Former Slum Village member eLZhi recently talked about this year’s release of his Illmatic cover album, Elmatic, and Nas‘ overall impression of it.
Although he has yet to chop it up face-to-face with Nasty Nas, eL said he has received props from God’s Son.
“As far as feedback from [Nas’] camp, my manager spoke with Nas’ manager and he’s heard through [him] that they’re over there loving it, ” he revealed in an interview. “That’s a blessing because when I set out to do the album — I wanted to pay homage and pay tribute to the classic album that Nas did. As far the fans, it’s been incredible. It surpassed my expectations, and it’s still growing…Through Elmatic, I was able to get a situation popping off with [automobile company] Chrysler, where they got me in their new campaign called ‘Emerging Artists,’ — It’s just been incredible, the labels are calling. It’s a great thing, and like I say, it went beyond my expectations and I’m glad I put it out.” (Out Da Box)
Earlier this year, eL spoke to SOHH about Nas’ influence on him as an emcee.
“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)
He also 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 Elmatic for 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)
In August, rap veteran Rah Digga credited eL’s album for giving him the SOHH Underrated title.
“Who is the most underrated, hmm. Let me think about this. I think eLZhi, formerly of Slum Village, is very underrated. He just recently did a live version of Nas’ Illmatic and it is the best hip-hop album that I’ve heard in a really, really, really long time. It just moves me that [the project] didn’t get more notoriety. It moves me that it didn’t get more notoriety being that Illmatic was such a classic album. You know it ain’t too many people that can really compare to Nas.” (SOHH Underrated)
Check out eLZhi’s interview below: