Elzhi Breaks His Slum Village Silence To XXL

After some public confusion earlier this month over the future of Slum Village, it appears that Elzhi has been unexpectedly ousted from the Detroit Hip Hop group. Finally making his side of the story public, the emcee tells XXL’s Anslem Samuel about being kept in the dark and excluded from videos and press runs to promote SV’s new album, Villa Manifesto.

In the interview Elzhi says the cold shoulder he received was the group’s response to his taking on new management, also referring to some of T3‘s lyrics in “Reunion 2” that dig at Elzhi’s solo work.

Here are some key excerpts from the XXL piece:

XXL: Let’s cut right to the chase; are you in Slum Village now or not?

Elzhi: Am I in Slum Village or am I not? As far as what’s going on… As far as, like, me not having any say so to any treatments to videos being shot, or me not going to do the interviews to promote this new Slum Village album, or [Barack Records and T3] not contacting me or my management, and… as you can see in the “Reunion 2” video, I would say I wasn’t in the group. And at the same time, them taking me off records, so now I’m on a minimal amount a records for the [Villa Manifesto] album, I would say I wasn’t in the group.

So you recorded way more material than what the final track listing wound up being? How did things fall apart?

Basically, I got new management and what happened was it was a shock to the label, even Slum’s manager [Tim Maynor]. They just couldn’t take the fact that I had new management, and just from that as far as I could tell, they overreacted and it got to the point where we was all on a conference call and my new management asked to see the paper work and the contract from E1 and RJ Rice ain’t wanna show us. I’m thinkin’ like, “Why you ain’t wanna show us; that’s how we do business.” But we asked to see that paperwork; he didn’t show us, then he threatened to take me off the whole album at one point when I recorded 13 cuts for the album. So it went from them threatening to take me off the whole album to them keeping me on five-seven records and something musta got lost in translation with the label… It was just funny to know that they took me off the record [we did with Phonte of Little Brother], but they didn’t give me the say so on which records I wanted to be on. So they just did everything theyself.

Just to clarify, is the issue more so with RJ Rice and Barack, or is T3 involved in that tension as well?

Well, my thing is this, T3 is the leader of Slum; I’ve always looked at him as the leader of Slum. I’ve always respected the direction to where he wanted to take Slum because he’s part of the co-founders of Slum Village, but you know, when you got T3 tellin’ me this isn’t the direction he wanna go into, but I’m lookin’ at behind the scenes footage of the “Reunion 2” and him talkin’ about basically this is the Slum Village crew and then when I’m thinking about the “Reunion 2” as far as the way that it popped off… Because I didn’t even know that that video got shot. They shot that video behind my back and didn’t tell me.

Word, so what did you think when you finally saw the video?

When I see the video I’m like, “Wow. It’s crazy ’cause they got all these new faces in there and no disrespect to the new people that’s tryin’ to get in where they fit in, I just thought it was real disrespectful and I think the fans did too ’cause I went on this website where they was commentin’ on the video, I think it had probably like 64 comments, and the fans saw right through the bullshit… They even broke down T3’s verse and saw that he was tryin’ to diss a lil’ bit.

Where do you think he tried to diss you on the record?

It’s like the things he was sayin’ as far as like, you know, basically Dilla spoke to him from the heavens and said keep this goin’ because Elzhi’s doin’ solo shows and he don’t know where ’Tin is at so, yeah, I’m about to create my own runway with [Young] RJ and Scrap Dirty and all this and that and it’s like, “Damn, you really puttin’ it out there thinkin’ that our fans is stupid,” but our fans know what’s up, we got some smart listeners… I mean [T3’s] tellin’ me that’s not his direction, that that’s RJ’s direction, but I mean from this point I can’t tell.

At this point, is there any hope for a real reunion between you and T3?

As much as I was tripping off the fact that T3 allowed the label to take me off half of the album, he wasn’t sticking up for me and did a video behind my back; [the way] I was looking at it at that time was as long as they know my worth what I brought to the table, my legacy, they cooperate and they willing to negotiate with me about certain things… ’Cause honestly I haven’t even got paid in full on the [new] album yet. But I was just looking at it like as long as they get their act together, Slum Village can still keep on making music.

>> Read the full article by Anslem Samuel over at XXL.