Arguably one of the most underrated lyricists around, eLZhi drops his first official solo album The Preface (Barak Records). Most known as a member of the influential Detroit faction Slum Village, the microphone was passed on to eLZhi as Jay Dee made his departure from the group. Now with his solo release on deck, eLZhi is prepared to become a household name.The album is not packed with the popular club or ring tone ready tracks, which makes it a nice break from today’s monotony. The lyrical force that was shown in eLZhi’s verse on the late J Dilla’s “Come Get It” from Welcome To Detroit, is also seen in tracks like “The Leak” featuring Ayah and “Guessing Game”. The latter keeps you on your toes as the go-go inspired track takes a double syllable word and splits it in two, giving it an entirely new meaning.
On “Brag Swag” he asserts himself as an MC and doesnt hesitate to boast about his accomplishments. Additionally the organ heavy “Colors” offers a lesson on how different colors correlate to everyday happenings. “Fire” features appearances by Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Fatt Father, Danny Brown and Fat Ray with each entity dousing fuel on the track lending itself to an old school Wu-Tang clan vibe.
“D.E.M.O.N.S.” earns a nomination as one of the standout tracks as it showcases eLZhi’s word play versatility. He gives several different meanings for the record’s acronym (Deceitful Elections Monitor Our Nations; Devils Effecting Music Out Now on your Stations; Dysfunctional Education Malfunctions Oppress Negroes, etc.) over seemingly muffled horns and stout drums.Sonically the album is produced almost entirely by Black Milk which makes this effort transparent. Many of the beats tend to flow into each other; at times its as you’re listening to one extended track. “The Science” is the only other track cooked up by a different producer: DJ Res. While street oriented Hip-Hop tends to get more notice, the separate but equal ideology still stands with in regards to The Preface. Aside from many of the beats on the album sounding similar to the next, eLZhi’s verses still shines through. Dilla would be proud.