If we consider the incredible journey that urban music has taken since its early days, shaped by hip-hop pioneers and rebellious rappers, Zeke’s latest music collection, Killing Me Slowly, boldly stands at the cutting edge of where this genre is today.
In many ways, it echoes the essence of those original sounds, capturing the same pulsating rhythm and confident swagger, along with the rebellious spirit and hard-earned creativity that define the genre. It serves as a reminder that music must evolve to ensure its survival. However, while it pays homage to the past, its genuine excitement lies in its forward-looking nature.
Lyrically, it delves into the themes of triumph and overcoming obstacles in the modern world, a subject that has always captivated musicians from these realms. Musically, it weaves together trippy beats, swirling sonics, and layers of electronica, transforming them into captivating and soulful slow jams and soulful grooves.
As soon as the intro plays, you know that this is the work of someone who understands wit and inventiveness to match the groove and melody, and this opening salvo comes across as much as a musical skit as a song. It also shows us his ability with words, the blend of wit and wisdom, the profound and the profane.
And from there, Zeke no so much reinvents the genre but certainly applies it to the modern age; moving with the times is essential, and this is the music of the here-and-now, talking in the language of today and of today’s concerns. So timeless issues, others saying more about where we find ourselves today.
Know The Deal shows right away that Zeke isn’t that bothered about genres, being a fantastic slice of street-edge neo-soul built from neat off-beats, melodic basslines, heavenly harmonies and slashes of deft guitars. And even when he does play the rap card, it isn’t exactly what you might expect based on what everyone else is doing, Parking Lot being a collection of spoken word interludes and rap salvos, strange, downbeat lulls and a backbeat woven from jazz bass lines and urban beats.
Similarly, Dark Side wanders between confident rap deliveries and stranger, darker interludes, with a really interesting intro discussing the place of art in the world and the ability to separate the art from the artist.
Zeke’s work encompasses everything good about contemporary hip-hop and rap, soul and R&B, drawing influence from each and creating a new sound through the fusion of each of these genres and more besides. But more significantly, Killing Me Slowly tells us much about the current sonic landscape while offering a tantalizing glimpse into the future.