Elzhi is one of the best rappers you might never have heard of. I’ve been down with him since his amazing Elmatic tribute to Nas. Every chance I get, I post on it…

…And now he’s back, teamed up with Khrysis for another collection of conscious street tales and veteran wisdom. There aren’t a lot of people who can turn a phrase the way he can, his agility is without equal–truly I can’t say enough about his skills.

After a bout with depression and an acclaimed run as part of the Slum Village collective, he’s got a lot say about growing up. Khrysis is the perfect beatmaker for this project–his 1990s influenced sonic tapestries bring to mind old school beats through new jack glasses.

“If you’re doing jail time, wipe the slate clean, I hope you make better decisions when you’re 18,” Elzhi rhymes on “Seventeen.” Then on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. he offers a throwback lesson on fake friendships. Song after song, this album shows that rappers can sing about the street life without being preachy, and can tell truth and honesty without being corny.

This album gets my highest recommendation.

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