Here at Berkeley Place, we’ve been supporting Zilla Rocca for years. Beatgarden records’ crew of underground, unusual rappers may not always be perfect, but they’re always surprising. And fresh voices are what we need the most in these days of carbon copy hip-hop and corporate lyrical placement. And I’m happy to say that “Broken Clocks,” might just be the best thing Zilla has ever been responsible for.
Last year’s Slow Twilight was a solid release by the 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers, and fortunately, Broken Clocks isn’t just a bunch of B-sides that weren’t quite good enough for that release. Yes, there’s some remixes, but these aren’t your (Puff) Daddy’s remixes. The music beds, the guest spots, it’s all vastly different. For example, “Bottom Feeders,” one of my favorite tracks off of Slow Twilight, may be instantly recognizable by it’s name and the phenomenal lyrics by the rap Jack Bauer, but Small Professor’s remix makes it pop with an intense urgency that isn’t on the original track. He actually made it better. And the blue collar anthem, “It’s Always 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” chops up Fela Kuti to great effect. This is the song you want to hear in the club, no doubt. You’ll find verses by all of Beatgarden’s best: Elucid, Nico the Beast, and my current fave, Curly Castro (on “Weak Stomach”).
Best EP of the year so far.