A lyrical onslaught from the 96 collective and an assortment of their gifted friends, opening for Fashawn at the Crocodile this past March. Enjoy.
[THE SIX is a regular interview feature on 206UP.COM with a simple format: One local hip-hop artist and six questions. For past editions click here.]
Zar is an up-and-coming Seattle MC who released a seven-song album back in January called Zulu Delta (Mello Music Group). The EP featured production by another local cat named Def Dee (that was this blog gushing about Def’s 2010 full-length collaboration with La, Gravity). Most folks, even inside this region’s boundaries, probably don’t know who Zar is yet, so let this edition of THE SIX be an introduction. I suppose you could qualify him as a throwback-type MC, though that assessment might not be accurate either given his limited run of publicly available material. Just know that Zulu Delta harkens back to rap’s famed Golden Era and succeeds with details by MC and producer that are only possible given a deep understanding of that particular aesthetic.
Let’s start with the basics because I don’t think a lot of people know who Zar is yet. Give a little background on yourself as an artist: your age, where you came up, how long you’ve been rhyming, and where you feel you currently fit in in the local rap scene.
Born in Seattle raised in Renton breathing since 1991. Currently 21 years old. Origin: Zacatecas, Mexico. Rhyming over rhythms for seven years and counting. My intentions weren’t to fit in in the local rap scene, they were to try and reconstruct the image of a Seattle MC. I wanted hip-hop heads from all over the sphere to recognize Seattle for being able to bring something new to the culture.
How’d you get connected with Def Dee?
I met Dominic in Junior High [in] Redmond. Dom and my older brother Rudy were in the same grade, ninth. I was two grades younger. Everything else fell into play after Dom started mixing on his Stantons. I felt as if hip-hop followed Dominic and Rudy, and everywhere they went people around them would be influenced by the lifestyle. All of [a] sudden people at school were B-boys or graph artists, or knew how to rhyme.
Does the Zulu Delta EP firmly represent who you are as an artist? Meaning, do you have a steez that’s rooted in mid-90’s boom-bap, or does your musical personality extend beyond that?
I personally don’t think the EP represents ZAR to the 90[th] power, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the EP or productions. Dom and I just wanted to put the EP out to get heads open to the idea of a new sound, the sound that Zar brings. Lyric-wise I haven’t even begun.
What are your thoughts on the so-called recent revival of Golden Era / NYC-style boom-bap?
When I think about the resurrection of hip-hop I think KRS-One; Steez Capitol (R.I.P); Badass, Joey; Wu still ill; Budden, Joe; Marciano, Roc; Lux Loaded; 5’9, Royce; Crooked i; Kung Foo Grip; Language Arts; and ALCAZAR.
What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle you encounter when trying to succeed as an independent hip-hop artist?
I would say the entire process is one big obstacle until I make it, and even then there [are] going to be obstacles. But if I had to just throw one out there I would say distributing our music on a larger scale.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to announce and/or tease for the readers?
I am currently working on a full length album with Def Dee and hope to complete a full length album with all members from The Nine Six (The96Tape).
Fresh from that other MMG, producer Def Dee and MC Zar with a short burst of that good: Zulu Delta EP is free on the Camp today. Mine ears have yet to hear, but I trust any drums Def touches and, as far as Zar goes, well, you’ve got one of the most capable producers in Town behind you, son.