How many emcees can cover Nas’ Illmatic and get that “we see you” nod from fans, critics, and some of the people involved w/ the original album? Not many, but when Elzhi did it in 2011, everyone was impressed. The ex-Slum Village rapper’s been nice on the mic, and the way he adapts the God MC’s flow, without completely masking over his own style, deserves a lot of credit. The production side of the album is superb, also. Handled by fellow Detroit native Will Sessions, the funk/jazz-spiced and Illmatic-informed way in which the live band reinterprets tracks originally produced by the likes of DJ Premier, Pete Pock, Large Professor, Q-Tip and more deserve props all on its own (peep the instrumental version here).
- music label: Jae B. Group 2011 / 2016