Album Review: Elzhi – Lead Poison
Elzhi’s Lead Poison is an album which has me in two minds. On the one hand, the production is fantastic and the flow of Elzhi is undoubtedly smooth. On the other hand, in my opinion many tracks left me wanting in terms of significant lyrical content.
My first thought when I heard Elzhi’s MCing was ‘this guy reminds me of Lupe Fiasco’ and perhaps for that reason. I was unfairly expecting a level of lyricism that wasn’t delivered (for the most part).
I feel like the album could have benefited from a track shuffle as the big tracks. COsign (the debut single), The Healing Process and Friend Zone were put 5 tracks in. Up until track 6 we’re treated to some sick tunes with samples from the blaxploitation era. Genre-crossing instrumentals (particularly on February) and all in all some skilful production leaving Elzhi playing catch up on the mic.
However, in those three tracks Elzhi rips into faster paced rhymes, exploring some unexpected semantics (like the space travel verse on Alienated). It felt like if these tracks had set the tone, this album would have been a triumph. Unfortunately, and I’m not saying that I could do better, there were a few lines that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Track 9, ‘She Sucks’, being a particular low point (I mean, the track is about Elzhi turning into a vampire…. blud).
Elzhi has obvious talent and is willing to try out new ideas. Two factors that will work in his favour moving forward. As it stands, Lead Poison is an album that feels like an example of Pareto’s principal, with 80% of the effort going into 20% of the tracks. Given the time to bring up the level of all tracks, this could have been one to write home about, but as it stands, it’s missed the mark for me.
To end on a positive; the album is stuffed with very high quality hip hop instrumentals and it’s worth giving those 3 tracks a listen if you’re looking for Elzhi’s best words.
- Medicine Man (produced by Nick Speed)
- Introverted (produced by Bombay)
- Weedipedia (produced by Bombay)
- February (produced by 14KT)
- Egocentric (produced by Quelle Chris)
- Two 16’s (produced by Karriem Riggins)
- Hello!!!!! (produced by Soledad Brother)
- FriendZone (produced by Oh No)
- The Healing Process (produced by Joself)
- Cloud (produced by Bombay)
- Alienated f/ Smitty (produced by Joself)
- She Sucks f/ Chris Dave & The Drumhedz (produced by Agor)
- CoSIGN f/ Skonie (produced by 14KT)
- MisRight (produced by Bombay)
- The Turning Point f/ A Poem By Thabisile Griffin (produced by 14KT)
- Keep Dreaming (produced by Bombay)