and damn, it was so good. Next up... well, there's Tim Hecker, but that Sturgill Simpson and Parquet Courts records is tempting too... stay tuned!

album review: 'lead poison' by elzhi

I've talked a bit before about regionalism in hip-hop, how certain areas cultivate certain sounds and styles of rap. New York hip-hop tends to be more opulent and proud, the West Coast trends towards more laid-back grooves and g-funk, the South is known for trap and hard, trunk-knocking bangers, you get the picture.

And yet if we cast our eyes to the city of Detroit, only one word springs to my mind: bars. Formerly the engine of the United States but now fallen into disrepair and poverty, to me Detroit has always been characterized by hard-edged MCs fighting their way out and building independence with sheer, mind-bending wordplay. Granted, I'll wholeheartedly admit a lot of this impression was probably crafted by an early liking for Eminem and seeing 8 Mile one too many times, but when you consider rappers like Eminem and Royce da 5'9'' or even more out there MCs like Danny Brown, one of the reasons they remain interesting rappers is how they construct their wordplay. And hell, even though I don't like Big Sean I'll give him credit for at least trying to hold up the legacy when he talks about his hometown.

And continuing in that tradition is Elzhi, former member of Slum Village which was most well-known as J.Dilla's group, though the two were not in the the group at the same time. For the longest time he was one of those MCs I had just not had the time to dig into - but I'm definitely glad I found time to check out his 2008 album The Preface, because it is just the type of hip-hop I really like. Great production courtesy of Black Milk, fantastic wordplay, and Elzhi delivering not just great bars but great stories, showing a ton of real promise and poise. Along with his mixtapes he also released a tribute to Nas' Illmatic in 2011, which is also pretty damn excellent... but let's get real, it's been nearly five years since we've heard an Elzhi project. This one was funded through Kickstarter back in 2013, but after extended delays we finally have it. Was it worth the wait?