Your Choice Way

Elzhi / Georgia Anne Muldrow - Zhigeist Music Album Reviews

Elzhi / Georgia Anne Muldrow - Zhigeist Music Album Reviews
The duo’s collaborative project feels like an interstellar jam session that doesn’t push either of them too far from their comfort zones.

During an interview with Blockstar DVD Magazine in the early 2000s, Elzhi claimed to have cracked the code to the perfect rhyme pattern. The formula he spends the next two-and-a-half minutes breaking down consists of slant rhymes and other technical sleights of hand, and the Detroit rapper makes bending language to his will look as simple as telling someone about your day. This quick peek under the hood illuminates the otherworldly sense of control that endeared Elzhi to J Dilla and the group Slum Village when he joined in 2004 and continues to endear him to bars-first rap fans the world over. In a modern context, he slots neatly next to younger spitters like J.I.D. and fellow Detroiter BabyTron; in their hands, complexity is as seamless as breathing.

A rapper of Elzhi’s skill usually benefits from finding a foil in a similarly minded producer. For his latest project, Zhigeist, that foil is California musician and vocalist Georgia Anne Muldrow. It may seem like a strange combo on paper, but Muldrow herself is no stranger to mixing elements of R&B, jazz, funk, and rap to create everything from full-blown soul epics to beat tapes. In reality, Elzhi and Muldrow are kindred spirits—they both consider themselves artistic aliens, and their styles are mutually fluid and expansive. Zhigeist doesn’t push the duo particularly far from their respective comfort zones, but that’s because both have proven they can thrive just about anywhere. They’re a natural pair, and the low-stakes atmosphere gives Zhigeist the feeling of an interstellar jam session.

Muldrow does an admirable job of curating this vibe. Her beats combine the tight precision of production software and the lush sounds of live instruments without falling into the dry stateliness that plagues most live-band hip-hop. The basslines and piano notes of “Amnesia” and lead single “Strangeland” are Milky Way thick, complimented by hazy synths. In fact, synths and piano echo across nearly every track, giving dimension to the clacking shaker in the background of “Nefertiti” and Muldrow’s ghostly vocals trilling throughout “Already Gone.” “Pros and Cons” starts as a mellow lounge jazz number before a beat switch brings in drums, bass, and sirens suitable for an episode of The Mandalorian. Each beat is its own universe that pops and pulses in unexpected ways, adding as much to the conversation as Elzhi’s words.

As technically formidable as he is, another of Elzhi’s greatest gifts is using those techniques to find the most stylish way to say that he’s nice. Rapping about rap stands the chance of being dull and contrived at its worst, but his vocabulary offers endless possibilities. Take this passage from “Strangeland”: “With the pen, I could turn a name into a number/Shackle you and have you escorted through the right entrance/To be put in a mental prison/So why would I sweat your bars, knowing they coming with a light sentence?” His schemes are as conceptual as they are rhyme-based—there’s as much emphasis on the setups as the punchlines. They range from profound (“They looked for dirt when they dug up my past, but unearthed these diamonds,” he raps on “Amnesia”) to long-winded and tiresome (the Real Hip-Hop screed near the end of “King Shit (Say Word)”). Still, it’s impressive just to hear them unspool, words sliding into place like cards into a deck.

Elzhi’s shit-talking is even more entertaining when he homes in on a specific concept. “Pros and Cons” is a lyrical exercise where he, respectively, crams two verses with as many words that start with “pro” and “con” as possible. “Understanding,” meanwhile, laments the conditions of inner cities and vouches for knowledge of self as the greatest weapon for moving through them. The understanding that Elzhi describes comes as much from embracing the critical race theory currently being phased out of underfunded schools as it does from accepting that sometimes, the Wendy’s 4 for $4 deal is cheaper than a healthier option. Elzhi’s lyrical prowess prospers when it’s attached to his sense of goodwill.

In the album’s description, Elzhi and Muldrow labeled Zhigeist as “a love letter to people of color.” Even when the lyrics aren’t directly addressing Blackness, that love shines through in their respective zeal for the art of creation. Zhigeist isn’t a concept record, per se, but it is propelled by a sense of adventure that feels Afrofuturistic, born from the same stardust as Octavia Butler novels and Rappin’ Max Robot. As a duo, Elzhi and Muldrow have recast themselves as astronomers, using Black musical lineage to reconfigure the cosmos themselves.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Elzhi / Georgia Anne Muldrow - Zhigeist Music Album Reviews Elzhi / Georgia Anne Muldrow - Zhigeist Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment