Album Review | Elzhi – Lead Poison

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This album was released on March 25th. I honestly know very little about Elzhi. I know that he’s from Detroit, and that he used to be a member of Slum Village, but that’s pretty much all I can tell you. This is his first solo album in 8 years, so this is kind of a big deal for Hip Hop, especially underground Hip Hop. It was completely funded through Kickstarter, so people had to donate money for this album to even happen. People have been funding this shit for like 3 years. He ended up raising about $37,000 for this album. So, yeah. It’s a big deal. I’ve never heard any of his music. I think the only verse I’ve ever heard from him was on Gunshowers by Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD. I know he’s supposed to be a top-tier lyricist, so I’m really looking forward to this. I’m expecting it to be dope af.

Track 1: Medicine Man (Prod. Nick Speed)

Okay, it’s starting now. Wow. The song hasn’t even really even started yet, but I’m getting excited. This is dramatic. The production sounds very polished so far. It sounds like somebody’s writing or something. You can hear the pencil scratching on the paper. Kinda like how you could hear it when Stan was writing letters to Eminem. Okay, he was kinda ramblin’ about a “wise man” or some bullshit like that at first. I couldn’t really tell what was happening, but now I see that he was just going through writer’s block, and didn’t know what to rap about. He’s about to go in now tho. Okay. It just ended. This really reminds me of Joe Budden’s music. One of the main reasons for this album taking so long is that Elzhi was going through a pretty severe case of depression. So, he’s rapping about that, and it’s over that same piano-driven style of production that Joe Budden tends to spit over. He’s talking about a conversation he had with the wise man. Basically, the wise man was like “Yo, man. It’s okay to cry sometimes.” It sounded a lot doper in the song tho. The way this shit is written is really poetic. Again, it’s a lot like Joe Budden’s music to me. The way he was rhymin’ on this shit was dope tho. “There is where he gave me the idea to let go of the wear and tear I couldn’t bear.” This was a dope way to open the album up. The production is very dramatic. It’s just an emotional sounding, piano driven beat without any percussion. It’s dope. I fuck with this song. Elzhi was spittin’, but as a song I’m not in love with this track. It’s dope tho. It just took kind of a long time for shit to get started. He doesn’t actually start rhyming until 1:40, and the track is only 2 minutes and 56 seconds long. It’s still dope tho. I fuck with this shit. 4/5

Track 2: Introverted (Prod. Bombay)

Okay, I guess this is the “real” intro for the album. This beat is dope af. Damn. The song just ended. It’s just one fantastic verse over this great beat. That was a great way to introduce the album. I mean, he kinda already did with Medicine Man, but this is good too. The production is really smooth, and Elzhi was rappin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off. It’s a short track… It’s just one dope ass verse. It’s dope af. I definitely fuck with this shit. 5/5

Track 3: Weedipedia (Prod. Bombay)

Okay. It sounds like Elzhi just posted bail. I guess he was in jail for weed. That’s so fucked up. This beat is dope af. It’s smooth, but it still has energy. Hahaha. Okay, this is dope af. He’s rapping about how he got arrested for possessing marijuana. “They cuffed me, and booked me 20 minutes roughly / In my mughshot, my eyes bloodshot; I’m lookin’ scruffy.” I love the way those bars flow together. The rhyme scheme is so dope. Goddamn. He’s fuckin’ goin’ off. This is so fuckin’ dope. “I’m ordered to take a piss test / In class I zone out to twist sess to resist stress / How I get in this mess?” Look at the fucking words he’s rhyming together. This is fucking incredible. Hahaha. Wow. I haven’t been this entertained by a song in a long ass time. I mean, I haven’t enjoyed a lighthearted song like this in a while. This is a really fun song. This song is so fucking dope. The way he was rhyming was absolutely phenomenal, and it was a really fun and entertaining song topic too. Nobody raps about weed like this. I usually hate songs about weed because I don’t personally smoke, so it just gets boring to hear about how rappers are obsessed with it. This is really fucking dope tho. I love this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 4: February (Prod. 14KT)

February

This is the first track that reaches 3 minutes in length. Woah. This beat is weird. It’s kinda hard to get behind at first, but it’s growing on me. I definitely like it. I love the way the piano keys roll up and down like crashing waves. The way the percussion comes in is a little off-putting, but it all falls into place once El starts rhyming. He’s just reminiscing about all the memories he has during the month of February. He’s rappin’ about his homie who died. He went in. Fuck. I really want to like this beat, but something about it just isn’t sounding right, especially at the end. The way those strings come in just sounds really disjointed. It doesn’t mix well with the rest of the beat. I fuck with the song; El was spittin’. I just wish the beat was a little better. It’s a dope song tho. The music video was pretty cool too. It wasn’t amazing, but you can tell that they actually put effort into it. 4/5

Track 5: Egocentric (Prod. Quelle Chris)

This beat is dope af. This is the darkest beat on the album so far. It’s not super dark, but it’s darker than the other shit. Goddamn. El’s spittin’ his fucking ass off. This motherfucker is a beast. “Just know I plan to blow minds back / Rip the most, sip a toast, and whip a ghost like a proton pack.” He’s just rappin’ about how he’s a dope ass MC. This is the first track with an actual hook. He fuckin’ killed the first verse, and went even harder on the second verse. He ripped this shit to shreds. I definitely fuck with this song. He went the motherfuck off. I love this shit. 5/5

Track 6: Two 16s (Prod. Karriem Riggins)

Two 16s.jpg

This beat is really jazzy. It’s dope af. It’s definitely the best beat on the whole album so far. Damn. His flow on this first verse is dope af so far. Damn. That first verse was fucked up… He was rappin’ about some guy named Quentin who got kicked the fuck out of his mama’s house, and got into some street shit. He got into a shootout, and got killed like a motherfucker. “Thinking ‘bout survival through traffic speeding while bleeding / It’s graphic, blood leaking more than an ounce / Shit, at 16 hours before his daughter’s birth, he was pronounced dead.” The hook is simple, but it gets the job done. Okay, now he’s rappin’ about Quentin’s baby mama. Goddamn. This is a dark ass song. Quentin’s baby mama is the one who got him killed because he ditched her ass and said that the baby wasn’t his. “She was told that he slangs with his cousin dealing / What she thought Dylan was his name that she wasn’t feeling / So she made a call, got some young, wild niggas to spot him / Knocked him on his bottom, pointed at him and shot him.” Her water broke right after that happened, so she got arrested and missed her child’s first words. That’s fucked up. This shit is crazy. I definitely fuck with this. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 7: Hello!!!!! (Prod. Soledad Brother)

This beat is dope. Woah… What the hell? How the fuck does he think of these song concepts? He’s speaking from the motherfucking perspective of a song that doesn’t get listened to enough. I can’t fucking believe it. Who the fuck thinks of shit like that? That’s unbelievable. This is insane. Oh. He’s rappin’ like he’s stuck in the song. There are so many dope lines. I have too many to quote. “Now I’m chased by this run-on sentence / I ran so fast I leaped from the page that’s when the paper split / Then I closed my notebook shut, tried to escape this shit / So what you think about me sliding through the cracks? / Hope you nodding in agreeance and not nodding to the track.” I can’t believe this. This is such a crazy concept for a song. This is just insane. I definitely fuck with this shit. Nobody rhymes like this. How the fuck did he think of this shit? This is dope af. 5/5

Track 8: Friendzone (Prod. Oh No)

Oh, that’s cool that he got Oh No on here… The beat is dope af. It’s got a real nice soul sample. This is one of the best beats on the album so far. He’s just rappin’ about some chick who he’s in love with. However, as you can see from the title, he’s in the “friendzone.” This kinda subject matter usually doesn’t interest me at all. The way he’s rapping is just so dope tho. This motherfucker could rap about the most boring, generic bullshit and make it seem so interesting. The whole concept of the “friendzone” is bullshit to me, but thankfully Elzhi doesn’t come off as an entitled asshole who thinks he deserves this girl. He seems to recognize that he fucked up, and it’s his fault he got stuck in the friendzone. I’m still not in love with the song, but I fuck with it. It’s dope. The beat is fantastic, and Elzhi did a good job too. This is dope. 4/5

Track 9: The Healing Process (Prod. Joself)

This beat is dope af. Oh shit. Elzhi’s flow on this bitch is great. How the fuck was he spittin’ like this without any percussion? This is fucking insane. His flow is fantastic. Lyrically, this is like Hip Hop yoga music. I don’t know how to describe it. It sounds inspirational and therapeutic. You can tell that this song wouldn’t have been made if he never went through depression. He’s basically spittin’ advice to people who are goin’ through a lot of shit. “Everything you wanna know is buried deep inside of you / And the only way to find it is to / Believe in your heart and your whole mind / That you really are a diamond in a cole mine.” This is… It’s just really fuckin’ good. I love this shit. The beat, lyrics, & flow were dope af. I definitely fuck with this shit. This shit right here is dope af. 5/5

Track 10: Cloud (Prod. Bombay)

This beat is dope. El’s just rappin’ about the problems he has everyday. “Everyday I’m tryna dodge a raindrop.” It just ended. I enjoyed the song. I’m not really blown away by this track like I was with the others. I still think it’s really good tho. I love the soul sample that Bombay used. It’s only two minutes and seventeen seconds long. It’s just one verse. I fuck with the song. It just doesn’t really stand out among the other tracks here. It’s still really good tho. I fuck with it. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 11: ALIENated Feat. Smitty (Prod. Joself)

Oh fuck. This beat is dope af. El’s goin’ in about how he’s an outcast. “For some I know that’s probably stressful for them to wrestle/ With the idea once they put it together like Ikea / ‘Cause I see a bit of jealousy and envy when they pretend we / Friends with secret plans to offend me.” Jesus. The way this guy rhymes is unbelievable. Uh oh… I don’t know about this hook from Smitty. It’s not terrible or anything… It’s just not very good. I’m not really feelin’ it. Elzhi killed the second verse. The third verse was dope af. There are too many dope bars for me to quote. I wish the hook was a little better, but Elzhi did his thing. I fuck with the song. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 12: She Sucks Feat. Chris Dave & The Drumhedz (Prod. Agor)

This beat is dope af. It kinda sounds like some horrorcore shit. Kinda. What the fuck? This chick that Elzhi’s rappin’ about is some kinda vampire or some shit. I don’t know what’s goin’ on. Hold up… I’m just gonna listen to the song all the way through to see what the fuck’s goin’ on, then I’ll continue writing about it. What the motherfuck? This motherfucker turned into a vampire? Is that how vampires work? If a vampire sucked my blood, would I turn into a vampire? What the fuck is happening? This is fucking insanity. I don’t know how I feel about this song. I mean, I definitely enjoyed it. It’s just a super weird song. When I listen to horrorcore, I don’t want to hear about fantasy shit with ghosts and vampires and zombies and shit. I wanna hear about real shit that could actually happen. El did a good job here. I’d be lying like a bitch if I said I didn’t enjoy this song. I could’ve did without the drum solo from The Drumhedz at the end, but it wasn’t really bad. I’m not sure what Chris Dave’s contribution to this song was. It doesn’t matter tho. I fuck with the song. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 13: CoSIGN Feat. Skonie (Prod. 14KT)

This beat is cool. Elzhi’s verse was dope af. I’m pretty sure this is the first song that he leaked from this album. He’s basically just showin’ his fans that he’s still got it. It’s just one dope ass verse. Skonie sings on the outro. He did an alright job. It wasn’t bad at all. I fuck with this song. I’m not really blown away by this track, but it’s still dope. It’s just a great verse over a good beat. I fuck with this. This song is dope. 4/5

Track 14: Misright (Prod. Bombay)

I’m not really impressed by this beat. It isn’t wack tho. I’m not really feelin’ this hook. He’s rappin’ about his previous relationships that didn’t work out. I don’t like songs about shit like this, but the way he’s rapping is incredible. He’s giving all his exes nicknames. It’s just a slew of double entendres. “I dated a young miss who put words in my mouth / We’ll just call her ‘Ms. Quote.” Elzhi killed this shit, but this song just isn’t for me. I wasn’t really feelin’ the beat or the hook. As a song, I wasn’t really feelin’ this one. I liked El’s verses tho. It’s just not for me. It’s okay. 3/5

Track 15: The Turning Point (A Poem by Thabisile Griffin) [Prod. 14KT]

This track is just some lady named Thabisile reciting her poem. It’s basically a Spoken Word track. She did a great job. This just isn’t the kinda shit I would normally listen to. I enjoyed the poem tho. The production is just a simple piano ballad. It’s similar to the beat from track 1. I enjoyed this track, but I don’t think I’ll ever be coming back to it. It’s not really a song, so I won’t be rating this.

Track 16: Keep Dreaming (Prod. Bombay)

This beat is dope af. El’s just goin’ in about how he’s a better rapper than you. “So how could you harm me / When your legacy has no legs and there’s no arms in your army?” This is fantastic. There’s a lot goin’ on with this beat. It’s kind of all over the place, but I like it. The song just ended, and it was dope af, but there’s a skit starting now. Oh. It wasn’t really much of a skit. He just spit an extra verse that didn’t make it on to the final version of Cloud. It was an acapella verse. It was dope af. Anyway, I fuck with this song. He was spittin’ his fuckin’ ass off, and the production was good too. This is dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

That was really dope. I don’t know how it ranks among his other work since this is the first shit I’ve ever heard by him, but I don’t see how any of his fans could dislike this. Even if it isn’t as good as his other work, this is still a very good album. It kinda went downhill for me after the first half, but the second half is still good. Just not as good as the first part. The production was very good at first, but it didn’t really stand out that much on the second half. The majority of these tracks are very short. Five of them are less than 3 minutes long. That probably has something to do with the lack of hooks. Most of these songs are just single verses. They still don’t really feel that short tho. I don’t know why. If you’re a fan of good Hip Hop with a heavy focus on lyricism, this album is for you. Elzhi is one of the greatest lyricists I’ve heard. It’s not just about having deep lyrics or a dope flow. The way he puts words together is just insane. His rhyme schemes are on another level. Nobody raps like Elzhi. The more musical aspect of this album—beats, hooks, melodies—isn’t really that impessive, but that’s not what you listen to Elzhi for. You listen to Elzhi for monstrous verses. He fuckin’ killed this album. There isn’t a wack verse on here. There are songs that I didn’t like as much as others, but I can’t say that Elzhi wasn’t spittin’ like a motherfucker on every track. I fuck with this album. This album is dope. I will be very surprised if this album isn’t personally nominated for album of the year.

Favorite Song: Keep Dreaming

Least Favorite Song: Misright

Verdict:

88%

HOTTTTT

Tell me if I’m trippin’ in the comments below.

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Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.

Follow me on Twitter: @OGNickMarsh

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