January 25, 2017

Corrigan Blanchfield is currently working on his brogue. 

Zelooperz has frequently left me kush comatose, Maxo Kream offers a taste of the rush of street pharmacy, but neither has ever put me in a trance until they came together for “Meditate.” Zelooperz is usually very paranoid, displaying heavy influence from his Bruiser Brigade boss and fellow Detroit representer Danny Brown. It’s not exactly relaxing music. His 2016 album Bothic makes Atrocity Exhibition sound like a day a spa day. It’s noise raps that becomes strangely cathartic in a bizarre squeaking and shrieking sort of way.

Conversely, Maxo can be heavily steeped in the real—delirious violence and debauchery narratives that come with consequences. Houston has always been known for screwed-up hooks and sing-song flows, and accordingly, Maxo preserves the city’s spirit by merging old and new. His latest, Persona Tape, has as many Paul Wall features as it does grime beats—one of each.  He’s  collaborated in equal measure with fellow Houstonians and extrcontemporaries like Father and Joey Bada$$.

Once Houston and Detroit connect, the floodgates are open for all manner of odd couple. Both rappers bring their strengths to “Meditate,” cleanly dividing up the song to maximum effect. Maxo delivers a gruff, militaristic hook, providing an essential bedrock for Zelooperz’ freer moments. Z adopts a schizophrenic flow on the verses, giving no more than four bars to any one pattern. Nursery rhyme gas-ups (“Bands on me like a lobster/with Maxo, that’s my mobster”) are intertwined with the new similes for old ideas that are quickly becoming his signature (“your chain sound like wind chimes”).

Combined with the sparse, hypnotic beat, the effect is to blur the listening experience—is this the tenth repeat or the thousandth? Time dilation aside, the delirium is a pleasant one. Amongst the horror, “Meditate” somehow remains an apt title: listen to it for three minutes, or an hour straight.