Detroit MC Elzhi confirmed he wanted to remake Illmatic 2 or 3 years ago… and there has been a lot of hype leading to the release of his version elMatic, now he’s finally released it! While a lot of people might not like the idea of a rapper remixing one of the most critically acclaimed albums ever, it is approved by the man himself, Nas.  With a live band, Will Sessions, and one of the original producers, Pete Rock, at his side, has Elzhi disappointed or lived up to the expectations?

Lyrics: 9

Elzhi is a lyricist, period. Midwest wordplay doesn’t come much better than this. Elzhi’s stories make you relive his time in his hood, and make you see his world through his eyes, much like Nas did back in 94’ only Elzhi is giving you a more modern version . Lines such as “Nowadays I need the green and the cash, just like the next man, using my mind to make shit move, like an X-Man” or “And I ain’t braggin slayer, you get your spot got, what I jot is hotter than the dragon slayer” make sure you won’t get bored listening to him.

Production: 8

Elzhi’s voice comes as crisp and clear as possible while still retaining that piece of grittiness that any Illmatic re-make should have, but he does lose points for not using original production. Even though the beats are not his own, the band does a great job re-making most of them.

Songs: 7.5

The first half of the mixtape comes as correct as can be, but “Life’s A Bitch,” “One Love,” and “Ain’t Hard To Tell” all have 1 minute + of the instrumental just playing on which takes points off, but props to Stokley Williams, which gave a soulful ending to “Life’s A Bitch,” but the song gets boring. Also Elzhi’s flow does not change up much which makes his tracks dull. “Genisis,” “Represent,” and “Half Time” are the best tracks on the project, but “Detroit State Of Mind” is the obvious stand out classic track that we will all remember.

Overall: 8.1

The tape is very enjoyable , and anyone that would be quick to point out that Illmatic is easily the better project, you can’t forget that elMatic is a MIXTAPE and that Illmatic is an ALBUM. Elzhi took an incredibly hard task of remixing Illmatic, and was DEFINITELY up to it. Anyone from Detroit has to have a smile on their faces the way El represents his city.


If you’ve been sleeping, and haven’t downloaded elMatic yet, you can get that here.