“Zilla Rocca Forever” may not have the same ring as “Wu Tang Forever” or even “Donna Martin Graduates,” but the South Illadelphian’s verse over the “Forever” beat from De La’s recent Nike Run Tape, is further evidence why he’s the most rightful inheritor of Aesop Rock and Atmosphere’s abstract rap legacy. Like those two, Zilla’s appeal might be inherently limited to those who shop at Trader Joe’s and once read Kierkegaard in Philosophy 101, but for those whose tastes extend further than Freeway mixtapes, he’s one of the the most interesting and innovative rappers around, one averse to cliche and complacency, and blessed with a rare sense of self-awareness that allows him to admit that he actually shops at Trader Joe’s (if TJ’s Goat Cheese pizza is wrong, I don’t want to be right).
The rap Jack Bauer has laid low since dropping the 5 0′ Clock Shadowboxers album in July, prepping a follow-up Broken Clocks EP (dropping next month) and incinerating an array of beats that remain unreleased. An advance of what’s in store, the “Forever Freestyle” finds Zilla and Has-Lo ruminating on the short shelf life of rappers, aging, and the difficulties of sustaining buzz in the Internet age. The pair have the gift of making rants seem like real concerns, a lost art in an age of emcees bitching about being unfollowed on Twitter. If more rappers following their lead, they wouldn’t even have to go to summer school.