Elzhi Lead Poison Press Photo

Honesty, Poison, and Medicine: A Conversation With Elzhi

The past few years were like one giant, dark cloud for Elzhi. On Lead Poison, his first album since 2011’s Elmatic, the Detroit native unravels a narrative detailing his long and painful battle with depression, one that became so severe, it completely blocked him creatively.

“I couldn’t write,” Elzhi reveals. “The emotions weren’t allowing me to be an artist.” Making the decision to face what was really going on in his life allowed him to overcome the writer’s block and break through the surface level into the truth, which ultimately served as the inspiration for the direction of Lead Poison. “It’s about getting the poison out of me the only way I know how to do it,” he explains.

Elzhi Lead Poison Album Artwork

In dark times, self-reflection guided him to a silver lining. “The cloud is the surface,” Elzhi muses. “The silver lining is what’s inside. Like the root of what it is.” He notes that it can be scary to dig deep and find the truth, but that’s ultimately what keeps one healthy and sane. “People gotta quit looking at life on a surface level,” he says. “I think that’s the reason why people go through depression and go through being stressed the way they do.”

Although this time for reflection helped him overcome the most painful aspects of his depression, he wasn’t necessarily ready to be as honest with his fan as he had been with himself. “I had written personal songs,” he explains. “But this is the most personal I’ve ever gotten. I was writing songs about partying and having fun, and they were cool songs, but I didn’t think they were a representation of what I was going through,” he reflects. “I wasn’t feeling those records because I wasn’t being true to myself, so I decided, ‘You know what? I gotta get this out of me. ‘Cause that’s the only way I’ll be able to overcome what I’m going through.’”

Addressing his pain truthfully through music, Elzhi’s poison became medicine. “When you put it all down and go into the booth and you recite it and play it back and listen to it, it becomes medicine to you,” he says. “It goes through this metamorphosis and this change where it turns into something beautiful.”

Looking back, Elzhi’s glad he disregarded his reservations about sharing so much with his fans. “It feels good,” he admits. “I feel like I’m living my truth. Even though the stuff I’m talking about happened years back and I’m a different person than I was on the record, I still feel good that the people who appreciate my music and want to get more in touch with me and know more about me know the truth of what I went through,” he says. “And hopefully if they’re going through some things, they can listen to what I’ve done and maybe apply it or relate to what they’re going through. So you know, it’s a beautiful thing. I feel like it’s always best to be truthful.”


Lead Poison is out now. The album features Karriem Riggins, 14KT, Nick Speed, Oh No, Drey Skonie, Quelle Chris, as well as newcomers Bombay and Soledad Brother among others.

Related Posts

Music
Music

Elzhi “INTROverted”

Music
Music

PREMIERE: Stik Figa and Elzhi Know Their Worth on “Down Payment”

Art
Art

Waajeed Explores The Harmony Between Art And Music

Film
Film

Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ Is Pretty Much Like A Trip To McDonald’s

Music
Music

MED “Caddy Music” ft. Blu & Elzhi

Ad

Latest News

same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."
Video

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over
remy ma Video

Open Space: Remy Ma

"Female rapper—what the f*ck is that?"