Written By: Fletcher Bonin
I don’t give no fuck” intones Zebra Katz on ‘Pulla Stunt’, the second song off his new nine track mixtape. True to the lyric, it appears that Katz disregards any specific form or convention, presenting us with pure, emotional, sensory music on Drkling. Even the name of the album and many of the titles of the tracks are intentionally misspelled, perhaps further elucidating Katz’s refusal to be codified.
He raps over transient, snappy beats with darkly powerful fervor, each word pronounced clearly and tangibly. As heard on the track ‘Josephine Effect’, his voice is tripping and hypnotic, and often heavily explicit. His voice, often synthesized or deepened by autotune often seems to provide the beat itself with its throbbing bass tones and heavy messages. In particular, the track ‘Lst Ctrl’ (which he clarifies in the song with the lyric “I lost control”) is fueled by his dark, deep, vibrating voice and resonant bass beat, giving special chill to the lyrics “I’m a predator now.” Even the less intense songs still feature almost-tribal sounding beats with trotting drum hits that you almost can’t help but to dance along to, popping and locking with the beat. The sound is abrupt and staccato, and somehow Katz is able to reason beauty out of each bass hit with his lyrics and emphases. ‘
Many of the tracks off the mixtape already have music videos to accompany them, which I highly recommend checking out. Zebra Katz emerged from the LGBT African-American Ball Culture, and this sentiment is infused in all his visuals. Each video, particularly the ones for ‘Blk Wiccan’ (my personal favorite) and ‘Last Name Katz’ feature fascinating colors, sharp angles, omnipotent sexual nature and just all-in-all artistic decisions that supplement perfectly his simultaneously transcendent and subversive style. On the mixtape’s final track ‘Last Name Katz’ the artist’s voice appears to be unadulterated, unlike the other songs in which it is often deepened and resonant. This, I think, along with the placement of his own name in the track’s title shows a certain vulnerability and truth not present elsewhere on the mixtape. The lyric “First name Zebra, Last Name Katz, Middle Name Fucking Whatchu Know About That” off this track certainly underscores the confident, brash, honest nature of song, and further, the mixtape itself.