Elzhi The Preface

Elzhi The Preface
With an album title like The Preface, it’s as if Elzhi is promising that the best is yet to come. And what the criminally underrated MC delivers in the meantime is more than enough to tide us over. With this long awaited solo entry, the Detroit-based Elzhi and quintessential "rapper’s rapper” builds off the momentum created by his recent Europass tour mixtape. Obviously known best for his work with Slum Village, Elzhi breaks out on some lyrically aggressive heat that demonstrates that hip-hop can still be about rhyming substance and style in the new millennium. Backed by the typically solid production by fellow Detroit native Black Milk, The Preface, much like Elzhi, defies definition and is more concerned with hitting you with a wide array of different conceptual looks than playing it safe for those expecting strictly Slum Village-style bangers. Standouts include "The Science” and "D.E.M.O.N.S.,” along with the superlative "Colors,” a lyrically deft number that should be hailed as a candidate for best of 2008. With The Preface, Elzhi is poised to get the recognition he’s been due, and is living proof that those complaining about not finding good new hip-hop simply need to know where to look.

What is the significance of the album title?
The Preface is basically the beginning of my story. A lot of people may have misconceptions about what I do because I’m so diverse. Some people may say that I’m a battle rapper and only good for hot sixteens, while others may only know me from Slum Village and think I only do girl records. Everyone is accustomed to two-dimensional MCs that stick to the same flow. I come from an era where artists would flip styles all the time. So I wanted people to know that I’m a diverse MC.

Presently you are not on a major label. Is this a conscious decision or the state of the industry right now?
It’s really the state of the industry. I want to put my CD in the hands of as many people as I can. A lot of these labels are looking for cookie cutter artists. It don’t seem like too many people are willing to take chances.

Is your passion for hip-hop still as strong as when you first started?
My love for the music will always be there. If I wasn’t in the rap game I’d still be writing and recording and freestyling. But in today’s game where artists don’t really get their just due — just the state of hip-hop in general — there’s a lot of bullshit out there and it’s far from the golden era. I’m not trying to duplicate or emulate the golden era but I am trying to take it to a place where it was as quality as it was back in the day. (Fatbeats)