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ELUCID ‘Save Yourself’

Aug 24, 2023 | Reissue, Reviews

Save Yourself resonates more today than ever

Fifty years of hip hop are being marked by star studded events and many commentators casting an eye over the linear path of the genre’s development for talking points. Key albums are plucked from a moment in time, and we are reminded of their status as a watershed release.

When it comes to genre, we can all experience an epiphany: it was early in the pandemic when we read a piece by billy woods, the founder at Backwoodz Studioz, describing his lockdown experiences whilst wandering around a snow coated New York. Yes, we were aware of woods, but the poetic piece sent us into a frenzy of interest in his imprint, and underground rap in general.

Chaz Hall aka ELUCID released Save Yourself in 2016 and it quickly became a pivotal release for the NY label. Arriving shortly before a rapid fire trio of albums from Armand Hammer – ELUCID’s collab with Woods – this solo debut cemented years of the maturing of Hall’s craft.

On first listen it can sound as if it doesn’t cover a huge dynamic range, but the hallmarks were already there: honed hip hop, spliced with r’n’b, jazz, and a spiritual element – the latter is a theme embedded from childhood due to a consistent attendance of church. This is before we become locked in the conundrum of densely worded flows: when themes do crystallise it’s apparent the US racial divide, and those living in poverty, are close to the heart.

Largely produced by the man himself, with some input from Willie Green, and featuring guest rappers, the album dropped at a fraught time in US history: politics and wealth were intensely polarised as Trump edged towards his election victory, therefore, as another election looms, Save Yourself resonates more today than ever.

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