Monday, 28 January 2013

Why A$AP Rocky is a Genuis

You guys probably already know who A$AP Rocky is because you probably heard Fuckin' Problems with Kendrick Lamar, Drake and 2 Chainz on the radio a few times, but A$AP is way more than that.Whether you like his music or not, A$AP Rocky is a force to be reckoned with. A$AP Rocky is a New York rapper who rose to prominence through his 2011 mixtape Live. Live. A$AP and the single Purple Swag. What made that album so great was not A$AP's lyrical ability, but the strong production assisted by mostly Clams Casino. I'm not saying that lyrics aren't important, but with A$AP Rocky, his strong point is the sound of the music. This type of music became very popular among the public and A$AP's major label debut became very hyped up. Now with the release of his debut Long. Live. A$AP, A$AP Rocky has proved to me he is a very smart rapper when dealing with the appeal of his music for several reasons. 

A$AP Rocky has a great ear for beats and production. When Live. Love. A$AP came out, everyone was in love with the catchy music he picks. He combines sonically consistent modern beats with old-school samples that satisfy not only the modern listener but the listeners used to old-school Hip-Hop. While the production is fantastic, A$AP makes his songs better by being able to "ride" the beats with his charismatic flow. He is very mellow and his attitude and delivery will leave you with great satisfaction. What I love about A$AP Rocky is that he learns from the small mistakes he commits from previous projects. In Live. Love. A$AP, he was able to provide with a lot of great production, but a lot of it sounded similar. On his new LP however, A$AP uses his old style but also allowing more commercial producers like 40 and Hit-Boy to add their taste of music into his album. He also made put more effort into his lyrics giving his music stronger stems. His genius is being able to pick up ideas by keeping his ear to the streets and the music industry and therefore puts out the best music he can, and that is very impressive!

The second reason I think A$AP Rocky is a genius is his picks on featured artists. The guy is so smart when choosing who to collaborate with. When Fuckin' Problems came out, I was happy to see Drake and Kendrick Lamar as feature artists but was skeptic when it came to 2 Chainz. I didn't know how his inclusion would affect the overall song. Nevertheless, I put on my headphones, pressed play and listened to the song and I was not disappointed. What struck me with the song is how smart he was to choose the featured artists. A$AP Rocky took two of the most respectable, lyrical yet commercial artists, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, on verses while he only used 2 Chainz, the hypest rapper, on the hook. That was a smart move because you get the great verses from three great lyrical rappers while enjoying a catchy hook from someone who really knows how to make a song feel more enjoyable (sonically speaking). 

Continuing on his choice of features, A$AP Rocky continues to prove he has a great ear from lyricism with the song 1 Train from his album Long. Live. A$AP. If you're a Hip-Hop fan and haven't heard this song, I highly recommend you check it out asap (no pun intended). If you want a reason to why you should check this song out, I'll give you six: Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Yelawolf and Big K.R.I.T.. A$AP Rocky took a perfectly produced song, with great strings and violins, and puts six of the top acclaimed rappers in one song. I think this song is perfect because with no chorus, each rappers comes up, spits several bars, brings their own taste and style into the song, and diversify the song. With all the heavy weights in one song, A$AP Rocky is still able to hold his own with a great verse. Big K.R.I.T. (one of my favorite Hip-Hop artists right now) absolutely murders it, with Yelawold in a close second and Joey Bada$$ in third. But that isn't fair because all the rappers are awesome and different in their own way. 

With collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Joey Bada$$, Drake and even Skrillex, A$AP Rocky proves his devotion to appeal to as many different audiences as possible while still putting his own style into his music. A$AP would appeal to old-school fans, modern Hip-Hop fans as well as non-rap fans by collaborating with artists like Skrillex and Rihanna. He truly is a genius in how he spreads his music and will no doubt remain in the game for a while. 

What do you think? Is A$AP Rocky overlooked or overrated? Can he even be called a "genius"? Let me know in the comment section below! 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Is Detox Ever Coming Out?

 Dr. Dre is in my opinion one of the best Hip-Hop producers of all time. He has produced for artists like N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, The D.O.C., 2Pac and many others. He is a former member of the Hip-Hop group N.W.A., making him one of the originators of the Gangsta Rap genre. Besides his legendary production, Dr. Dre has released two classic albums; The Chronic and 2001, the former being regarded as one of the best Hip-Hop albums of all time, bringing widespread fame for both Dre and his protege Snoop Dogg. His productions fees range up to $250,000-500,000 per song and he has introduced the world to Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game and most recently Kendrick Lamar. I will forever be thankful to him for dropping my favorite album of all time: Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP. But let's be honest here, most people now-a-days only know Dr. Dre for his overpriced headphones (Beats by Dr. Dre) and that is unfortunate to see. Modern Hip-Hop fans overlook what made him a legend and instead focus on his headphones. Dr. Dre is a great rapper, producer and entrepreneur.The main topic of this post however is not his legacy, appeal or success. It is focused on the his final album Detox and if it is ever going to be released.

For those of you who are unaware of what Detox is and what the dilemma is, Detox is Dr. Dre's "upcoming" third and final studio album. Dr. Dre has been working on this album since 2001 believe it or not! And year after year, Dr. Dre keeps giving release dates that are never met, which pisses off a lot of his fans. For years, nothing from the album has been leaked and the only thing we know about this album is who is rumored to be working on the album. Slim The Mobster, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, RZA, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Alex Da Kid, DJ Khalil and even Lil Wayne claimed to be in the studio with him and as contributors to the album. It wasn't until 2011 when Kush and I Need A Doctor were released and some songs got leaked that fans got excited again. His fans finally gained faith again and the release of Detox didn't seem so impossible anymore. Well it's 2013 and we're still stuck where we were before! When some of the songs leaked, Dr. Dre found himself removing them from his album and making newer songs. For those of you who don't know, Dr. Dre is a perfectionist, which would explain his actions. He wants to make Detox the best album it could be and its taking him 12 years to do that! For these reasons, many fans seem to wonder if Dr. Dre is ever going to release Detox in this lifetime. So will Detox ever be released? Unfortunately, I have to say Detox will never see the light of day.

To be honest, I haven't cared much about Detox  for a long, long time. With so many delays, I kinda lost hope that it will ever drop. Kush was pretty dope (No pun intended) but I Need A Doctor seemed just made for the radio. Kush brought me back to 2001, with the production being far from excellent and the chemistry between Dre and Snoop seemed all natural again. But after all the years of waiting, Dr. Dre seems to be keeping the legend behind Detox alive merely for his own publicity. We have no new material, no stable release date and he has way to many distractions. The 2Pac hologram reportedly cost Dre 10 million dollars and a lot of time to make! With that being said, I believe there are three main reasons why Dre won't drop Detox. 

1- He's too busy producing Kendrick Lamar, Eminem & 50 Cent: 
This past year, Dr. Dre has been in the studio helping out his new Aftermath member Kendrick Lamar on his major label debut "good kid, m.A.A.d city". Thankfully the album went Gold (600K + sold), was universally acclaimed and brought Kendrick to stardom and Aftermath back on the map. So Dre has a lot of time left to work on Detox right? Wrong. 2013 will bring 50 Cent back to the game with his new album Street King Immortal and will also feature a new album by Eminem as well. Dr. Dre will probably be very busy bringing these albums on the shelves rather than working on his own album. For this first reason, I don't think Dr. Dre will continue to work on Detox anymore.

2- His involvement in the modern Hip-Hop scene might be overshadowed by a lot of competition:
Hip-Hop now-a-days seems to be dominated by commercial artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Drake and a few other rappers. Other than those few, no other rappers seem to receive the exposure as others because Hip-Hop fans are only focused on a small group of rappers (Cash Money, Maybach Music and G.O.O.D. Music members). 50 Cent and The Game returned but with little success because Hip-Hop fans feel this period of Hip-Hop is way different from what it was 8 to 10 years ago. The only rappers to maintain success over the years are Eminem and Jay-Z and that's for remaining consistent with their fans. To be honest, if Dr. Dre drops Detox now, not a lot of Hip-Hop fans would be interested except Dre's die-hard fans. Let's face it, Kush was a minor hit while I Need A Doctor was only successful because of Eminem's involvement. That being said, not a lot of people would care for Dr. Dre's music in this generation, so delaying the album 12 years was probably Dre's biggest mistake.

3- He's too focused on his line of Beats:
Like you didn't see this one coming! Dr. Dre revolutionized the music industry with the way you listen to your music with his successful line of Beats headphones. No matter where you go and ask what headphones people want, the number one answer will be Beats by Dr. Dre. But how successful are these headphones? Well let's put it this way: According to Forbes, Dr. Dre made 110 million dollars from May 2011 to May 2012 solely based on his sales off Beats. Every rapper wants to make more money in the best possible way and for Dr. Dre, this way is by selling 300 dollar headphones instead of music. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does make the release of Detox seem more and more unlikely as the headphones become more popular. Hell, he even put out "Limited Edition Detox Beats" which to me proved Detox is just a marketing scheme!

With the mentioned three and other countless reasons why Detox continues to be delayed, I believe that Dr. Dre will never drop Detox EXCEPT under one condition. I believe Detox will only be released until after Dr. Dre's death as a compilation. They can use Dre's death to market the album to increase record sales no matter how good, bad, consistent or inconsistent it is. To be honest there is a plus side to Detox taking a damn long time to be released and that is all the memes being made about it. Those are too hilarious! Either way, Dr. Dre will always remain to me as one of the most influential Hip-Hop figures of all time, releasing two classic solo albums as well as producing some of the most commercial and critically acclaimed Hip-Hop albums in the past few years. Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP remains to this day as being the best selling Hip-Hop album of all time, selling an estimated 11 million copies thanks to Dr. Dre! As long as Dr. Dre is around and involved in the music industry, some of the elements of the old-school Hip-Hop can continue to survive.

What do you think? Do you think Detox will ever drop? Why do you think its taking too long for Detox to be released? Let me know by leaving a comment below! Until next time, I leave you with this meme:

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2012

While 2012 already ended over a week ago, I've been meaning to talk about my top ten favorite songs of that year. 2012 featured a lot of great rappers releasing excellent albums that I still listen to and will continue to listen to for some time. This list will feature my top ten picks of 2012 but will not feature more than one song by the same artist because I don't think that would be fair. So without further adieu, I give you my top ten favorite songs of 2012!

10- Hip Hop (Feat. Scarface, Nas & DJ Premier) - DJ Khaled:
First of all, I am not a big fan of DJ Khaled. I don't really know what his contributions to his albums are; he doesn't rap  on his songs, he doesn't do the hooks and he doesn't even produce his tracks half the time! But if its one thing DJ Khaled can do right is unite rappers that would fit perfectly together in one song. With Hip Hop, DJ Khaled releases, in my opinion, his best song yet. Scarface and Nas spit verses about a female and how they hate her now but in the end it turns out they're talking about Hip-Hop. While this has been done before (Common's I Used to Love H.E.R.), they spit great verses. Scarfaces' voice adds to his aggression and Nas' flow is as perfect as always. With DJ Premiere's great production, this song is a very memorable one that I will continue to listen to for a while.

Other Memorable DJ Khaled song(s): They Ready (Feat. J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T. & Kendrick Lamar)

9- New God Flow (Feat. Pusha T & Ghostface Killah) - Kanye West:
To me, Cruel Summer was a big disappointed because I expected a great album with great verses from all of the G.O.O.D. Music members and some MBDTF production from Kanye West. What I got was an album that sounded like a free compilation give-away. However, one song on this album I gotta say I absolutely loved. New God Flow is the best produced song on the album and has some of the best verses as well. Pusha T drops two great verses throwing more jabs at YMCMB members Lil Wayne, Birdman and Drake. Then, Kanye West drops one of the best verses of the year. Even though Kanye isn't as good as he used to be, he can still go in! When he starts stomping his feet, there's no denying that Kanye is going full HAM. Finally, Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah comes in and drops a breathtaking verse filled with great rhymes and wordplay. This is a great track and I highly recommend that you hear the album version with Ghostface Killah than the radio version (which to be honest I never heard on the radio!).

Other Memorable Kanye West song(s): White Dress & Cold 

8- The Book of Soul - Ab-Soul:
Ab-Soul's sophomore album was my second favorite album of 2012 so there's no way a song from it cannot be on this list! On this song, Ab-Soul pours his heart and soul giving us one of the most personal songs I've heard in a while. Ab-Soul talks about the death of his long love that passed away recently (R.I.P.) and how she influenced his life as well as how her death affected him now. On the song, Ab-Soul drops one of the best lines this year "I guess the Mayans wasn't lying/2012 my world ended". Damn! If you haven't heard this song yet, I highly recommend you check it out as soon as possible. This one will leave you in tears and giving you more respect for the ones you hold close.

Other Memorable Ab-Soul song(s): Terrorist Threats (Feat. Danny Brown), Double Standards & Track Two.

7-Zero Dark Thirty (Feat. Rob Sonic) - Aesop Rock:
To be honest, I almost don't want to recommend this song because Aesop Rock isn't your ordinary rapper. De-cyphering his lyrics is a hard task because most of what he spits is based on things that float in his own mind, which is a very strange mind if you ask me! Listening to Aesop Rock will have you grabbing a dictionary trying to understand the words he's saying and his metaphors run on for so long you find yourself going back just to see what you missed on the first listen. That's not to say that you need complicated words to make a good conceptual song, but Aesop Rock lives in his own world and if you're daring to enter, you might experience some of the best music in modern Hip-Hop. His voice and flow just ride the self produced beat with absolute ease. The lyrics melt in the beat and what you get is a fantastic energetic song to one of the best albums of the year; Skelethon . So check it out, maybe you'll like his strangeness.

Other Memorable Aesop Rock song(s): Leisureforce, Cycles to Gehenna, Gopher Guts & Saturn Missiles.

6- Reagan - Killer Mike:
Controversial Hip-Hop relating to government conspiracy has always been around, with Immortal Technique and Lowkey coming first to mind. With Reagan however, Killer Mike just goes in with his dark deep flow over a monstrous EL-P produced beat. He raps about former US president Ronald Reagan and all of the conspiracy surrounding his presidency and involvement with "The New World Order". Now I'm not the biggest fan of these types of songs, but Killer Mike and EL-P pull it off perfectly giving us one of the best songs of year. If you like conspiracy based Hip-Hop, you'll love this one.

Other Memorable Killer Mike song(s): Big Beast (Feat. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble), R.A.P. Music & Don't Die .

5- Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Big K.R.I.T.:
Big K.R.I.T. is one of my favorite new rappers because of his consistency, having released three fantastic mixtapes and a great major lable debut, Live From The Underground, which features this song. Big K.R.I.T. isn't afraid of getting personal and for that I greatly admire him not just as a rapper but as a person as well. With Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Big K.R.I.T. pays respect to his father who may not have been the wealthiest financially, but the wealthiest spiritually and intellectually, hence the title. He talks about how his father raised him and was his main guide, telling him what to do and how to act. For example, he talks about how his father giving him a condom at the age of fourteen prevented him from becoming a father at such a young age. Big K.R.I.T. really brings it all in with this song, and I highly recommend you check it out!

Other Memorable Big K.R.I.T. song(s): Live From the Underground & Cool 2 Be Southern, Boobie Miles. 

4- For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mums the Word) - EL-P:
El-P's Cancer 4 Cure was one of my favorite albums of 2012. After 5 years of absence, this album was very much anticipated amongst Hip-Hop fans. I personally loved Fantastic Damage and I'll Sleep When Your Dead so I had high expectations for this one. However when it came out, it blew me away! Not only was the production fantastic but EL-P really showcased his skills as a lyricist. I don't know why many people only like him for his production, he's a fantastic Lyrical rapper. With this song, EL-P raps from from two different time periods, the first from when he's being interrogated by the police for a murder they think he's witnessed and the other when he sees his shaky upstairs neighbor. From the first verse, you could see that EL-P doesn't really have anything to tell the police as he claims he didn't see anything. However on the second verse, he raps about his experience of seeing his shaky neighbor right before she commits the murder (I'm assuming its her husband or boyfriend who has been abusing her). In the end, EL-P tells her "Do the thing you have to and I'll swear I'll tell them nothing". That gave me chills! But what makes this song so great is not only the mysterious story but how he relates his experience to what happens in New York. No one ever interacts with the other people in their buildings; everyone minds their own business. That is what EL-P does in this song but when he sees her struggles, he supports her decision and tells her he won't rat her out. Its an excellent song and I highly recommend you listen to it!

Other Memorable EL-P song(s): Drones Over BKLYN, Tougher Colder Killer (Feat. Killer Mike & Despot) & $4 Vic/Nothing But You+Me (FTL)

3- No Introduction - Nas:
No Introduction has got to be one of the best opening songs for a Hip-Hop album in a long time. Life is Good was a great come-back for Nas and with this song, Nas shows us what he really is made of. For me, this song surpasses The Don and Nasty because of its production and Nas' rapping. Produced by Justice L.E.A.G.U.E., this song contains great drums, piano and violin instrumentals at a grand scale. The intro and outro to the song are beautifully played and the production is hands down the best on the album. Nas however escalates the quality of the song to a higher level, spitting rhymes about his life before and after his fame. He raps about how he became in charge of his family because of his frail mother and how he had to resort to committing crimes to make money and put food on the table. He then proceeds to rap about how Hip-Hop has changed his life and has a very memorable line in his second verse that says "Remember talking to Biggie inside his Lex truck/Said stay fly when you bummy keep your pajamas Armani". I loved this line and I thought it was a little funny at first. So in conclusion, I highly recommend you listen to this song because it showcases who Nasty Nas really is.

Other Memorable Nas song(s): Daughters, Nasty & The Don.

2- Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free) - Lupe Fiasco:
While I don't love the album he put out this year as much as I did earlier, this song is still a standout track from Food & Liquor II: TGARA Pt. 1. I remember when the song first came out, I had about eighty plays in a matter of days. I couldn't stop listening to it! The production is excellent, sampling Pete Rock & CL Smooth's classic They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) which sparked unnecessary controversy. Lupe's flow is absolutely perfect, rapping continuously over topics that The United States seems to ignore or cover up to avoid exposure to the outside world. He uses the metaphor of a supermodel to show the corruption of the modern youth and the simile to The Simpson's Mr. Burns to show how the oppressor controls the slave (Mr. Smithers). With the smooth saxophone instrumental and Lupe's great flow and lyricism, this song lands on the number two spot on my list. But what other song could possible top this one? (And no, its not a Lil B song...)

Other Memorable Lupe Fiasco song(s): Bitch Bad, Form Follows Function & Strange Fruition. 

1- Sing About Me/I'm Dying of Thirst - Kendrick Lamar: 
Where do I begin? There's no doubt that this year was Kendrick's. His album good kid, m.A.A.d city topped my favorites of this year and probablt gave him eternal respect in the Rap game (If Section.80 didn't already do that). While many people favor Money Trees or m.A.A.d city, this song really clicked with me emotionally. In the first part of the song, Sing About Me, Kendrick raps from three different perspectives. His friend Dave, Keisha's sister, and himself. His friend calls him up in fear of dying and has no one else to talk to so he tells him how much he loves him for supporting his brother but throughout the verse, you forshadow Dave's death. As the verse builds up to the ending, it truly is a jaw dropping story. In the second verse, Kendrick raps from the perspective of Keisha's sister from Keisha's Song and how she's furious with Kendrick for rapping about her tragedy in his previous album. She calls Kendrick ignorant and how being a prostitute isn't as bad as Kendrick described, as she is one herself. The ending of the verse can be interpreted in two ways, but I'll leave that to you. In the third verse, Kendrick raps as himself reflecting on how his music has affected his listeners and how the idea of death has always floated in his mind. Out of all the rappers out there, I gotta say Kendrick is the best at finishing a verse off powerfully. The hook on this song is perfect, with Kendrick singing about how he wants his characters and himself to be remembered after their deaths.  I'm Dying of Thirst follows up in a new beat but talks about the struggles people in Compton suffer and how religion has always been the key to them. At twelve minutes long, this song never drags and I listen to it all the time. I highly recommend you listen to it because you'd be really missing out if you didn't.

Other Memorable Kendrick Lamar song(s): good kid, m.A.A.d city (Feat. MC Eiht) & Compton (Feat. Dr. Dre) 

So that's my top ten of 2012! What were your favorite songs of 2012? Please post a comment and let me know! I would really love to see what songs left an impact on you!

*Update: My best albums of 2012 list has been updated to a new top 10, check it out below!* 

1- good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar
2- R.A.P. Music - Killer Mike
3- Control System - Ab-Soul
4- Plateau Vision - Lushlife
5- Cancer 4 Cure - El-P
6- Skelethon - Aesop Rock
7- Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color - Brother Ali
8- We Don't Even Live Here - P.O.S.
9- PEEP: The APROcalypse - Pro Era
10- 4eva N A Day - Big K.R.I.T.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Elzhi: The Most Original Rapper We Have

First of all, I would like to say Happy New Year to all of my readers. I hope this year brings nothing but joy and prosperity to all. Second, I would like to apologize for not blogging in a while, I've been very busy during the holiday break and haven't had the time to write until now, so thank you for being patient. 

Now back to Hip-Hop! Today, many of the new rappers we have base their style and content on their influences. They look up to old-school rappers as inspirations and motivation for their work and this helps keep some elements of the old-school Hip-Hop alive. However, when rappers do this, I feel this removes some of the originality that should be present in Hip-Hop. For example, Kendrick Lamar raps over similar topics that Tupac Shakur (R.I.P.) used to rap about. Keisha's Song and Compton mirror those of Brenda's Got A Baby and California Love, respectively. This isn't a bad thing in any way as Kendrick Lamar pulls it off perfectly, but paying homage to other rappers doesn't show a lot of originality in our new rappers. Many rappers make concept albums, which many fans hail as original and daring, but concept albums have existed for years. Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet (1990) comes to mind as being the first Hip-Hop concept album, unless you count Slick Rick's The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988). Originality shouldn't be about paying homage in your own artistic way, but to do something no one has done before. With all that being said, is there any originality left in modern Hip-Hop? With that question being asked, the answer lies in the lyrical genius Elzhi.

If you're a Hip-Hop fan but haven't heard of Elzhi, please re-examine your life. Excuse the vulgarity (Shout-out to Nas) but he's not known as "Detroit's Best Kept Secret" for no reason. His rapping consists of metaphors, similes, lots of imagery as well as multiple syllables in his rhymes to produce one of the best flows I've heard in a rapper. The guy knows every style of rapping, having seen some of the finest rappers to emerge into the spotlight (such as Eminem, Royce Da 5'9'', Obie Trice and the other members of D12) in the underground rap battle scene of Detroit. He's a force to be reckoned with, having released two underground classics. But what makes Elzhi so original? The answer can be found in the content of his songs. Elzhi doesn't just rap about the same topics as other rappers, such as "his life in the ghetto", the pressures of fame, and the exhilaration of doing illegal things. Elzhi uses his lyrical style to grab you directly into the song to experience it and its content, but with a twist. His album The Preface features three songs that can showcase this. 

1- Guessing Game: For what the song is about (If you haven't already guessed it), I leave Elzhi's hook to do that for me instead! 
"I welcome y'all to the introduction
To learn how to play here's the instructions
A couple rules to show you how the game function
Yo, I'm a take a double, take a double syllable
And split it down the middle so it's no longer even
The first half stay, the last half leaving
So now the end of the line sound deceiving
So figure out the word that match before I change the meaning"
Still don't get it? Elzhi basically makes a fill-in-the-blank game with this song, by giving you the beginning syllables of a word and ending the last syllables in the next bar, but he gives you the opportunity to guess what the word is. What makes this concept so much more impressive is that the bars he's rapping on make sense, allowing both words from the end of the first bar and the beginning of the next to be related. For example, look at the following four bars: 

"Long as this beat keep the treats falling out of my pen-
(piƱ)-ata. Rather slow or faster it's disaster
I come flowing harder than a master-
(mastur)-bator. Now in the streets we a mess, try to test"
How many rappers have done that? None as I recall. Elzhi manages to challenge the listener by placing something clever in this song. People who don't focus on the lyrics might not notice the genius of this song, which is something many people tend to do these days. And for this incredible song, I can definitely say Elzhi's originality out-shine's any other rapper's attempts. 

2- Colors: In this great song, Elzhi shows more of his originality by using words that are related to colors and placing in the song purposefully. While this may seem simple, Elzhi's usage of the color-related words brings double meanings to the rhymes he's spitting. For example: 

"Got them boys in "blue" with "black" jacks locking the new youth
They sell "purples" through "Black"berries with the "Blue" tooth
Saw this "gold" digger "red" bone I knew poising in "Black" Tail
Another "black" girl lost inside the world of "Black" Male"
Get the concept? Here, Elzhi is rapping about how the drug deals in our generation are done through more modern techniques such as using the Blackberry. He also raps about an woman of interracial background (Red bone) who is seeking a black man only for financial benefit (Gold digger). However, at the end of the bar, Elzhi says "lost inside the world of black male". This can literally refer to the black man she's seeing, but also has a doubling meaning, referring to being "blackmailed" because she poses in "Black tail" (An adult magazine). She benefits from him just as much as he does from her. With more lyrics like this throughout the song, its another great example of Elzhi's originality. 

3- Talking In My Sleep: In this song, Elzhi raps about the dreams he has and how they affect him emotionally and spiritually. He raps about his mother, his fantasies of wealth and different violent images. Simple right? Well, since I'm talking about his originality you would expect a twist! Elzhi doesn't just talk about these dreams, but puts you in them! He makes you the main character in his dreams as you experience all of these horrible images. For example, here's a small excerpt:

"It flips over, now I'm in a barber's chair
With the clips closer to the God but it's sharp enough to part my hair
I couldn't make out the customers' faces
That was once in the place, who was with somethin in patience
Then I'm cut with this razor, I feel blood when [gun shots]
My barber just was shot, the clip was dropped while they was still buzzin
I got to hittin the floor
But it was weird, it disappeared and it just was here a minute ago
I'm glidin in air
Flew through a cloud, while I was in it, saw the image of a man that was tied to the chair
My hand's on a nine
I blink once, my gun in his palm, I'm in disbelief 'cause it vanished from mine
I'm shot, is this heaven, did I come in the gates?
Did I have this uncomfortable fate from somethin I ate?"
What makes this song so believable is he describes all the things that you as a dreamer experience in your sleep. You keep seeing spontaneous images, you do surprising supernatural things (Like flying and making things vanish), and you can't control your actions. As the tension builds up to a climactic ending, this is a must listen to any Hip-Hop fan!

Elmatic: Last year, Elzhi did something very daring that sparked a lot of controversy. Elzhi announced that he was working on a project that envolved remaking Nas' classic Illmatic. This caused an outrage in the Hip-Hop community for even thinking about handling such an untouchable album. Now I know what your thinking, this contradicts what I said earlier about paying homage to other artists and how that's not original. Hell! A remake!? That's not original at all right? Well, with Elzhi's Elmatic, he doesn't just remake Illmatic. He makes it his own album! Elzhi doesn't just borrow Nas' instrumentals, he brings his own band (Will Sessions), and has them re-record the music with their own twist. He adds interludes and extensions to the music (One Love & The World Is Yours) to add more of a dramatic and climactic effect. But Elzhi doesn't just bring great production to the project, he spits some of the most introspective lyrics brought up by a rapper in a long time. On tracks like Memory Lane, he brings his own life experiences and spits them on a long verse, dealing with the illness of his mother and his envolvment in the underground Hip-Hop scene. On One Love, he raps about his love life and the heartbreak brought up by his past lovers, unlike Nas who raps about sending letters to incarcerated friends. Elzhi really makes Elmatic his own project and, in my opinion, almost matches Nas' classic on the same levels. It is my favorite album of 2011 and will remain to be a great accomplishment by the Detroit rapper.

In conclusion, Elzhi is in my opinion the most original rapper in the game right now. He represents what the old-school Hip-Hop should be now but in his own artistic way. With two classics in his discography and an upcoming album coming soon entitled The Weather Man, I could not be more excited! Here's the lead single from his upcoming album: 

What do you think? Do you like Elzhi or not? Do you think he's original at all or another overrated rapper? Do you believe there is a lot of originality left in Hip-Hop? And do you think there are any other original rappers out there? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!