Editorial, Main, Reviews

Rising In The East: A Conversation With New Hampshire’s JZAC

Social media has become our inevitable life line. From fashion, to media arts, and of course music, the Internet truly…

Social media has become our inevitable life line. From fashion, to media arts, and of course music, the Internet truly is the wave for discovering and breaking the best trends and talent in the world.

Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or IG, the social media platforms we check on the daily are our new MTV, they’re the Video Music Box (look it up) for this generation. And that’s dope since I’m constantly in search of new music.

Enter JZAC, a New Hampshire spitter brought to doorstep via Instagram. He and his crew remade the “smoking cypher” from That 70’s Show, and absolutely killed it. I dug deeper, and was moved by his ability to flow effortlessly over any beat. Fluent cool is something you have or you don’t, you be the judge.

JZAC gave us a few minutes to discuss his influences, Soundcloud’s dominance, and what’s next for the bubbling MC.

You’re from NH, right outside Boston, right? Has the Boston Hip Hop scene influenced your choices?

I am from New Hampshire, I was actually born in Boston but I spent the majority of my life in New Hampshire. To be honest the Boston hip hop scene hasn’t really influenced my choices, I grew up on the internet so I listened to music from all over the place. They do have a new wave of artists really coming up and making some noise in the music industry right now though, which is always dope to see.

It seems that you’re a student of the culture. It feel like your verses are puzzles, and it all fits well. How important are bars nowadays? It seems like energy has sort of taken over for craftsmanship.

I still think the bars are really important. The way I look at it is the majority of the music that will last and have true longevity always comes from artists with bars. I think it goes a lot deeper than that too, but I think if you really bring quality music to the table it will get appreciated. With that being said I also do like the “energy” wave of a lot of the young guys coming out. It may not always be as deep or lyrical, but it’s fun and it makes you feel good. I love partying to that type of stuff. I think balance is key.

What are your thoughts on SoundCloud potentially going away, or on Chance “saving” it?

I think SoundCloud will stick around for a while. Regardless, it’s already lost a lot of popularity due to people switching over to streaming services. It definitely has a special place in my heart, and helped my music reach millions of people but I like streaming services a lot. It helps independent artists like me get paid and make a living off of music. I like Chance trying to help the situation; you can tell he’s a genuine dude.

Your phone is at 1%, and you can only download 3 songs. Who/what’s getting picked?

Oh man that’s a tough question. It all depends on what mood I’m in, so that question can vary heavily. 3 songs that pop in my head right now though would be Jay Z “Lost Ones”, Drake “Do Not Disturb”, and Billy Joel “Big Shot”.

How important is a label in 2017?

They’re important for certain artists. Some artists can really thrive off of having a label while other artists have horror stories. It’s important to learn how to maneuver on your own and create some buzz independently. That’s what labels want to see in 2017, they don’t want to spend the money and do the work. I love that the artist has the choice in 2017. You can be an extremely successful independent artist if you have the right team of people around you, which wasn’t a thing 10-15 years ago. You don’t have to rely on anyone anymore.

What’s the future look like for you? Plans to record, or tour?

There’s a lot of stuff in the works. I’ll be releasing a new body of work before the end of the year, but I don’t want to give too much info about that just yet. No tours yet, but I’m working on hitting different major cities and performing for fans who have been waiting to see me. I’m really excited for what the future has in store!


Huge shoutout to JZAC for taking the time to speak with us. His unique take on Hip Hop is a breath of fresh air. It feels like we’re taking a slow turn back towards lyricism, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Support JZAC by hitting up his social media feeds. Salute!

http://www.facebook.com/JZACMUSIC
http://www.instagram.com/jzacmusic
Snapchat: jzacmusic

My name is J.D, the music fanatic, writer, blogger, and educator. I've been in love with hip hop since Bishop got too close to the ledge. If it moves me, I'll cover it. I've written an unpublished novel, created Shiny Glass Houses, and had my work featured on the Bloglin for Mishka NYC. I'm lurking in the shadows on twitter @ThexGlassxHouse. Read. Comment. Get money.
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#IndieSpotlight: Dough the Freshkids’ ‘Black Rome’ Is A Buzzworthy Slice Of Hip Hop Goodness

There have been many eras in Hip Hop, but none as forgotten as the Nubian era, which was characterized by…

There have been many eras in Hip Hop, but none as forgotten as the Nubian era, which was characterized by a heightened sense of knowledge of self and anti-oppressive forces that be. The ironic commercial appeal of empowering groups like Public Enemy or Brand Nubian eventually morphed into the current era where “rap” has become a business move/career choice rather than a voice of the underdog filled with subversive talking points that rival university lectures.

This is what I found so intriguing about the new project Black Rome by Dough the Freshkid — representing Crenshaw, California. The follow up to his free tape Six Shots and released via his independent label Every Penny Count, the 15-song effort is a blend of vibes, ranging from an early millennium G-Unit mixtape structure (see the chorus on “Cookin’”), 90s east coast soundscapes (see “We Rich” with its scratch hook), to deeply reflective contextual content aimed at giving opposing viewpoints to widely accepted “fact.”

 
An example of this is the title track, which focuses on the idea that a false image of “white Jesus” was shaped by artist Leonardo DaVinci. Its execution is reminiscent of similar records, such as “Why Is That” by BDP and “Nature Of The Threat” by Ras Kass. This song could literally be transcribed into an incredibly compelling University level essay.

 
Elsewhere on the record, he traverses themes such as the (historical) political and social-economic climate in the United States (see “God’s Curse” verse two) to gang life in LA. Nothing is ever glorified, and everything comes off as methodically thoughtful. On the track “I See He Blued Up,” he addresses industry Crippin,’ as well as unnecessary killing in the streets. “Man up, out the choppas down and out your hands up,” he raps, pointing to the glorification of needless gun violence.

 
Some of the standouts include the gorgeous instrumental that rides with the top down on “Palm Trees II” featuring Tropic626— which I found myself revisiting quite a few times this week — and the unspoken dopeness of “Still Arlington (1994)” which featured Wee Dogg.

“I never promote crack in my raps, I only promote facts in my raps,” he implores as the project comes to a close with the dramatically honest, autobiographical “Sincerely Me.” Even at its most informative and reflective, Dough manages to make this project an incredibly digestible gem packed with lots of wisdom and great talking points. Worth a spot on your end of year playlist if you’re looking for some undeniable fire that is still creeping under the radar.

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Outside The Box: Discover The Positive World Of Krhazey Whytheycallhimthat

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Every once in a while you come across an artist who falls outside the box of industry convention; by that I — of course — an artist who doesn’t seem motivated by the basics that have poisoned the soul of the culture. An artist that puts his music first. Brooklyn MC Krhazey Whytheycallhimthat is one of those artists. “A positive change in consciousness has the power to topple barriers almost as easy as a negative change creates them,” he tells AAHH describing his mantra for creating.

If that doesn’t create an immediate sense of urgency for his music, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Off the bat, there is something endearing about his admirable need for not only a purpose but to give back. Early on in his career, he began volunteering his time — and his unique brand of Hip Hop to the 25-year-old Art Start. The program dedicates itself to New York City’s underserved youth, delivering consistent creative workshops inside homeless shelters, alternative to incarceration programs, and partnering youth agencies.

“The program gave me a sense of direction, understanding and a hope for change; real change in myself and my environment,” he says.

 
What I find so cool about his music is the way that it all seems to contrast and compliment itself at the same time. His latest joints are a great example. “Jack Frost” for example has this bouncy ballad behind it, paired with these haunting lyrics that have this almost literal intention of describing this cold-heartedness developed though…well…life. Then there’s “23:5,” which has this almost “Marvin’s Room” feel to it — complete with a call to his ex. But it spirals into this realization that the liquor is a crutch, followed an aggressive assertion of the path before him.

Then the vibe of his latest “Makeda” is a pseudo-love track with hella depth, and again a completely different vibe.

Everything I hear from this kid I like. Even going back to the summer, with his super dope single/video “BTD,” with it’s kind of goofy visual concept.

 
Without being driven by the same old, his music has this certain unspoken originality to it. Even the fact that he rocks an anime-inspired kung-fu headband ends up coming across like DOOM’s mask in a sense. It’s hard not to get into.

And the spirit of giving back, which inspired him to start his own foundation — Young Heroes Undefeated — is an added layer that makes you want to root for him. “We make original comic books for children with special needs and use the profits to send the kids and their families on all expense paid vacations,” he explains of the foundation’s mission.

With a four comic series being released next year — on top of a solo LP and a project from my his Audio Temple — there is a lot to look forward to here. He’ll be launching a kickstarter for his foundation in coming weeks; stay tuned to our Instagram for details on how to support something positive.

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#Indiespotlight: Prototype & Lazarus The Kid’s ”Voicemail” Is A Journey Worth Taking

Duo Prototype & Lazarus The Kid Just dropped a new project, and believe me, it’s worth a spin. On a…

Duo Prototype & Lazarus The Kid Just dropped a new project, and believe me, it’s worth a spin. On a rainy day, I rode around giving this one a fair shake and was taken for more of a journey than I expected. 

The concise EP is immensely musical, with these lush, expansive musical landscapes for Prototype to literally bleed his heart out upon; there is no hyperbole in the emotion packed within these five tracks. Atop soulful samples, energetic drum patterns, and pretty piano keys, there’s a sense of loss and sadness that lingers amongst the celebration and assertion of the dream chase. 

Immediately on the heartfelt “Color,” we’re introduced to demise of a powerful relationship in Prototypes life — one which he gave his all to, and once thought would possibly end in marriage. It’s a loss that is later encapsulated with an emotionally charged piano interlude brimming with a heavy-hearted sense of despair. 

There’s also the loss of Jason Kalinga, who is actually featured “Simba.” The second verse of “Better Way” is a letter to his lost friend, who was another powerful figure in his life.

Amongst the deep moments standing as an endearing open book into his world, there is an incredible sense of confidence; Prototype is chasing the vision in his head — and it’s hard to imagine anyone attempting to detract him from his vision after taking in this project. 

Ending off with the crown jewel, “November 15,” Prototype & Lazarus The Kid position themselves as exciting artists putting out music with not only a purpose  but a strong sense of its emotional connection. They know what they’re doing, and it’s something that hinges more on the artistic merit side of things than the trendy shit. This isn’t for cool points, it’s a therapeutic listen made for longevity. This is a catalog worth keeping an eye on.

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#Indiespotlight: Prototype & Lazarus The Kid’s ”Voicemail” Is A Journey Worth Taking

Duo Prototype & Lazarus The Kid Just dropped a new project, and believe me, it’s worth a spin. On a…

Duo Prototype & Lazarus The Kid Just dropped a new project, and believe me, it’s worth a spin. On a rainy day, I rode around giving this one a fair shake and was taken for more of a journey than I expected. 

The concise EP is immensely musical, with these lush, expansive musical landscapes for Prototype to literally bleed his heart out upon; there is no hyperbole in the emotion packed within these five tracks. Atop soulful samples, energetic drum patterns, and pretty piano keys, there’s a sense of loss and sadness that lingers amongst the celebration and assertion of the dream chase. 

Immediately on the heartfelt “Color,” we’re introduced to demise of a powerful relationship in Prototypes life — one which he gave his all to, and once thought would possibly end in marriage. It’s a loss that is later encapsulated with an emotionally charged piano interlude brimming with a heavy-hearted sense of despair. 

There’s also the loss of Jason Kalinga, who is actually featured “Simba.” The second verse of “Better Way” is a letter to his lost friend, who was another powerful figure in his life.

Amongst the deep moments standing as an endearing open book into his world, there is an incredible sense of confidence; Prototype is chasing the vision in his head — and it’s hard to imagine anyone attempting to detract him from his vision after taking in this project. 

Ending off with the crown jewel, “November 15,” Prototype & Lazarus The Kid position themselves as exciting artists putting out music with not only a purpose  but a strong sense of its emotional connection. They know what they’re doing, and it’s something that hinges more on the artistic merit side of things than the trendy shit. This isn’t for cool points, it’s a therapeutic listen made for longevity. This is a catalog worth keeping an eye on.

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