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

inspectah-deck Music

The Wu-Tang Clan Swing Swords at Martin Shkreli on “Lesson Learn’d”

“When the streets goin’ to learn, the Wu-Tang don't play?”
young-thug-carnage Music

Are Young Thug and Carnage Planning a Sequel to ‘Young Martha’?

Check out the dynamic duo’s new EP
kingsmen-eggsy Film

Film vs. Comic: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

How the new batsh*t film sequel compares to the latest series from Mark Millar
diamond-d Features

Diamond D and Jazzy Jay Remember The Making of ‘Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop’

The 25th Anniversary of a slept-on classic
mexico-earthquake Features

Mexico City After The Quake: “We Must Help One Another”

Mexico will rise again
nypd at the site of the troy ave shooting by irving plaza a matter that is usually under the watch of new york city's hip hop police/ rap unit News

Complaint Reveals Racial Discrimination In NYPD’s Infamous “Rap Unit”

Are you surprised?
kari-primary Features

Kari Faux Hits Her Stride on ‘Primary’

The ‘Insecure’ favorite went back to her childhood bedroom so she could feel like herself
ay-z numb encore live lounge Music

JAY-Z Delivers Emotional Performance of “Numb/Encore” at BBC Live Lounge

“This is for Chester”
chanhays Music

PREMIERE: ChanHays ft. The Cool Kids “New Bag”

“I’ma rap, f*ck the trap”
trippie-redd Features

Trippie Redd and Goose the Guru on Lil Wayne Collabs & ‘A Love Letter To You 2’

“We want to be timeless”
cuz lightyear Music

Cuz Lightyear Drops ‘WHAT UP CUZ’ EP

With Metro Boomin, Killer Mike and more in tow, Cuz makes his Mass Appeal debut
g-herbo Features

Chicago’s G Herbo Aims High On ‘Humble Beast’ Debut

First track on Chicago rapper's debut inspired by ‘4:44’
samiyam Music

Samiyam “The Boat Can Leave Now”

Fresh slice off the ‘Pizza Party’ beat tape
ewonee Music

PREMIERE: Ewonee ‘Molecular Structure’ Album Stream

Zone out to this
alchemist Music

Alchemist Goes on a Eurotrip With New Mixtape

Red Bull paired the Cali producer with the best underground MCs in Paris
nas-lost-tapes Features

That Was an Uncanny Era: An Oral History of Nas’ ‘The Lost Tapes’

The making of an unconventional classic, 15 years later