I Told Bessie is the third solo album from New York City rapper/producer Chaz Hall aka ELUCID. The title is a reference to his paternal grandmother, Bessie Hall, a powerful presence in his life until she passed away in 2017. From childhood afternoons running around her apartment in the Red Hook projects, to living under the same roof in Crown Heights when he was a young man, Bessie was an axis on which Hall’s family turned.
“I remember her silver afro like a halo atop her head. I remember the Westerns that were always on television in the living room. I remember. I remember her pouring early ideals of Black consciousness into me. I remember the stories and lore,” ELUCID says.
While best known as one-half of critically acclaimed duo Armand Hammer, ELUCID has also built an impressive resume of other collaborations and side projects over the past decade: Small Bills with multi-instrumentalist producer The Lasso (Mello Music), Nostrum Grocers with R.A.P. Ferreira (Ruby Yacht), Dirtee Deacon with Von Pea (Blonde Medicine), and self-produced experimental work like Valley of Grace, Bernadette, and Seership. His debut LP Save Yourself dropped in 2016 on Backwoodz Studioz and still holds up as one of the best releases in the label’s catalogue. It’s fitting that ELUCID returns to fertile ground for I Told Bessie, a record of such confidence and power that it feels like a culmination