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Posted Feb 16th, 2012 (1:42 pm) by Janelle Sheetz
Zebra Katz wants to read
Zebra Katz wants to read
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Despite the title "Ima Read," Zebra Katz isn't talking about the importance of literacy.

Zebra Katz presents an interesting mix of a kind of electronic, lo-fi hip hop full of the genre's signature beats and raps. His previous release, the mix tape "Champagne," proves that he's at his best when the music is at its busiest, with fantastic layers and almost Balearic beats serving as a 48-minute retrospective of his small catalogue. Also showcased are his slower raps, where the vocals are eerily dark and distorted, most notably on "Hey Ladies" and "Mr. Roachclip," which is also heavier on electronics.

With such musical combinations, Zebra Katz's experience in multimedia and performance art isn't surprising. He is Ojay Morgan, based in Brooklyn, New York. What is surprising is his background: He's studied at the British American Dramatic Academy in London and Parsons School of Design. He is the founding director of the School of Go Go art collective, and his other musical endeavors include House of LaDosha.

"Ima Read" is no bookworm anthem, though. "Reading" is actually an old term for someone verbally insulting an opponent about something that's not obvious to others. While the fact that Zebra Katz doesn't actually want to "take that bitch to college" or "give that bitch some knowledge," the lyrics still wonderfully play with those ideas. The video does, too, with a sharp-dressed Zebra Katz in a classroom and guest vocalist Njena Reddd Foxxx as the typical sexy schoolgirl with some creepy masks thrown in. Musically, the song is Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx rapping over a simple beat, but the remixes all add electronics and speed.

Zebra Katz has a lot to offer with a great variety of sounds and moods. And so what if "Ima Read" is all about insults? At least it has a deeper meaning.

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