Delaware-based rapper and producer ZekeUltra mixes hip-hop, ambient, jazz, and blues using samples from worn-out sources - or treating them to sound as such. The music on new LP (The Power of) The Will of Man is laid-back, fuzzy...and warrants time being spent with it. Features production by Yonqi. On the ever-reliable Home Assembly label.

Limited Vinyl LP £17.99 HAM022R

Limited edition red coloured vinyl LP on Home Assembly.

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Limited Vinyl LP £13.99 HAM022B

Limited edition black vinyl LP on Home Assembly.

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(The Power Of) The Will Of Man by ZekeUltra
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Tommy WM 25 March 2020

ZekeUltra’s latest album impressed on the first listen. Beats and production as lucid as on ‘(The Power Of) The Will Of Man’ are rarely heard in hip hop, but have recently come to fruition in the past decade thanks to original forces like Lil Ugly Mane (in particular his ‘Oblivion Access’ record) and Earl Sweatshirt. Raw and lo-fi hip hop has been around since the days of Memphis rap and horrorcore acts such as Three 6 Mafia, and has recently found a spot in the mainstream with the rise of SoundCloud rap and ‘trap metal’. ZekeUltra’s music however strays away from aggro-trap and the Halloween rhymes of Three 6, instead opting for dusty production with a dissociative atmosphere.

The production on show lends to the album’s unshakeable ambience. Beats are plundered from obscure jazz, soul and electronic records which sound like they’ve either been played a hundred times before or discovered in an abandoned attic. ZekeUltra spits over the beats with sturdy yet laid-back prose, mirroring the temper of the instrumentals as they play. The cycle of the moods is impressive; luring you in with its hauntological psychedelia and the smoky dark ambient of The Caretaker, switching to vintage soul which sounds like RZA beats played at half-speed, then delveing into Madlib-esque abstract funk and jazz by its final two tracks.

We have a few boxes of free-to-take recycled records in our lobby at Norman Records, a weird selection which mainly consists of vague church music, charity shop fodder throwaways and 90s piano house. After listening to this record for the third time, it’s easy to comprehend that ZekeUltra and producer Yonqi would have no trouble in composing a compelling album with just these obscurities at their disposal. ‘(The Power Of) The Will Of Man’ brings to mind forward thinking modern hip hop musicians like Earl, MIKE, Milo and Quelle Chris, and ultimately shows that rap music is a constantly evolving genre which continues to delight with its infinite possibilities.



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