Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Z-Man's Show Up Finally Shows Up

Ah yeah, six years later and Z-Man's Show Up Shut Up and Rap has finally arrived at my front door. Yeah, Show Up was originally an mp3-only album Z put out through Machette Vox's bandcamp page. But now in 2016, it's been resurrected and pressed up as an actual physical release. CDs can be copped from accesshiphop and probably other places.

At eight tracks, this is either a long EP or a short LP; but either way, it's classic Z. This is the album with "Cupcakin'," the song he had a video for. It's an ill look at adult relationships through the unique perspective of Z-Man, "I'm tryin' to raise hell; you tryin' to raise kids." It's like "Passin' Me By Ten Years Later," with all the frustration and thwarted dreams that implies. It's also got a really ethereal vocal sample contrasted over killer 80s drums; it sounds sick. DJ Eddie Def adds some subtle but slick cuts, too. If Z-Man was on a major, it would've been one of those few hip-hop songs that was huge but still artistically credible.

Most of the rest of the EP is hot, too. Produced by DNAE Beats and Boac, it's a wild mix of old school and trendy contemporary elements, that gives the album a real timeless feel. Eddie Def and his turntable show up on a couple more tracks, too. One or two songs, like the posse cut "Gurp Logo," about their t-shirts, falls a little short. But the MCs are strong enough that you won't actually skip over anything.

But it's the songs where Z-Man really goes in lyrically that are naturally the highlights. "Yell Ho!" is essentially the title track despite technically disqualifying, with Z getting introspective about his career:

"I should be on the road,
But I'm writing you a verse,
Just to let you know it was exciting at first.
Now I'm sittin' here fuckin' dying of thirst
Of my own spit; I need to hear, yellin',
'Show up, shut up and rap.'
They're fuckin' paying me to do it!
Shh, focus on that."

Eddie Def cuts up a couple other songs as well, and Bored Stiff show up on "I Gotta Go." And Boac takes the mic for a verse on "Progress," which is thematically along the same lines as "Yell Ho!" But Z-Man doesn't need help; he always the best part of his albums, and this is him unfiltered and pure hip-hop (as opposed to some of those rock/ dance kinda projects he's done, like One Block Radius or Motel Crew).
And I never blogged about it at the time, but if you missed it, be sure to cop his 2015 album Flea Circus with producer Tahaj the One. It might be an even better disc over all, and it's a crazy concept album, too, where they really follow through on the "flea circus" idea. It's a trip. Not a lot of guests on that one, though White Mic shows up on one song, along with some guy named Shag Nasty. But Tahaj takes the mic a few times and proves himself a capable MC as well. Plus, again, Z doesn't need guests, he stays interesting enough on his own.

And if that's still not enough for you, I have good news. The back of Show Up promises a new album called 6 Pack of Dynamite "coming soon." Sounds like 2016 is gonna be a good year for Z-Man fans.

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