Zebra Katz: “Ish”

Zebra Katz: “Ish”

On Zebra Katz’s hypnotic 2012 breakthrough “Ima Read,” the New York rapper’s booming voice detailed all the ways he can and will cut you down to size, searing the song into memory like an insult you’re still trying to come up with a comeback for days later. With Katz’s magnetic flow and throbbing, ballroom-nodding production, “Ima Read” drove home the overarching message of his glowering club music: You can’t compete where you don’t compare. In the following years, Katz released a few EPs with songs that didn’t stray far from “Ima Read,” and later featured on Gorillaz’ 2017 comeback album Humanz. Still, no album ever materialized, even as Katz’s unfuckwithability remained intact.

Late last year, Katz returned with a sparse pair of new singles, “Lousy” and “In In In,” that pointed to a rejuvenated sense of artistry. “Ish,” the latest track from his newly announced debut full-length LESS IS MOOR, suggests that his time has finally come. Like the shapeshifting club monster “IN IN IN” before it, “Ish” finds Katz intoning at rapidly changing paces over a sputtering, siren-loaded backdrop, this time courtesy of UK producer Sega Bodega. His boasts are caustic, but they come with a tempering sense of humor. “Go off, fuck bitch/You don’t really know ish,” he growls. “First thing, own it/I’m the shit, you the piss.” The menacing, bass-heavy scenery matches Katz’ delivery, slowing down as he breaks into a chorus that insists all he really wants to do is “keep the dance floor jumping and that ass bump-bumping.” Katz sounds energized and in his pocket as the atmosphere shifts to match his speed, making clear that the time spent out of the spotlight has only strengthened his tenacity on the mic.

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