A couple days ago I posted a tribute to The Roots, a group of artists who have significantly affected my views on artistry and performance. I think Elzhi's collaboration with funk/soul/hip hop/experimental/jazz band Will Sessions is a wonderfully fitting example of the kinds of things capable with live instrumentation in hip hop. After having a listen to the original Nas tracks, then the Elzhi recreations, I must admit the flair and texture of actual instruments is much more appealing and inspires more interest and movement, at least with me. There's something about the inconsistency and unpredictability of live sound that catches my ear in a way programmed counterparts simply doesn't.
Don't get me wrong; my admiration for hip hop producers like Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and J Dilla. The feats they achieve with programmable instrumentation are nothing less than extraordinary. But every once in a while, I crave live sounds. Thankfully, this album delivers a healthy blend of both. Give it a listen. It's dope.