(Photo Credit: Jake Bayer)
Emerging out of Detroit, Zelooperz is one of the most exuberant hip-hop artists out of the city since probably his own mentor, Danny Brown. Styles and trends be damned, Zelooperz has his own bravura that's a jolt of high-energy raps that are not just there to get you hyped but to show you the heart that this young emcee truly is coming with. Wise beyond his 22 years, he already knows of the usual trappings of hip-hop artists in the city of Detroit and strives for much more.
Recently, Zelooperz released his newest album Bothic, an intense look into the soul of the Detroit native that's much more than just a music project, but something that will leave a mark. Produced by the Bulletproof Dolphin crew of Skywlkr, Black Noi$e, Matrax, Lil Skinny & OG Taxx, this goes beyond just a collection of tracks, but a collaborative effort from a group of likeminded friends. I was able to chat with Zelooperz for an upcoming episode of my Fresh Is The Word podcast, and here's an excerpt from it as we talk about how he linked up with Danny Brown and what he taught him and how he deals with haters.
How did you first link up with Danny Brown and the Bruiser Brigade crew?
I hit him up on Twitter like 'Bruh, bruh, listen to my tape'. I didn't know shit about Twitter really. I didn't know shit about music in the world. I was just making music because I liked music. I made this mixtape about my little life that I had so far since I was 16, so I just sent it to him and I would sent it to everybody else. He was like 'Hey, bruh bruh, I fuck with this.' He was the only person that hit me up after I hit him up to work and was serious about me perfecting my craft and being established and leaving a legacy behind and being original. He was the only person that took time to fuck with me, and not only took time to fuck with me, but took time to show me the ropes if you want to say. He showed me first hand. He told me from experiences from when he first started not getting paid shit and still doing shows. Me, having to go through some of the same shit now, or before, I still do it because I know what's due to come. He was the first one show me that I had the future and I just needed to keep going with it.
What was some of the lessons Danny Brown taught you over the past few years?
Listen to music and not only listen to music, make sure your music don't sound like nobody's else music. Makes sure you are speaking from your heart always. Make sure that you are putting something in the atmosphere and the world that's different and be original. That is him. He's the epitome of original. He's like a walking original. I can't say a star because that's not what I want to represent him as. He's not a star. He's Danny fuckin' Brown. There's only one of him. That's what he taught me, to be that. Not just saying I was a follower or something before. I was never a follower, but he taught me how to really kick their ass and be intense and study and work on my craft. He helped me focus my craft. Before, you just rapping and shit. I don't just want to rap. I want to know this shit. I want to be in this shit if I'm going to do this shit. I'm not no rapper either, I'm an artist. If I'm going to rap and I want to be an artist, I'm going to know about this rap shit and finesse this rap shit because I'm going to be an artist with it. I'm going to be original with it. I want to make a mark. I don't want to be bullshit. That's what Danny does, he makes marks all the time.
There is this line that everybody goes to and you really leap over that line by like 50 feet. What goes through your mind when you are thinking about how your music is going to sound or how you are going to be on stage? In your mind, what place are you trying to get to?
In my mind, what place am I trying to get to as far as where everybody expects me in the next few years from now? As far as lyrically or what place in my mind? What do you mean? I'm there! That's what everybody should understand. There's no place in my mind I'm trying to get to, I'm there. Everything happens for a reason. Where I'm standing right now, I'm there in my mind I'm already there. When I think about my next show dates, I'm already there. I already have my outfit on bro. I already have my shoes, my outfit in my head, I'm already crispy, I already killed the show, and I'm done with it. I'm already home bro. It's there. Its done. I know where I want to be and I'm going to do it because its never been changed. I already knew this was coming. I just had to believe it. You got to believe that shit always.
How do you deal with people that come at your negatively?
I don't give a fuck about no negativity! If a motherfucka got something to say negative, they can keep that shit to themselves. That don't apply to me! I don't soak that shit in. I soak in positivity. That's what gets me, positivity. If you saying something negative, I'm ignoring that. Negativity ain't shit to me! Only thing I care about is creative criticism. Negativity can suck a dick. It be funny as hell. It makes me laugh! It makes spaz. Its like juice. I don't do cocaine but its like cocaine. Every time somebody say something negative, I just sniff the line. Just laughing and everything. I can only get better. I'm going to keep going hard. I'm going to keep showing that this is not the regular rappity rap shit. This is some different shit.
Zelooperz new album 'Bothic' is now available. For more information or to buy one of his paintings, visit zelooperz.tumblr.com or follow him on Twitter: @ZelooperZ. Zelooperz has also been added to this year's Movement Festival at Hart Plaza in Detroit this Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), for more information, visit movement.us.