***DON'T FORGET TO SCROLL DOWN AND READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ZOO RASS***
What's up Soul Mates?
I've made a discovery, and I've been dying to share it with y'all.
You've been missing someone from your reggae playlists, and his name is ZOO RASS!!
Let me just put y'all on.
A blended mix of Guyanese and Jamaican background, Zoo Rass is a Dancehall recording artist based in Brooklyn, NYC.
What is dancehall? Quick lesson:
The genre originated in the late 1970s, and has become a popular genre in Jamaican culture. The structure of the genre is call and response. For example, artists like Zoo Rass create music to go with the dances that dancers choreograph.
Zoo Rass's most recent project 'Mood Swings'
really reveals a whole different side to him musically.
There wasn't a lot of the bump and grind feeling until the last song 'Oh Nah Nah', which features Alhaji Currency and HERO. This masterpiece was centered more around subjects like loyalty, enjoying life and honestly, working hella hard to make it to the top. I agree with the title 100% because it gives the project such a great description.
Now with all that being said, I do have to admit that my favorite song is 'Oh Nah Nah' (the bump and grind song LOL). Hear me out!! There are so many reasons why this song speaks to me guys. As always, I'm a huge sucker for instrumentals, and the trumpet and electric guitar on the tracks sets such an amazing summer time mood for the entire song. Zoo Rass's tone sounds like warm and melty butter. The rhythm of his lyrics kept me incredibly entranced and on my toes because I was so excited to see what was coming next. The features he included are also the perfect touch because it all added such a nice change in dynamic.
My second favorite song is 'Happy'. He speaks about being thankful of the position he's in now, and how he takes every day as an opportunity to better himself, work on his craft and take in everything that life has to offer. The beginning of my senior year of high school my family and I went through some pretty hard times. I kept telling myself "it's gonna be ok. Just smile and be happy that you have what you have right now". I would stare at myself in the mirror and speak it out loud like an omen or something. So when I hear this song in his project, I immediately pictured myself playing this song in the mornings right after I wake up. Dancing around the bathroom as I brush my teeth, picking out a bomb outfit to run around in all day and then getting shit done because you know what? Hell yeah I woke up another day to do the things I love! Listening to it right now as I write this article at 9 AM is waking my brain up with this bubbly sense of confidence and bad bitch vibes.
I'm also obsessed with his project from back in 2015, 'The Rasta Prince', which is why it became an absolute MUST to have him featured on NSR. 'Come Outta Mi Way' really emphasizes the dancehall culture, and HELLO I was MOVING! I WAS DANCING! I was JUMPING around in my room so hype!! When it's good ass music, you're gonna look crazy because it just takes this influence over you and you can't help it (I just can't hide it *guess the song reference*).
Zoo Rass, I feel, has a huge advantage over other Caribbean artists because he knows what beats and melodies will get people up and moving. All of his songs make you wanna wine yuh waist and get lit off the feeling he creates for his listeners. He's also a huge influence in New York City BECAUSE he's a Brooklyn native. All summer long you'll hear people bumpin' his music during the cookouts and block parties. He brings nothing but good vibes to the party, and that's period.
I love music that makes me feel good. There's just something about a powerful song that's fun, hype and crazy that sets this awesome mood for your day. Zoo Rass is so good at making music that feels great for the soul. So PEOPLE MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD HIS LATEST EP 'Mood Swings' (honestly just download all his music) so you can feel just as good as we do here at Natural Soul Rhythm and don't forget NSR PUT YOU ON!!
ZOO RASS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Q: Congrats on the release of your newest project, 'Mood Swings'. Talk to me about it! What is the concept behind it? What was the process like? What is something you want listeners to remember after listening to this project?
A: Coming into 2020 I wanted to get a little bit more personal with my music. Usually in my music you hear me talk about love, relationships, partying, dancing etc., but nothing too personal. So I wanted to make something that people can relate to. I thought the mood swings concept was perfect because everybody goes through mood swings. No matter how much money you may have, how popular you are, what social class you might be in you will always have mood swings some way, some how. The recording process was pretty dope. I'm always recording consistently so I didn't intend that these songs were going to be a part of a project at first. I recorded most of the tracks before hand, and then decided to put these four together for this project. I want listeners to take away the messages that each song displays.
Q: How does it feel having your project as #1 on the Ghana iTunes Charts for Reggae/Dance Hall Music? What are some tips you can give to aspiring artists like yourself? What are the things they should focus on and things they should avoid?
A: It is a very surreal feeling to see myself number one on any chart. It makes me proud to see the growth as an artist and that so many people worldwide are tuned in. [There are] four things I always tell every aspiring artist: Work hard, be patient, don't focus on nobody else's plate (because your food will get cold) and create your own lane and manifest it. I think the most important thing artists should focus on is growth. No matter if it's numbers, your stage presence or sound, improving growth should be the key thing. Also investing in yourself and studying the ins and outs of your craft. Artists shouldn't focus too much on what works for other artists, trying to do things to go 'viral' and/or accepting every opportunity that is presented to them.
Q: How did you get involved in Dance Hall?
A: Before I was an artist, I was a dancehall dancer. In the dancehall culture, almost every dance is accompanied by a song. My crew and I used to record songs for our dances that we created. I took a liking to it and decided to trade my dancing shoes for a microphone. I feel like my growth has expanded beyond places that I couldn't even imagine 5-7 years ago. I pride myself on versatility when I create music. When you listen to my music you'll find different tracks fusing all kinds of genres and sounds. One genre that I definitely want to dip into is the Latin genre. It's a lot of dope Spanish artists such as Karol G and Bad Bunny. I'd love to collaborate with a Spanish artist and test the waters.
Q: Who is an artist currently you'd like to work with and why?
A: [There are] so many artists I'd love to work with right now, but if I can just choose one, I'd definitely go with Sean Paul. He's one artist I look up to a lot. He has paved the way for the genre of dancehall. I'd love to collaborate with him as well and pick his brain about music.
Q: What's your favorite part about creating? What's your least favorite?
A: My favorite part about creating is actually sitting down, dissecting what's in front of me and trying to put something together. It can get challenging at times, but that's the beauty of it. To be challenged and overcome it. My least favorite part is when it comes to hooks. Sometimes it's difficult for me to come up with hooks to a song. Sometimes I'll bring in songwriters and/or featured artists to help with that.
Q: Why did you choose the name Zoo Rass? Is there a special meaning behind it?
A: Zoo is short for my real name and I'm a Rastafarian. So it's basically taking the first few letters from my real name and my culture and putting it together.
Q: If you could describe music with one word, what would it be and why?
A: Refreshing!! Especially when you listen to my music. It's different and refreshing. Music as a whole can be refreshing sound wise and just broaden your horizon.