‘Those who enjoy freedom now don’t know the taste of it because they enjoy it all the time. Only those who are truly deprived of freedom can understand the meaning of it.’ – Track 4: Power Source (War at Night)
Apex Zero’s first solo album treats us to a variety of features including news snippets, Manga exerts, and scientific commentary to explain government positioning; making any political rookie feel motivated to take action. In short, it’s an education for the masses — anyone who is fighting a social struggle.
Confessed to being inspired by the teachings of Franz Fanon, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey; Apex Zero’s similar message of self awareness, explanations of Pan Afrikan movements/black culture and ideas on justice are placed at the forefront of the entire album. And it starts from the onset. The intro appropriately named ‘Head vs Heart’, for example, plays out a common debate heard in most politically driven circles. By cleverly using exerts of Japanese Manga series ‘Rourouni Kenshin’, Zero interprets the character; Hiko’s teachings as his own message of deceit and destruction when it comes to valuing attack over defence. Whilst we accept society’s lies to attack, ‘hands will be stained with the worst of offences’ illustrating the current political state of the nation when it comes to believing in omnipotent systems such as military intervention and years of colonialism. Libya and the recent debate on Syria come to mind!
Boasting an old-school style vocal sampling from featuring artist Kyra and using classic beats, over ambient piano and violin samples, maintains an austere approach that’s true to the UK’s underground hip hop scene.
We’re also given the pleasure of hearing from main producer and artist OMeza Omniscient as well as Hip Hop mogul Hasan Salaam whose input to identity and culture is mirrored against the retelling of throwing the oppressor through facts about Palestine, the bush administration and Islamaphobia.
Assembling an impressive cast, (even a Japanese vocalist in ‘Obtain Bearing’) ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’ offers a variety of hard hitting hip hop styles as well as more slow paced tracks that all deliver a message of freedom.
The only potential downside is that uncommon/infrequent listeners could misinterpret his passion for aggression, therefore forcing this set towards the hardcore section of the record shop. On occasion the articulation is not commercially aesthetic or what we recognise, but it’s not artificial either. Turning up without synthesisers or electronic inspired vocals, a raw in-depth vocalist that combines a unique graphic novel element, comes as a relief for us old-schoolers who enjoy the occasional glance at Manga animé/comics. A true underground artist.
The solo album by Apex Zero ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’ releases 28th October 2013.
Follow the blog: http://firstandlastuk.blogspot.co.uk/
Download the album: http://www.firstandlastpride.co.uk/
Read the interview: https://www.iamhiphopmagazine.com/kickin-knowledge-an-interview-with-apex-zero/
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