Elzhi

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Elzhi

Detroit rapper Elzhi had already chalked up a decade-long resume – including membership of Motor City collective Slum Village – before he finally dropped his debut full-length, The Preface, in 2008. But if that record marked him out as a name to watch, nothing prepared hip hop heads for this year's Elmatic, on which the MC teamed up with local funksters the Will Sessions band to recreate Nas's 1994 debut Illmatic. What could've been a toe-curling exercise turned out to be utterly vital (you can download the mixtape for free via the Elzhi website), and we'll be intrigued to see what goes down when they recreate the whole thing live at Billboard.