With eLZhi‘s Illmatic tribute (elmatic) continuing to generate buzz across the Internet, SOHH hit up the former Slum Village rhyme slinger to get the scoop on his Top 3 favorite Nas records.
Sticking to tracks Nas penned in the 90’s, eL made sure to give props to the Queensbridge rapper’s first two albums.
“Man, that’s kind of like a had question to answer,” eLZhi told SOHH when asked to list his Top 3 favorite Nas songs. “He created such an incredible body of work through all the years. One off the top of my head would be ‘New York State of Mind Part 2.’ That’s one that’s crazy. Man, you can pick any one off the [1994’s] Illmatic. I’d go with ‘Life A B*tch.’ And one off [1996’s] It Was Written, ‘I Gave You Power,’ just because the concept was so deep.” (SOHH)
eLzhi also opened up about how much of an influence Nas’ writing style has had on him.
“Nas is very poetic,” eL added. “So it’s certain rhymes that you might get from Nas where he kind of like gives you scenes in his lines. Each bar might be a different scene. He may give you visuals where you can visualize these scenes. There’s certain songs like ‘New York State of Mind Part 2’ where he tells you a straight up, flat out, story. You know what I’m saying? And he takes you along that journey. That was pretty dope for that song. And ‘I Gave You Power’ was just a crazy concept. That affected me as far as the kind of concepts that I wanted to create, along with ‘Rewind,’ which was a song off [2001’s] Stillmatic where he’s telling the whole story backwards. Stuff like that is amazing to me so it definitely affected the way I move my pen.” (SOHH)
Last year, Young Money’s Drake delayed his platinum-selling Thank Me Later album to study Nas’ rhymes and perfect his debut.
“It’s gonna be bigger, it’s gonna sound happier,” Drake said comparing it to his So Far Gone album. “Yeah, it’s gonna sound bigger, it’s gonna sound victorious because that’s where I am in my life — I really studied Nas to be honest, Nas was like somebody that I used to listen to his raps and not really understand ‘how’ he did it, I always wanted to understand how he painted those pictures and his bar structure and all of that. I went back and really studied Nas, studied Andre 3000 [for this album] and I hope you like it.” (IM Flashy)
Earlier this week, eL told SOHH about his motivation to remake Nas’ 1994 classic.
“The main reason why I decided to put together this project is because there’s been people online that’s known about the elmaticfor three years. Honestly, if it wasn’t for them, after all these years and them still asking for the elmatic, I don’t know if I would have really put it out there like that. That’s one reason I’m putting it out there for free, for everybody that’s been waiting on it. The second big reason is because it’s a tribute. It’s a tribute to one of the illest albums, in my opinion, that’s ever touched hip-hop. It’s my love letter to Illmatic and it’s me just showing love and showing the youth that may not have heard of Illmatic to go out and check it out.” (SOHH Guest Star)
Check out eLZhi’s “Halftime” below: