Published Mar 29, 2016Anxious hip-hop heads can rest easy. Elzhi's latest LP, Lead Poison, is an exercise in catharsis.
With "Medicine Man," the Detroit wordsmith opens the album by dropping wisdom gained in an encounter with a stranger: "Don't fall for the illusions of losing / 'Cause going through ups and downs creates the W." Elzhi's attempt to channel his inner poisons into the 16-track LP breeds some heavy-hearted, yet undeniably moving gems. He laments lost friends (including the great J Dilla) and love on the piano-laced "February," a time of year once marked by carefree winters in youth, but now rife with hard-learned lessons. Those pining for flashbacks of The Preface and the Slum Village days will surely rock with "Cloud," on which Elzhi tries to shed his baggage, or "dodge raindrops," over a soul-sampled beat reminiscent of past collaborator Black Milk, but courtesy of Bombay.
While Elzhi proves a masterful storyteller on lighter-hearted yet revelatory tracks like "Weedipedia" and "Friendzone," Lead Poison is not without some minor hiccups. While "Egocentric" raises the ceiling for simile-laden braggadocio, the Quelle Chris-produced track is an anomaly in an otherwise soul-baring project. The quirky, eerie "She Sucks," a tale of a meeting with a vampire vixen gone wrong, provides little more than a sharp left turn from the album's otherwise well-executed focus.
Those disillusioned by the wait, briefly addressed on "Introverted," will be ecstatic at the MC's deft surpassing of his self-imposed artistic challenge. Elzhi doesn't just let listeners in on Lead Poison; he aids them in creating their own W. (GLOW365 LLC)