Once upon a time, when you copped a physical copy of an album, you would dig through the liner notes and find jewels of information about the music you were listening to. Sometimes you would get the lyrics to every song on the album or you’d get an explanation about how the songs were created. For those of us that remember (or, still cop physical copies), reading the liner notes was quite the special and intimate experience. However, with everything going digital, liner notes are a thing of a past.
That’s where we come in.
Today, 2DopeBoyz will be launching a new series titled “Anecdope” where we’ll deliver a digital version of the liner notes of albums from the artists themselves. You’ll get lyrics deciphered and the stories behind the songs on an album.
For our first installment, we reached out to eLZhi, who recently dropped his deeply personal album Lead Poison. Easily the most introspective piece of work of his career, the Detroit emcee opened his soul to the world on the album and explained what he’s been going through for the past few years. But we wanted to dig a little deeper and caught up with eLZhi to talk about every single song on the album and the significance.
With the album having 16 tracks, we’ve broken up the installment into three acts because we know how short some of your attention spans may be. So, for Act I, we’ll tackle the first five songs on the album.
PRODUCED BY NICK SPEED
I wanted “Medicine Man” to be the intro, because it’s pretty much what the album is about. It’s about finding your outlet—and my outlet is writing. The start of it was me trying to find the right words. Trying to get some things off my chest. Trying to get what was poisonous inside of me out of me.
For a minute, I didn’t want to reveal what was really going on at the moment, because there was so much. There was so much going on—a lot happening with me and people around me—and I didn’t really want them to know what I was going through. So, for a long time, I was just writing music. Writing songs. But it wasn’t depicting what I was going through. “Medicine Man” was the first song I wrote that truly described my mental state at the time.
Once I started writing what I was going through, it was pouring out of me—because it was true. That goes for anything. No matter how I’m feeling—whether I’m feeling good or I’m feeling flashy—it’s gonna be effortless.
While I was writing it I wanted to walk this fine line—I didn’t want it to be too depressing. I wanted to be playful with things I was going through. There are a lot of songs on the cutting room floor that I feel are just too dark. So, I had to find that right balance, and I feel I found that balance with the album.
PRODUCED BY BOMBAY
My grandma was in and out of the hospital. When I first started this, one of my dreams was to buy her a crib. So when I say “seeing me win” it’s it’s not just a successful career, its a successful life. Giving her a grandkid, being married—having my shit together. Which in turn, if I got my shit together, then the people that are around me, I’m going to make sure that they got everything they got going on together as well. That’s pretty much what that is.
Did you feel you owe your fans an explanation for the Kickstarter delay? Or was it just about getting everything off your chest?
Both; I definitely feel like I owe my fans an explanation. Like I said, I put all the blame on me as far as not informing them—where I was at in my life. If I’m not saying anything and imaginations can run away with people and they can think one thing and it’s not really like that, so I felt like I pretty much had to let them know that this is what was going on. I didn’t want to talk about it but while I’m in this process of healing, let me explain to you what’s going on; let my truth out. I did a poor job updating the kickstarter supporters, but it wasn’t that I didn’t want to do it. I was ashamed of where I was at at the moment. But after I started writing the music, it was like ‘damn, the music itself is an update.’ All the missing updates they didn’t get, this particular album answers everything. It was hard to express it even after the album was completed, but I felt like I had to let them know. It was only right.
Do you feel you’ve been misjudged in this whole situation?
Yeah, but that just is what it is though. If they don’t know the situation to the fullest or in detail or they can’t relate; whatever reason, that’s just going to happen. I ain’t really tripping off that, I want to make things right for people who are willing to listen to the truth and willing to accept it. That was fine by me- if my people accepted it and they realize, “Ok, now i see it. I get it.” Now, that’s good enough for me.
PRODUCED BY BOMBAY
Man, I got caught on a weed charge. It was crazy. I had to take a random urine test two times a month. I had a color assigned to me, I think it was Onyx or something, and I had to call into an automated machine and listen if they called that color. If it was called, you had to make a drop. I came out of mad bread, I want to say like 8 g’s or something, and it was crazy. I had to take these classes, do community service. I’m in the spot trying not to get noticed, so I have my hat way low covering my eyes while on the bus early in the morning, to pick up trash on the side of the street; rake up stuff off the ground. I was kind of buzzing off of it and it was like, “let me write this experience down, so i can get it out of me.”
PRODUCED BY 14KT
How did this February compare to those of the past?
Definitely better. This February I was able to pull off anything for my liking. This February, we got an album out. You know, this February I felt like the people who might’ve thought one way wants to be informed on what’s going on, they saw where I was coming from. This February was definitely one of the best Februarys I’ve had in a loong time—it’s a beautiful thing, man. It’s just how the album is—I talked about the past Februarys, and the feeling that I had was poisonous and I listen back on it, do a video for it and now that’s like medicine.
How do you deal with the passing of Dilla these days?
I celebrate; put on a gang of Dilla joints and have conversations with my close friends about how incredible he was and how he changed music forever. We salute the man. The legend. Dilla.
PRODUCED BY QUELLE CHRIS
“EGOcentric” is my ego getting in the way and controlling my movements. It’s me trying to get control of my ego. Your ego builds you up and tears you down. I’m seeing things online, people talk crazy, and to hear people talk crazy in the streets that I knew—like “Old eL would’ve been on some other shit. But the new L, I’m trying to get the old back.” I’m trying to be a better person, a lot more positive. So that was me struggling, being in a battle with my ego.
Pick up Lead Poison on iTunes and stay tuned for the next installment of “Anecdope.”
Illustrated by N8tivAlien. ArtByShake.