Unceasingly putting forth entrancing melodies that defy modern-day production techniques and sprinkle in the soulful passion dripped in the nostalgic golden age of Hip-hop, MC Zappa steadily infiltrates our airwaves with his bit-hop creations.
Residing in the vivacious city of Atlanta, the rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist flaunts his intricately crafted skill set as he continues to bring together a global fan base.
Taking the speakers to a place where the conscious tones radiated in his verses act as a public service announcement, MC Zappa strikes our minds with his latest single, “Call The Law.” Focusing on the racial biases that continue to float amongst the universe, MC Zappa uses his platform to elevate the voices of BIPOC individuals everywhere.
Approaching “Call The Law” in a bursting force field of nostalgic hues, the old-school Hip-hop that drips from this song is expressive and reminiscent as it takes the foreground in what some deem the saturated melodies we hear in the genre today. With his artistic versatility glimmering in the instrumental framework that solidifies this body of work, we admire his ability to build upon a buoyant instrumentation with such conscious lyrical motifs.
Every word offered in this song exposes a cold hard reality that some are still turning the other cheek towards. That’s why the importance of the message that MC Zappa conveys sits heavily in our hearts as we are standing in unity with his voice and how he chooses to project it. Brilliant with his imagination, we hear the embodiment of MC Zappa shining in the influential grooves of “Call The Law.”
We admire the message that you etch into the powerful single of, “Call The Law.” With the subject matter that you speak of affecting the lives of many people for generations, how did you know that now was the time to release this track?
Honestly, I really can't even say for sure how I knew. To quote the late great MF DOOM, "I could feel it in my melanin; it's compellin'". Now keep in mind, I had recorded "Call The Law" between July 2018 and April 2019, way before the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders. For a time, I had briefly entertained the idea of releasing the song in June of last year, when this issue was really in the forefront of public consciousness, but I thought it may have been in bad taste, so I didn't. I didn't want people to think "oh he's clout chasing, he's just putting out a song against police brutality because everybody else is talking about it right now". So yeah---I can't quantify it logically, but something in my heart of hearts just told me that now was the right time.
You truly tapped into the old-school essence of Hip-Hop on this song. Could you please take us into the creative process of “Call The Law”? Did it vary for the regular creative process that you take into your creations?
It's funny you ask that. In retrospect, the creative process for "Call The Law" was, in some ways, quite similar to that of "No Preacher", a track I released in 2019 that was also a single from my upcoming sophomore LP, "Legend Of Zappa". As far as the instrumental side, it was really quite simple. One day in July of 2018, I was just playing around in my DAW, trying to create some loops from scratch that sounded like actual 8-bit VGM samples. At some point, I hit upon a simple 5-note triangle bassline riff, which I then paired with a noise drum loop and a single square wave note. I remember at the time I thought "huh, this might be nice", but I wasn't over the moon about it. I just saved the loop and filed it away, thinking it might be nice to use in a track at some point.
As far as the lyrical side, I remember very clearly how that came about. In 2018, it seemed like every day, I couldn't look at the news without seeing multiple stories about black folks having 911 called on them while they were performing perfectly mundane and everyday actions. "White Woman Calls Police On Oakland Family For Barbecuing In Public Park". "White Woman Calls Police On 8-Year-Old Girl For Selling Water Without A Permit". "Black Yale Student Has Police Called On Her For Napping In Common Room". And I'm just like damn...this is crazy! Now I had wanted to write a song about police brutality since late 2017, but reading all those headlines every day was what really lit a fire under me. So some of those thoughts I had in 2017 just kind of coalesced with my opinion on the spate of fraudulent and offensive 911 calls, and before I knew it, I had three verses written.
The final construction of the instrumental was really quite simple; I went back and listened to that 8-bit loop I'd made in July 2018, took it and added this funky fresh drum break I'd dug from the crates that year, and then I had a basic skeleton. All told, the main instrumental probably took no longer than, say, about 10 minutes. But I'm a perfectionist, and so I had to add in little details and parts that would add character and flavor to the track, which took about an hour or so, I think. See, I encounter so much data and information over the course of every day that I don't have time to process it all, so I think "oh this might be nice to use for something", and just write it down for later. That's why I've got like 100 or so pages of Notes on my phone; I just jot stuff down (lyrics and sample ideas) so I can sit down and think about it later. So I had a bunch of concepts in my notes in no particular order that I pulled from when I sat down to make the track. Some of them worked; some of them didn't, and were subsequently left on the cutting room floor.
How do you find that “Call The Law,” holds up to other releases listeners can explore in your music catalog?
I think it holds up very well! I mean, I didn't really set out to make a flashy track or do anything really fancy---my intent was to send a message. The production is paradoxically simple yet very rich, which is a description that could honestly apply to various tracks in my repertoire. And as far as the lyrical content, be it fortunately or unfortunately, it is very topical, and is, as my more serious tracks go, the most likely to be strongly meaningful decades from now. But you can't possibly know how much I want this song to become irrelevant in the future. I know, that sounds very strange for an artist to say about his work. But if it's the year 2071 and this song still accurately describes the relationship between law enforcement and the black community, then that means society has still failed us.
As an artist, the message that is sent out is vital. How do you hope this song is received by your fan base?
Yes, I agree with that about the message; it is very important. To quote one of my favorite novels, this isn't about a good job; this is about my people's pain. To my listeners who are unaware of the horrors of police brutality and the centuries-old evil that is systemic racism in America, I hope this song serves as a wake-up call, or at the very least a jumping-off point to start educating themselves about the things that America prefers to sweep under the rug. The skeletons in the closet, if you will. To my listeners that are all too aware of this sordid reality, I hope that this song serves two purposes: to let them know that they are not alone and that their stories are not forgotten, and to inspire them to fight---mentally, physically, and spiritually---to end this hell.
What can we expect to see next from you?
2021 is a very busy year for me! Firstly, at some point this year I will be releasing a new remix of "Call The Law", which will mostly be titled the "Unreal Mix". See, a lot of people still don't believe that this is really happening. They're either ignorant or in denial, but either way, they don't believe that there is a need for any change or more accountability in the way law enforcement conducts itself. So that mix will address that aspect of how this whole thing is still kinda "unreal" to a lot of people.
I've got a collaborative EP with my colleague Hakeem Shakur which we're calling "The Game Has Changed", which is currently in the works and will release sometime this year, most likely in either late Q2 or mid Q3. There's also "New Dimensions", a collaborative LP with my eclectic producer friend Zenati, whose release date is still TBD.
"Call The Law" may or may not be the final single from my forthcoming sophomore LP, "Legend Of Zappa". But if it's not, then the next and final single from the album will be a song about the beauty and politicization of afro-textured hair. Yes, and of course the full album will be releasing this year, most likely in Q4. I've been working on it for quite a while now, and I really can't wait to finish it up and unleash it upon the public. And I have to say, I feel very lucky to have brought on board [REDACTED], [REDACTED], [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], some of the greatest names in hip-hop, for that project. So yeah, stay tuned---whatever I drop next, it'll be a sure shot!