Elzhi Announces New Album, Struggle with Depression & Drops a Bold New Single (Audio)

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For fans of Detroit, Michigan MC Elzhi, it’s been a long and brutally quiet few years since he released his Nas-inspired masterpiece Elmatic in 2011. Since dropping his debut solo LP The Preface in 2008, he’s taken on a reputation of nearly mythical proportions (a la Jay Electronica) by maintaining a very low profile. That low profile has earned him his fair share of detractors – including those involved in the threat of a lawsuit against him after allegedly receiving no return on their contributions to Elzhi’s Kickstarter campaign – but they will likely be silenced upon hearing today’s exciting news. Elzhi has announced the release of his long awaited return to the game, with Lead Poison dropping in March. With a title seemingly stripped from the headlines of the water crisis in nearby Flint, the album from one of Detroit’s most celebrated MCs carries a title that is open to interpretation. Lead poison in the form of his verses is a metaphor that few Heads would disagree with, and with “coSIGN” as the lead single, all signs point to a triumphant return with lyrical shots fired.

Having premiered on Noisey today, the new single – which features production from 14KT and a guest appearance from Skonie – was released in conjunction with an interview in which Elzhi addresses not only the lawsuit allegations but also the album’s role in a process of recovery for him. “I’ve been away for awhile, and one of the reasons why I’ve been gone is because I’ve been getting chased by this fucking black cloud that I can’t seem to shake. The cloud has been so crazy that it’s made me look at things in ways where, you know my perception is pretty much negative,” he tells Noisey’s Todd Olmstead. That black cloud is front and center on the single’s artwork, which depicts a rainstorm of pencils beating down onto an escaping Elzhi, but the LP isn’t all bleakness. “Anything that the fans want to know from when I disappeared out of the spotlight is in the record,” he says. ” I knew what I had to do was instead of being safe, I had to be real and I had to take all the stress and depression and all the things I considered to be negative inside of me and get it out the only way I knew how to get it out, through writing.” The conversation gets brutally personal, as Elzhi touches upon the issue of mental health within the world of Hip-Hop, where it often gets silenced. Rather than ostracize himself any longer for suffering from depression, he instead says “for my personal health I had to put that out there. And for the people, I feel like I owe it to my fans, to let them know what’s going on. I feel like I can’t be fake to my fan base. They gotta know I’m just like them.”

Also announced today was Lead Poison‘s official tracklist:

1.)  “Medicine Man” (produced by Nick Speed)
2.)  “Introverted” (produced by Bombay)
3.)  “Weedipedia” (produced by Bombay)
4.)  “February” (produced by 14KT)
5.)  “Egocentric” (produced by Quelle Chris)
6.)  “Two 16’s” (produced by Karriem Riggins)
7.)  “Hello!!!!!” (produced by Soledad Brother)
8.)  “FriendZone” (produced by Oh No)
9.)  “The Healing Process” (produced by Joself)
10.) “Cloud” (produced by Bombay)
11.) “Alienated” f/ Smitty (produced by Joself)
12.) “She Sucks” f/ Chris Dave & The Drumhedz (produced by Agor)
13.) “CoSIGN” f/ Skonie (produced by 14KT)
14.) “MisRight” (produced by Bombay)
15.) “The Turning Point” f/ A Poem By Thabisile Griffin (produced by 14KT)
16.) “Keep Dreaming” (produced by Bombay)

The album has not yet been assigned an official release date, but will be released via Elzhi’s new label alliance with GLOW365 and will be made available for pre-order on iTunes.

Read: Elzhi Parts the Clouds and Announces His New Album ‘Lead Poison’ at Noisey

Related: Elzhi Keeps It So Real His Songs Are Like Journal Entries. (Audio)