Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, MC Zappa is steadily establishing his name as an emcee and producer. This founder of Too Much Phunk Records embraces his out of the box creativity as he is the originator of Bit-Hop, a unique genre fusing together the elements of 8-bit video game music and golden age Hip-hop.
Honing in on his cherished creation, the development of Bit-Hop was heavily influenced by VGM composers such as Koji Kondo, Tim Follin, and Nobuo Uematsu. He also pooled together his influence from Golden Age Hip-hop artists such as Eric B, Rakim, N.W.A, Run-DMC, and Boogie Down Productions. Taking cues from the greats, MC Zappa is now dominating in the realm of Bit-Hop, taking over one record at a time.
The title of this track says it all, “Magic (Sorcerous Phunk),” reigns in true musical funk in a magical way that sparkles upon the old school Hip-hop essence in a generation where the new wave of Hip-hop seems to be taking over. A refreshing sound of exclusivity has us fully engaged while anticipating each vinyl scratch and nostalgic sound effect fused together with the upbeat rhythm of the drums driving this record home. MC Zappa creates “lyrical gold” as he offers up a powerful delivery through his hard-hitting lyricism bringing out witty one-liners as he captures the beloved spirit of the genre of Hip-hop.
Rapping about the enchanted unmatched energy that he brings to the table as a lyrical gift, MC Zappa’s expressions give us life as we ride the wave of his cadences all the way to the end of this record. “I steal the show like a hardened criminal. You’ll feel the flow ‘cuz the bars is lyrical,” sums up this larger than life persona that MC Zappa exudes as he has listeners gravitating toward his magnetism. This founder of Bit-Hop is going places as he continues to reign in fans from far and wide. In a world where originality is key, MC Zappa takes the cake for this creation.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, MC Zappa, and congratulations on the release of “Magic (Sorcerous Phunk).” Such a genius idea as you fuse together two things that you’re passionate about! Could you please tell us about how you founded Bit-Hop?
Thank you! I appreciate it. Well, to be honest, it wasn't so much of a sudden creation as it was a gradual process. I guess you could say it happened...bit by bit (sorry, I couldn't resist!) During the period of time nearly four years ago when I first got into producing and making music, I was enamored by the wide range of possibilities that sampling funk and soul records offered, but still, I wanted something more... A little bit of context---my childhood provided the perfect background for me to be who I am now. My mother loved arcade games like Pac-Man, so she and I would play classics like Pac-Man, Mappy, Pole Position, Galaga, etc. together. She also put me onto a lot of classic 80s and 90s hip hop joints, as well as the dancehall classics. And when I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I used to have this cheap mp3 player that my parents had gotten me for my birthday. My mother helped me load it with classics from Michael Jackson and other great artists, but I absolutely LOVED video game music OSTs and would put music from games like Legend Of Zelda, Star Fox, Super Mario Bros., Super Smash Bros., Ty The Tasmanian Tiger, and others on my mp3 player. My family and peers used to joke that I listened to more video game music than I did "real music! Fast forward 7 or 8 years. I am now just starting to get into production. I like the funk and soul samples, but I want to do something different, something unique. My mind goes back to those earlier years of childhood and listening to those VGM OSTs. So I slowly start to gravitate towards sampling from 8bit video game OSTs. I combine these 8bit samples with crisp and dusty drum breaks, turntablism, and lyricism reminiscent of the classics from my childhood like Eric B & Rakim, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, etc. And the rest, as they say, is history!
What was the creative process like when bringing “Magic (Sorcerous Phunk),” to life?
Well, that's a rather interesting story, actually. I originally had the idea to do a song called "Magic (Sorcerous Phunk)" in early-mid 2018. Although I never had any lyrical content for the song until 2019, the song went through a few sonic iterations before I arrived at what you hear today. As of at least May 1st, 2018, I had an unfinished iteration of the instrumental that featured a scratched sample of Laurence Fishburne saying "prestidigitation" from the "movie Akeelah and the Bee" in the intro, a sassy triangle bassline, noise wave 8th notes, and a chopped drum break from Rick James' "Fire It Up". I originally wanted to have my homie Devil Los from Santa Monica do the cuts on that track, but I never finished that instrumental and therefore there was never anything for him to cut on top of. Less than two weeks after that, I briefly toyed with a version of the instrumental that used a drum break from "I Believe In Music" by the Kay-Gees. Obviously, this didn't work out, but in late September of 2018, I laid down some synth parts that I liked, plus I programmed a fresh new drum break, and I thought "wow, these are definitely keepers". The idea of the track languished for several months, but in mid-April of 2019, I randomly decided to lay down more synths, vocal samples, and cuts, and then I ended up just finishing the instrumental while I was adding stuff. It goes like that a lot for me, and I feel like that's the beauty of modern technology as it relates to music production. Right now I've got hundreds of licks, riffs, and half-finished beats in my computer, some of which have been there since 2017, that I just never have gotten around to fleshing out or finishing. But with the power of DAWs, memory, and hard drives, I can just lay down ideas real quick, and whenever I'm ready I can come back and build upon it. It might be a day later or it might be three and a half years later, but I'll eventually come back to it. So anyway, I'd finished the final instrumental in April of 2019, and not long after that, I created some cover art that, in retrospect, was nothing short of horrendous. Still didn't really have any lyrics at the time; my debut album "It's All A Game" had been released only two months before, so I wasn't all that much focused on writing or recording new material. But sometime between April 2019 and March 2020, I both wrote lyrics for the song and decided to add it to the tracklist of my upcoming sophomore LP "Legend Of Zappa" as a promotional single. And in mid-March of 2020, the song was completely recorded, vocals and all!
What was the ambiance like when recording “Magic (Sorcerous Phunk)?"
I'm not going to lie; it wasn't all punch and cookies. My name is Elyjah, but I'm going, to be frank, now---2018 and 2019 were simultaneously some of the most wonderful and most hellish years of my entire life. In that time, I faced assault, betrayal, harassment, grief over the loss of loved ones, and most traumatic of all, the SAT math section. As I said, it was a very harrowing period for me, but still, it was a period of great growth and development as well. And no matter what was going on, no matter how much stress, depression, and anxiety I felt, whenever I sat down at that keyboard or hopped in the booth, all of that melted and gave way to power and confidence. I remember the vocal recording session for "Magic" was really hype. It's an energetic, lively track, which naturally encouraged me to deliver a fitting vocal performance. And the tempo was much faster than my typical repertoire (120 BPM, to be exact), so flowing at that speed really brought the energy and fire out of me. That one definitely one of my favorite sessions.
In terms of themes and messages, what would you like your listeners to take away from your music?
Love yourself. Know yourself. Learn to nurture and call upon the God/Goddess within you. Don't give up on your goals and don't ever give up on yourself. But most importantly, f**k what society says. Don't let them tell you you're not cool because you don't gangbang, or you don't wear Gucci or Supreme, or you listen to "weird" music. Don't let them make you feel bad because you'd rather chill in the library than go to the mall. Your uniqueness is what makes you beautiful, not your conformity.
What has been keeping you inspired to create music during 2020? What can we expect to see next from you?
Well for one thing, after the lockdowns, there wasn't much else to do! But no, 2020 has definitely inspired me in a couple of ways. First of all, all this madness going on certainly gives me more than enough material. I could write an entire album about the events of this year alone! And secondly, I usually spend a lot of time on the Internet, but after the pandemic, I started to spend even more time on it, which led me to not only start working more closely with artists that I was already connected with, but it led me to start meeting and working with some talented artists from around the world---all without leaving my bedroom! I've been very inspired by some of my contemporaries who've been very diligent and have continued to work on their craft, pandemic or no pandemic. Artists like Ditcee Wisdumb and Drew Mantia inspired me to get back on my beat-making grind and to continue honing my bass/guitar skills, respectively. What to expect next from me? I'm glad you asked! My schedule for the next few years is absolutely jam-packed! For one thing, I will be releasing my sophomore LP "Legend Of Zappa" (which "Magic" is a single from) in 2021, most likely in either late Q3 or early Q4, and will have some very...interesting guest stars. I have another single from that album which will most likely release in Q2 of 2021. It addresses the epidemic of police brutality. In two weeks, for the third anniversary of my first single (and the world's first Bit-Hop single) "The Beast Named October", I will be releasing a never-heard-before alternate mix of the track. I also have a collaborative EP with my very talented friend Hakeem Shakur, which will be released sometime next year. Also, I'm working with a talented cat from Jamaica named Zenati---he'll be behind the boards and I'll be exclusively on the mic. I usually handle production, songwriting, and vocal duties, but it's good to switch things up every now and then. So yeah---there's a lot to look forward to!