The day Frank Ocean announced he was a “free man” it was a good day for hip-hop. The final taboo was out. And it looked like the Odd Future crew had confirmed their place at no. 1 in rap’s more progressive, indie end – way out there on the West Coast.
 
But now a new bunch of East Coast MCs are re-claiming it back.
 
Zebra Katz AKA Ojay Morgan is the next in line in a new wave of gay New York MCs, like the cross-dressing Mykki Blanco and Cakes Da Killa, all hot on the heels of the clubs’n’catwalks hip-hop sparked off by Azealia Banks’ ‘212’ last year.
 
Azealia Banks calls in tastemaker producers like Diplo, Hudson Mohawke and machinedrum, and ends up with crossover dance-rap bangers like ‘1991’ that can go off at a Radio 1 weekender or an East London club night. But Zebra Katz touts a radio-unfriendly, darker hip-hop that belongs somewhere between Marshall Jefferson deep house, performance art and European catwalks.
 
Debut single ‘Ima Read’ takes ball culture lingo (think voguing/Paris Is Burning) for the total diss and spins it out into sinister bass mode, with the help of Njena Reddd Foxxx: “I’m gon take that bitch to college/Gon give that bitch some knowledge/Ima read that bitch.” The tune got picked up by fashion designer Rick Owens for his Autumn/Winter runway show, threw fashionistas head over high heels in love with him and now he’s coming to the UK on repeat. He’ll be touring on the same bill with Azealia armed with his own brutal stash of tunes: we recommend ‘Hunter’ and ‘Champagne Cocaine’.
 
 
 
You can stream the Ima Read EP in full here:
 

Zebra Katz- Ima Read (JEFF006) by Mad Decent

 
Watch out for the Azealia Banks x Zebra Katz UK tour starting September 28.
 
Dates here.

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