ZotheJerk's passion for reading is what brought him to the rap game as he states that it gave him a, "love for self-expression through words". A run through of 'Black Beach' will show listeners this and then some. This is a rapper who cares more about the significance of words than most rappers these days. His flow may not follow suit of the artists who currently dominate the rap game but his quality lyrics demonstrate his strengths. While artists like Lil Yachty and Young Thug put together over produced tracks with limited lyrical prowess, ZotheJerk puts them all to shame with his well thought out words.
The Detroit rapper wants to help listeners understand what it's like to be black in America. ZotheJerk wants "To give an honest portrayal of the emotional, vulnerable, and triumphant struggles in black America" and on this album he's done just that. "Risk vs. Reward" demonstrates what this record is all about and why underground hip hop will always influence the best artists. ZotheJerk goes in hard on a thumping beat spitting bars like "These n****s ego driven, more concerned with their own exploits, too concerned by egotism". Lines like this are just a small example of what Zo is capable of. The album is full to the brim with impressive lines, smart production from Gamble and exciting features.
Most notably Slaugherhouse's KXNG Crooked features on the track "Whispers in the Wind". The track has the feeling of a banger but the graceful delivery from both rappers adds another element to it. Frost Gamble includes subtle trumpets which back up every line perfectly while the beat is prominent but not dominant. Zo says he wanted, "to make a beautiful moment in hip hop" on this track with KXNG Crooked and the two rappers have combined to produce exactly that.
"Keep Me Safe" is the track that ZotheJerk notes he enjoyed making the most though. Both Zo and Frost's children feature on a beautifully put together piece of work. The lyrics are wonderful, but Frost Gamble's production takes centre stage here. A calming piano backs up the verses while saxophones give an added emphasis to the overall positive nature of the sentiment being portrayed. If someone like Macklemore released this it would have 50 million plays on Spotify - that's how good this song is. ZotheJerk and Frost Gamble have knocked this album out the park and May cannot come quick enough for the world. You can check out my full interview with ZotheJerk below.
What made you want to become a rapper?
ZotheJerk: My passion for reading gave me a love for self-expression through words. My best friend (Shawn Thomas of Normal Change Ministries) actually introduced me to Dana Dane's music. I fell in love with hip hop immediately. I began to write and try to rhyme simple words and structures. Growing up in Detroit you either sold dope, played ball, or rapped. I was heavy into the arts and rapping was something I could just do naturally. Proof made me know it was real and I could great at it. I never looked back after that.
What is the main message you want listeners to take from "Black Beach?"
ZotheJerk: I want listeners to feel what it's like to be black in America. Historically our plight has been one of triumph and tragedy. My main aim with this song is to provide the music of our era. To give an honest portrayal of the emotional, vulnerable, and triumphant struggles in black America.
What was it like to work with KXNG Crooked?
ZotheJerk: When we decided to work with KXNG Crooked I knew we couldn't do just a regular song. I wanted to show case both of our passion for the symptoms of our times. I tried to challenge us lyrically and make a beautiful moment in hip hop. As a fan of KXNG Crooked, I was on pins and needles waiting on the verse to come back, and as expected he killed it.
Frost Gamble has made this record sound amazing - how did you guys get meet and start working together?
ZotheJerk: Frost and I had the same publicist. I had a radio show I was hosting at the time and he was the first person I interviewed. We clicked immediately. We did went to AC3 Music festival in Atlanta, we travelled to Detroit working. Frost is my brother. Our personalities are so similar. We don't force anything it's like its meant to happen. I'm a fan of his work as he is a fan of mine. Definitely a great guy.
What is the track you enjoyed making most on the album? (I love "Drunk Roses")
ZotheJerk: Thank you for that I'm glad you like it. My favorite moment was definitely "Keep Me Safe". I loved being able to be in the studio with my sons and joking and kicking it. We had a blast and they even made an impromptu appearance on the song. Frost's son does the chorus on the song as well. That song is everything to me. It's beautiful.
Although you are part of the underground movement do you ever see yourself rapping on a bigger stage?
ZotheJerk: My vision is to go for number 1. I had been teaching my sons work ethic and about striving for greatness, and Lil Zo asked me why wasn't i number 1 in my music... that was the exact moment things changed for me. He was right why wasn't I number 1? At that moment i knew my mission was to be number 1. So yes I will be taking a much larger stage soon with the same integrity and creativity I proudly carry through the underground.
What's a fun fact about ZotheJerk?
ZotheJerk: ZotheJerk is extremely silly and filled with zest for life. I'm an avid practical joker... so be careful you never know when I might strike, lol.
Written by: Peter Johnstone | Twitter @9PniJ2
Black Beach releases on 22 Entertainment on May 26th 2017.
iTunes pre-order link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/black-beach/id1210542439
Twitter: @TheJerkNation @FrostGamble
IG: @ZotheJerk @Frost.Gamble
Joint Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/zothejerk.frostgamble
Stream of single Risk vs Reward ft Sadat-X
Black Beach Track List
(All tracks produced by Frost Gamble. "Keep Me Safe" co-produced by S.One)
1. Welcome To Black Beach
2. America Made Me
3. My Negus ft. Guilty Simpson
4. If ft. Boldy James
5. Drunk Roses ft. Coko Buttaflie
6. Blaxploitation ft. Eveready & Young Bleed
7. Loyal Victims ft. Dustin Davie & Eveready
8. Risk vs Reward ft. Sadat-X
9. Kill Everything Moving ft. Tone Chop
10. Mother Of My Child ft. Dustin Davie
11. Whispers In The Wind ft. KXNG Crooked
12. Etch A Sketch
13. Keep Me Safe