The success of Elzhi’s ELmatic — an ambitious and fantastic project dedicated to Nas’ seminal rap album, Illmatic — wasn’t dependent solely on the Detroit rapper’s skills on the mic. There was also the matter of the mixtape’s production, which could have gone one of two ways. He could have simply jacked the beats from DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and others and rapped his new verses over them. Or Elzhi could have hired a live band to reinterpret those beats to breathe even more new life into the project.
As anyone who’s heard ELmatic knows, Elzhi went the live band route and linked with talented soul-funk outfit Will Sessions to handle the production. And their takes on the Illmatic were so well received that they landed the band a deal with Fat Beats. The indie hip-hop label is releasing The Elmatic Instrumentals on Sept. 27 and you can get a sampling of the project by way of a free download of Will Sessions’ lush version of “Memory Lane.”
You can download the track here.