The wicked tight and smartly written hip hop emerging from newcomer Zay P will surely land him on the map as one of hip hop’s most promising new talents. While he has yet to release a full length studio album or EP, Zay P is rather prolific releasing Internet only songs on platforms like Soundcloud where his style and approach have proven quite popular. This isn’t your typical rote performer in the genre. His lack of full fledged studio releases has been no hindrance to him working with some of the most talented forces in the genre. Recognizing a major new talent, the contributions of producers and guest stars to Zay P’s songs further elevates them and bestows a little reflected glory on the New Jersey native. His emerging status has, as well, proven no impediment to his song receiving the first class production effort that they deserve. He tears through a variety of musical styles, some quite surprising, and boasts an across the board sonic excellence that belies his indie status.
“B.F.D.” has hard hitting mean streets swagger akin to what listeners would hear in a rock song. Despite its hard-hitting approach, Zay P never embraces a heavy handed take and, instead, the track remains light on its feet and seems to inspire him towards an even more energetic vocal. The latest guest star listeners will encounter on a Zay P track, Darius DeFour, brings an added energy to “Hit Me Up” that sets it even further apart from the typical lusty hip hop song. While his street credibility is never in question, Zay P brings a decidedly more cerebral style to his music than what other might expect. The mood sours with the following song “Father’s Day”. Zay P shows considerable bravery facing down the familial demons of his past with a measure of bitterness and forgiveness living side by side in his heart. The musical backing is ideal for his brooding and never reaches a melodramatic pitch.
“Orlando” has a deft touch and escapes spouting off the typical assortment of clichés and well meaning banalities often marring these tributes. Zay P’s lyrics and delivery take an unsparing, but sympathetic, look at the tragedy itself and the aftermath. He turns towards the majestic with the song “Zay You Will”, but once again shows the same even-handed artistic touches that mark his songwriting as being several rungs above the typical genre offerings. “Shot U Up” is an excellent and offbeat offering that finds Zay P exploring tempo changes while still deferring and paying proper attention to the very elements that have in the game to begin with. The assortment of material he’s produced at the beginning of his material sports a quality that much more experienced performers envy to maintain. There’s technique and inspiration galore in these songs. Moreover, Zay P shows tremendous potential for growth – there is, seemingly, no approach too genre-defying to deter him and these sort of boundary smashers are exactly what the hip hop genre needs.
9 out of 10 stars.