Live From New York – TONIGHT at DROM

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Nights & Weekends: Mission Accomplished!

Holy cow, it worked!  I thought it would be tricky raising $1,500 in under a month but like Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Indeed, fortune favors the bold.

So, you the contributor/supporter/believer/facilitator of this fine new record shall be happy to know that we are now putting together the final touches on the CDs and t-shirts. I don’t have an official release date for the EP yet; still tackling one item at a time on this release. We are now in the second phase, which is all the back-and-forth dialogue between myself and the outstanding visual artists (Adam LaMonaca, Castle, Dr. Quandary) who are chipping in on the tangible and digital goods.  We’ll also be dropping the video for “Black Cherry” in mid-August courtesy of the guys at 5846 Films (the crew behind the 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers “No Resolution 2” video) then shooting the video for “Full Spectrum” at a pinball museum on SUPER 8 FILM (THANK YOU!) in Asbury Park, NJ.

We’ll be having the official “Nights & Weekends” release party in September here in Philly at World Cafe Live during Kuf Knotz’s Boom Box Collective shows. And a video for the last song off the EP, a D’Angelo cover, probably around that time as well.

Anyway, I gotta buckle down and hammer out these scripts and blow the dust off my Stetson. Thank you once again for making this process unbelieveably prosperous!

Best,

ZR

Welcome to the Holodeck: Event Horizon EP

From Rock the Dub:

It was just about a month ago when the Internets got ignited with the Three Pistol Music Remix of Starkey’s “Holodeck”, featuring lyrical swordsmen Curly Castro and Zilla Rocca setting their light sabers to “murder everything moving”, and commenced to do so. Out of nowhere, the diabolical Zilla Rocca passed a leftfield lazy writer (ahem, myself) the acapella and asked if any producers had the knack to attack it. I sent it out to a few compadres, and the young lions DJ Nappy and Santi Junior gave this a proper THUGSTEP rerub, with Nappy flippin’ a hectic Coki riddim over these lyrics, while Santi plays it interesting with a previous beat of Starkey’s that works well, on a different level. Add these to the maniacal version SixTen turned in? Yeah, you’re basically just reading all of this to get to the download links, yeah? Hard bars paired up with boisterous bass, hitting you from every angle. I hope you’ve got some armor, your Bannertech shields are fully functional, and you have some kind of teleport ready to get you out of here when you can’t stomach it. Everyone’s #musicmonday needs an #eventhorizon, you feel me?

Stream The Holodeck Remixes – Event Horizon EP at Curly Castro’s bandcamp

DL  mediafire | hulkshare | nukeshare

Keep it Live: Tonight at World Cafe

Tonight’s my first actual non-Shadowboxer solo set since 2009. I’ll be doing some jawbreakers from “Bad Weather Classic”, some unreleased stuff, and a few noir classics from the agency.

Please join me for a FREE all ages night of quality hip hop at World Cafe Live from 9pm-midnight for Boom Box Collective with Kuf Knotz and 84, the best live duo in Philadlephia.

Bands, painters, DJ’s, emcees, and burgers everywhere.  Win-win, shallah’s.

A View From Phoenix Part Deux

When you fly to Phoenix in February, you expect to be greeted with lizards, burritos, and margaritas.  Really, anything but the blankets of arctic wind, snow, and soul sucking gloom that typifies the first 60 days of a new year on the East Coast. 

When we got to Phoenix last month, we got rain.  According to the locals, two days of rain is rarer than a GZA guest appearance.  It causes people to panic.  The city is not equipped to deal with precipitation on this level.  Puddles everywhere.  Parking lots become reservoirs.  It’s not like walking by Broad and Market where the rastas sell $5 umbrellas on stands next to incense, bootleg tees, and mix CD’s (still).  No one has an umbrella in that entire town. 

Fortunately, Curly Castro and I once again found comfort in turkey sandwiches at The Main Ingredient, a hip lounge that plays Grand Puba, Pete Rock, Grand Agent, and old Heiro for its dining customers.  Back in September, we feasted with Random aka MegaRan and our host Kevin Murphy from So Much Silence.  This time we debated the joys and pain of Common (mostly pain) with Nocando and Open Mike Eagle with a side serving of Jeff Weiss, all three Los Angelenos who escaped All-Star Weekend to kick it in land of Jared Dudley for our show at the Hidden House.  Below are some pics I took, followed by video from the show.  I do wish I shot video of the bar we hit in Scottsdale — first time I ever heard Insane Clown Posse in public.

Open Mike Eagle

Nocando

Deck the walls with 90's vinyl at The Main Ingredient

Curly Castro, Mike Eagle, and Kevin Murphy at Main Ingredient

Nocando and his retro cola, Jeff Weiss, and Kevin Murphy at Main Ingredient

Click here to see more photos from our first trip to Phoenix in Sept. 2010 

Spit Suicide, Nocando, Curly Castro and Open Mike Eagle freestyle at the Hidden House

Open Mike Eagle freestyle

5 O’Clock Shadowboxers feat Curly Castro “High Noon” live

Ennio Morricone Ain’t Got Ish On Me

After watching this video of Yelawolf doing “Pop The Trunk” minus the beats and bravado, I thought it would be nasty to enlist Larry Estrella aka Larry E, Curly Castro’s engineer and producer of “Da Ingredients” off Winston’s Appeal, to add a live spaghetti western shakedown to our live staple track “High Noon” for our recent appearance on WXPN’s Y-Rock.

You can still download “High Noon” and the other 6 songs we did live at Key Studios in Philadelphia over at The Key’s website.

 

 

Hanging Off a Tiger Heli and Nobody Can Save You

Artwork by Dr. Quandary for World Around Records

It’s one of the first lessons you learn in poker, and you usually learn it the hard way: play poker with a liar, and you can lose your money, your house and even your heart.

And in a town where justice is a game, Zilla Rocca learns that lesson all too well.

Welcome to the Bad Weather Classic EP.  It was here before you were born into this dirty city, and it’ll be here after you’re six feet under.  You’ve got your part to play in it.  And that means going through the razor blocks with the gun under the goose. 

Bad weather is here and it’s never going away.

Stream each track at World Around Records

Download Bad Weather Classic EP here

Rocking Bamboo Floors

“They call it “noir-hop.” And, though I’m not sure what other artists might fall into this emergent genre, I will say that aspiring MCs could take a cue from 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers. The stylish Philly duo of Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro present their music so hardboiled and sandpaper-rough it cuts to the bone.”—John Vettese5 O’Clock Shadowboxers live at Philly’s NPR affiliate WXPN for their Y-Rock in-studio session including a never heard before live version of “High Noon” with Larry Estrella on the spaghetti western guitar and DJ Jim Redz on the tables splashing some Biggie and Dilla on fan favorites.

Download/stream here

Video from this session coming shortly….

Philly Crime in Vienna

I hinted before that 2011 will see me and my friends going every which way with the beats, rhymes, and strife.

The above video is the first step into madness with Dylan, an overlord of drum and bass, and Kitech, his new artist set to drop on Freak Recordings.  “Philly Crime” features myself, Elucid, and Curly Castro.  This video is a live unveiling of the track in Austria, Vienna for Dylan’s Therapy Sessions show (he’s playing Philly on Jan. 14th too). 

The video below, kicking in at 1 min and 12 seconds, is a solo joint I did for Dylan and Kitech called “Straight to Hell”, one of the most twisted and nihilistic pieces of writing I’ve ever scribed.  It’s beautiful, especially for the fiends in Austria.

Weekend Inspiration: Nature, Nas, and Noreaga “Triple Threat”

I had this joint on a Clue cassette tape probably around ’97-’98 after Nore became a hot ticket off The War Report, Nature was solidifying his buzz through Clue freestyles, and Nas had the world gasping for air waiting on I Am…

I’ve heard this ill piano sample flipped on Atmosphere’s “Hey There” off You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having and on the Raekwon & Beanie Sigle joint off Cuban Linx 2 but I’ll always remember “Triple Threat” where I hear those haunting keys sliding around like a bandit on the hood of a hot muscle car.

I was THEE BIGGEST Nature fan at this point.  One of the first bootleg CDR’s I ever bought was Best of Nature & Half-a-Mil (RIP).  Even had a horrendous color copy of their faces as a CD insert.  Shouts to the Record Bar in South Philly for that joint and the bulk of the mixtapes I used to cop in the 90’s.

Anyway, “Triple Threat” is so incredible because you have 3 guys, who I had to assume were homies at the time, really just going in in that specific style most NYC late 90’s emcees wielded: intellectual self-righteous thugs who were articulate yet slick and deviant.  That style of rhyming vanished probably after Roc-a-Fella started blowing up with (on the surface) most materialistic and simplistic styles, but guys like Pun, Prodigy, Nature, Nas, early Jay, Biggie, Rae & Ghost, etc used to namedrop authors and spiritual double entendres in the same breath as murder schemes and Lexus preferences.  “Triple Threat” exemplifies this vocation, especially since all three guys would go on to have rollercoaster careers while styles ranging from reggaeton to misguided “political” rap nostalgia.

Nas was untouchable with his first verse:

“Sex and money go together like techs and nine shells
Swiss cheese and cover it up like Roswell
Cartel, you ain’t seen no iller regime
The Celestine Prophecy, project warrior owns property
Crackers hated it, cops get jealous cause I stay with
The ’98 temporary plates on my whip
The system think it’s not right, a rich thug with a cop’s wife
Cause I’m on, tele-vision and live the pop life
I rock mics, make mills, soundscan sales
One point whatever records, profession is scales
Money’s the root of evil but it make you happy
Don’t wanna shoot my people but still they might shoot me
Cause I talk like Doctor Malachi York
Play the sidewalk, hold the fort, diamond plate chain, gold fork
Get in tune, rich like Ricky from Silver Spoons
Frank Lopez crib, elevators in living rooms”

***

These three guys had a cool working relationship.  Nore was on the The Firm album and got a shoutout on It Was Written.  Nature had his national breakout moment on Nore’s solo (“Banned From TV”) along with “Getting Head in the Whip”.  And Nas needed some new rap homies after his beef with Cormega and his seemingly odd relationship with AZ after The Firm album bricked.

Here’s a few more gems from Nature, Nas and Nore during the mixtape glory days of the late 90’s

Nas & Nature “The Foulness Part 3” (freestyle over “Shootouts)

Nas & Noreaga Funk Flex freestyle

Nature & Noreaga “Magic and Bird”

Nature & Noreaga “Let it Go/Friday Nights” (skip to 1:36–“Friday Nights” is way iller)

And apparently Nore and Nature did a mixtape back in 2008 to promote Nature’s album Painkiller and Nore’s start-and-stop label Thugged Out Millitainment which you can grab most of these joints from over at DatPiff.com for free