California based hip hop artist Zay P, originally from the New Jersey area, wants to move you mind and body alike. While he hasn’t yet released a full length album or EP, Zay P has scored big on a number of musical platforms with songs that carry serious weight in regards to subject matter as well as material clearly designed to push you out onto a dance floor. His facility with both approaches is quite thrilling. Zay P never sounds unsure of himself and the songwriting reflects a certain amount of eclecticism in his musical vision that, perhaps, novice hip hop fans may never suspect. His releases so far have seen him team up with a variety of producers and guest stars, but each tracks remains resolutely Zay P’s and they never venture far at all from his primary aesthetic.
The song “B.T.D.” tackles a number of thorny issues with a vocal from Zay P that navigates through occasionally tricky wordplay with little apparent difficulty. It has a heavy East Coast vibe and doesn’t necessarily seem like a track meant for a night out, but there’s no question that the backing track keeps things percolating from the first seconds onward. “Hit Me Up”, however, is clearly aimed for listeners looking to have a good time. Zay P proves himself equally adept with this sort of songwriting and dispatches the lyric with the same unflappable cockiness characterizing his work on the previous song. “Orlando” pays tribute to the victims of the vicious nightclub attack in 2016 that killed scores of innocents, but makes some time to decry the senselessness and brutality of such a measure. “Made For This” features Darryl Sir’rah and Eddie B joining Zay P for a compelling R&B laced groove track. It’s unquestionably hip hop, but there isn’t any point in these songs when he doesn’t exhibit the singular talent for being able to take his vocal style wherever he likes and make it work.
He slows things down surprisingly for the song “Shot U Up” and his pensive approach gives the track a surprisingly bluesy, haunted quality. Some light percussion soon emerges and adds a bit of urgency to the song. It’s that understated job of building the song and the careful orchestration of its elements that really distinguishes the song. The track’s second half adopts stronger, more strident movement, but everything remains tasteful and highly intelligent. “Take Steps” makes great use of guest star 4K4Y and the cluttered vocal interplay between the two performers gives the song a great deal of intensity, but dynamics once again play a large part. He shows great instincts by the contrasting skewed R&B experimentation with almost ambient passages carried by nothing but his voice.
by Lydia Hillenburg
In Short Words
Criteria - 90%
These are powerhouse hip hop/rap songs assured to continue capturing attention from every quarter. Zay P’s talents are substantial – he is just as home wearing the hat of entertainer as he is that of a serious artist and moves between both realms with dexterity and credibility. As he marshals his resources in order to make his first sustained studio foray, his single releases thus far set the stage for quite a sensation when that initially long form studio release drops.