Elzhi: Oh yea, Royce is my peoples. We’ve been doing songs since we was 16, 17 so I knew I needed him to do that one record, that he gon smash it. Me and Royce at one point were supposed to do a little album together. But he had his thing going on with Slaughterhouse, at the time I was dealing with my situation so we couldn’t come together like that. But when he did that verse for me that was around the time that we were gonna try to get up and do something.
XXL: Why did you leave “One Time for Your Mind” off the album?
Elzhi: The leader of the band, Sam, he didn’t really like the replay. So, that’s the only reason we left it out. I kinda wanted to leave it on there as an instrumental, but he wasn’t feeling it altogether so we just decided to X it out.
XXL: What about “Verbal Intercourse.” It’s one of Nas’ most famous verses, but it’s not an Illmatic song, it’s Raekwon’s. Why did you incorporate it?
Elzhi: “Verbal Intercourse” was an idea that the producer 14TK really wanted me to do a long time ago when he first heard that I was gonna do Elmatic. I never got around to doing it and then once I got in the studio with Will Sessions, he came back around with the beat, and so I just ended up laying it. I’m like, “Aw, man, this gotta be like a hidden track or something to put at the end of the album because it wasn’t live instrumentation, it was him on the beat machine. I knew I wanted to use it so I felt it should have been a surprise at the end for people who weren’t even expecting it.
XXL: What was your reaction to Elmatic being a trending topic worldwide?
Elzhi: You know, it was just me paying homage, giving tribute to an album that I really respect and I’m just glad that people got what I was really trying to do.
XXL: Do you know if Nas heard the album?
Elzhi: My manager got in contact with his manager so he has the album.
XXL: So no word on whether he’s heard it yet?
Elzhi: Nah. Not yet.
XXL: Have you met Nas before.
Elzhi: We were at Rock the Bells like a couple of years back, but I didn’t really get a chance to holla at him. Everybody was crowding around him. I never got a chance to meet him, but definitely respect him as an artist.