“Rufio” is amazing as a story and as an EP. Elias Strategos is already showing us who he is, by the opening track “Adios”, where he practically waves goodbye to the haters, the naysayers and the pretenders – all those who profess they’re pushing you forward in every race, when in fact they really don’t ever want you to win. It’s a relatable life anthem, and an important message for all those who are being slowed down and tied to the ground by negative people. Every song on this EP is personal to Elias Strategos, and that makes every track seem like something special. Each has its own meaning in the bigger story and is totally relatable to the rest of us. Elias Strategos is artist from Lithia Springs GA, who is part of the FTP Worldwide Records group.
Often when EPs or albums of a personal nature are released, the describing words ‘honest’ and ‘raw’ are used. I’ve been one to throw them around from time to time. But sometimes you press play on a record that is so intensely honest that it blows all the others out of the water. That is what you discover in “Rufio”. The combination of meaning and sound is absolutely terrific on this recording.
I had already believed Elias Strategos was the next big thing when his previous EP, “Righteous Imperfection” dropped, showcasing his intense rapping and stunning wordplay. It seems like Elias has come out of nowhere and is succeeding very quickly. In short, “Rufio” is almost like a metaphor for Elias’ mindset. It’s an intriguing space, and quite often a deep-thinking place.
“Humble Man” comes flying out of the corner with both fists flying. “Humble man, humble man. Don’t ever hold him down. If you really run the town, you ain’t worried about a crown,” spits Elias, with quick cadences and bars echoing knowledge. This is the sound of a rapper who is building his name on rawness and catharsis, as well as dazzling verbiage.
It’s hard not to be impressed when he buries his competition in an avalanche of aggressive triple-time rhymes, but Elias Strategos is just as credible and compelling when he slows it down on the soul searching introspection of “Wait”, featuring a beautiful ear-warming vocal hook.
“Ohh My” takes you through the foyer of Elias’ mind, a chilling cinematic soundscape, and some pure lyrical aggression. There’s a real fierce grind on this track, its super smooth, but still quite dark in sound. Elias Strategos is an unusually gifted artist. His rap chops will stand up alongside anyone. Period. This guy is simply loaded with talent, and he’s brought it all to the table on this project.
Setting Elias Strategos apart from most of the rap world is the impressive fact that he can seriously write a narrative. The closing track on the EP, “Douglasville”, emphatically proves that point, as we hear how Elias weaves a complex tale centered on the vices and virtues of small-town mentalities. A condition Elias himself suffered, until he built up enough courage and inspiration to make a change in his life.
In its own way, “Douglasville” is intended to inspire others. Comprising an impressive blend of kinetic raps and luscious modern cinematic-styled beats, “Rufio” is one of the most compelling EP rap recordings I’ve heard in quite some time.