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Ex-Slum Village Rapper Elzhi Comes To Pagoda

In Clubs, Music

Their self-titled 2005 album saw Elzhi’s lyrical talent in full bloom, as seen on “05,” maybe the group’s most powerful song. Baatin’s erratic behavior got worse and he was finally diagnosed as schizophrenic, so Elhzi and T3 took over, celebrating the group while also expressing bewilderment at the chaos around them.

Dilla died in 2006 after a battle with various illnesses, and after a brief return to the group, Baatin’s body was found in his Detroit home in 2009. Despite all attempts to determine his cause of death, it remains a mystery to this day.

Perhaps the snowballing effect of record-deal double crosses and personal tragedy finally caught up to them, Or maybe, as Elzhi claims, Barak Records label head RJ Rice—who Elzhi called “poison”—is responsible. For whatever reason, in 2010, Slum Village finally gave out.

With T3 not having released a solo record since 2006, Elzhi seems to be the last Slum Village member still actively making music. His output so far has been unusual to say the least, with last year’s impressive mixtape Elmatic putting his own spin on Nas’ debut album Illmatic (“Detroit State of Mind,” for instance, replacing “N.Y. State of Mind”). But it’s really his full-length debut that longtime fans are waiting for. Expected out later this year, its status is a bit up in the air thanks to Elzhi’s infamous perfectionism, but it has the potential to fulfill the promise of Slum Village once and for all.

ELZHI performs Sat., Aug. 4, at Pagoda Lounge in San Jose, 9:30pm; $12.

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