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Stream Zilla Rocca and Small Professor’s debut Career Crooks album, Good Luck with That

Career Crooks | photo via careercrooks.bandcamp.com

Individually, DJ Zilla Rocca and producer, Small Professor have been crushing it for years. Just imagine the dream of utter jams that a collab could produce. You have that beauty pictured? Okay, great – now throw that imaginary concoction out the window because there actually is a real, live duo debut from Rocca and Professor, and it most likely exceeds even your dreamt up wildest hopes. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Zilla Rocca shares new noir-hop single “Lemon Drop”

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Zilla Rocca | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist

Zilla Rocca goes deep in the weeds of noir-hop on his latest track “Lemon Drop,” a standalone single from the local rapper/producer. Zilla’s always been into the darker side of life (see 2014’s No Vacation For Murder and his general pulp fiction-inspired aesthetic), and this track has a pretty solid lineage along those lines.

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Zilla Rocca shares his Top 5 Overlooked Remixes in Philly Rap Lore

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Zilla Rocca | Photo by Laura Lynn Photography

Local rapper / DJ Zilla Rocca loves remixes. He loves listening to them and he loves creating them. In fact, Zilla flexes his remix skills on his latest project Anything I Touch I Bruise Vol. 2, a 16-track effort of reimagined cuts from Curly Castro, PremRock, and more. Talking about the collection on Facebook, Zilla wrote:

The reason I love remixing songs is because I like the challenge of working within a finite frame in music: “you can ONLY do this at a set tempo with this voice, and these are the sounds that have already been used.” I also love the challenge of trying to wash the original producer! Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t but it’s always an exciting challenge of “Can I even do this better than what’s already been done?

To spread the love, Zilla chose his five favorite Philly-related remixes to share with us; read what he has to say below, and download Anything I Touch I Bruise Vol. 2 for free on Bandcamp.

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Philly rapper Zilla Rocca does his best Kanye impression, interpreting “Wolves” from The Life of Pablo

Zilla Rocca | Photo by Laura Lynn Photography
Zilla Rocca | Photo by Laura Lynn Photography

As you may have heard, Kanye West is still tweaking his newest album, The Life of Pablo. He recently tweeted that the record is “a living breathing changing creative creative expression,” and he’s sticking to his word: just two days ago, he updated “Wolves,” adding contributions from both Vic Mensa and Sia. Such is the advantage of never releasing a physical copy of your record, it seems.

Meanwhile, back in Philly, DJ and rapper Zilla Rocca have been working on their own edits of “Wolves.” The MC just released his new version of the track, “The Wolf of Wolf Street.” Continue reading →

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Philly rappers Dewey Decibel and Zilla Rocca collab on “Cappuccino”

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Dewey Decibel | photo via facebook.com/deweysdope

The collaboration of Philly rappers Dewey Decibel and Zilla Rocca is the sound of transforming psychedelic poetry. The beat-thumping duo dropped their collaborative EP, A Different Drum, on Jan. 26 through World Around Records. Decibel and Rocca’s rap game is serious, but they still aren’t afraid to have fun with tracks like “Cappuccino,” in which they throw some poetic justice to caffeine. Continue reading →

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Zilla Rocca & the Shadowboxers bring noir-hop to life with video “Starvation Hour”

Zilla Rocca
Photo via www.facebook.com/zillarocca

Philly rap crew Zilla Rocca & the Shadowboxers have brought Zilla’s self-styled genre rap-noir to life with the release of new music video “Starvation Hour.” The track preaches the gamble of taking part in the competitive music scene with lyrics “It’s like rolling snake eyes with Dr. Fate”, but according to this Bob Sweeney directed video, there was no competition. Rocca is the last man standing. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Elegant Animals at MilkBoy, Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro at The Fire, Onelinedrawing at First Unitarian Church and more

Elegant Animals | Photo by John Vettese
Elegant Animals | Photo by John Vettese

They’re the kind of band you can’t quite categorize. Philly’s own Elegant Animals has a bit of every genre rolled into a singular style. Just a few weeks ago, they showcased that unconventional sound during their Key Studio Session. Check them out tonight with Kate Faust and Minka at MilkBoy. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and the $8 tickets can be purchased here.

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Curly Castro’s latest EP spits out rhymes with heart

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/curlycastro
Photo courtesy of facebook.com/curlycastro

If you want a clear depiction of what modern hip-hop sounds like, take one listen to Curly Castro‘s EP Brody.

Castro’s got an incredible talent of espousing socially-conscious ideas while spitting out rhymes with impeccable energy. Throughout the EP, guitar samples and movie dialogue overlap powerful lyrics, making it irresistible to listen to all six head-bobbing songs.

You can catch Castro with his producer (and fellow MC in the Wrecking Crew) collective, Zilla Rocca, Saturday April 19 at The Fire. The show starts at 9 p.m. and the $10 tickets to the 21+ can be purchased here. If you want more of Castro, check out his The Key Studio Session this past September, at or his solo show a bit away on June 14 (also at The Fire).

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Zilla Rocca paints his thoughts in a trippy new visual for “Fake Surfers”

Zilla Rocca | Photo via www.facebook.com/zillarocca
Zilla Rocca | Photo via www.facebook.com/zillarocca

Zilla Rocca‘s translates literary values of mood and setting, and immerses them into into his own new genre of rap music known as “noir-hop”. We’ve witnessed this in action with “17 Days in VA” from his 2013 Neo Noir mixtape and today in his new video for “Fake Surfers”.

As Zilla mourns his city’s shortcomings and dissatisfaction with society in the track, the image of his face remains static while other graphics intersperse in a variety of colors that create a dream-like effect; the dream he can’t wake from. The new track will appear on his forthcoming  with The Shadowboxers, No Vacation Murder. According to its Bandcamp page, this song and story fits into a larger plot line based on revenge. Watch below.

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Spend “17 Days in VA” in Zilla Rocca’s new music video

Zilla Rocca | Photo via www.facebook.com/zillarocca
Zilla Rocca | Photo via Facebook.com/ZillaRocca

Local rapper/producer Zilla Rocca released a new video for “17 Days in VA”, a track from his new Neo Noir mixtape. We’ve followed Zilla for a while here on The Key, but to bring you up to speed, he’s the self-proclaimed originator of “noir hop”, a subgenre of hip-hop that focuses on storytelling and crime. In a way, Zilla Rocca is using a unique literary style to depict stories of what happens in the streets. Check out the clip below, and get a download of Neo Noir here.