Rap is about swagger. So it’s very unusual to find an album about giving up. And yet, that seems to be the message of underground rapper Zilla Rocca’s latest album, “Future Former Rapper.”

Let me explain. The Philly emcee has been around for a decade, respected among heads and having a good internet presence, but never quite breaking through. When he started, he was a hungry, scrappy up-and-comer looking for his shot. Now, he’s older. He has a kid. He has a family. He needs a regular income. His friends have gotten busted or disappeared. “Thirty years old and you never had a breakthrough. Now you can’t leave.” What do you do when you feel like there’s more in the rearview than the front? When you feel like everyone is biting you, but you’re not getting the cred for your own ideas?

It’s an interesting concept, and it has me wondering if this is Zilla’s last hurrah? If so, it’s not his best album, but it’s a good one–and it’s very interesting.

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