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When: Fri., Aug. 3, 9 p.m. 2012
Price: $20
Sometimes known by his more typographically challenging moniker, eLZhi, 33-year-old Detroit hip-hop artist Elzhi is also occasionally dubbed a “hidden gem” in his hometown. He replaced J-Dilla in the group Slum Village and, after the group’s dissolution, went solo, releasing a spate of mixtapes and three solo albums. He built a reputation on his effortless, rubber-band rap cadence. Last year Elzhi received plaudits for Elmatic, his tribute to a canonical 1994 album by Nas, for which he supplied original raps while repurposing many of the old samples. More than mere mimicry, it was both a genuflection and a new spin on the original: Elzhi changed the sentiment on songs like “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” which he rendered as an autobiography instead of a boast track. His version of “Memory Lane” is a sweet, moving reverie about the Nineties, with details about his mother’s cancer. Elzhi is known for plumping his raps with internal rhyme and always staying in the pocket of the beat; if Nas were to choose a disciple, he’d be a good candidate. He’ll perform at The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland) on Friday, August 3. 9 p.m., $20.
— Rachel Swan


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