West London's Apex Zero has come a long road to emerge as one of the most impressive new artists in the burgeoning UK hip hop scene today, as he gets set to release his debut solo album "Reality Provoking Liberation" on 28th October 2013.
The emcee & producer, also one half of the city's First and Last crew, started as a young teenager in the UK's garage scene. However it was when introduced to the music of artists such as Dead Prez, Tupac, Wu Tang, Immortal Technique, Nas, Pharoahe Monch, and fellow English artists Skinnyman and Klashnekoff, that he felt a stronger connection to the ethos of what these artists had to say, and to quote the classic ATCQ album, was hooked on hip hop's "Beats, Rhymes & Life".
With fellow First and Last member Omeza Omniscient, they became regulars on the live circuit, first of all as fans, but by connecting with the artists at these shows they became involved as performers.
Still in his late teens, Apex appeared at the renowned End of the Weak and Speaker's Corner events where he'd rub shoulders with many of the city's finest emcees. This allowed him to build with members of Caxton Press and Triple Darkness among others, relationships which remain strong to this day. These performances culminated in his appearance at the World EOW finals in Berlin in 2010.
The essence of Apex Zero as a hip hop artist is reflected in his studious approach. As an emcee, he learned from the greats and developed his own identity and style. In his production, he has allowed his eclectic listening tastes ranging from John Coltrane, Massive Attack, Rage Against the Machine, Motown, Dub and Roots reggae to blend with his hip hop influences.
While studying the musical greats, and in some measure because of them, he took to the books to learn more on historical figures Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and Huey Newton, and studied socialist philosophy, politics and African history. In effect, hip hop instilled the desire to self educate. That self education is now at the core of Apex Zero's philosophy, hip hop his creative extension.
Prior to 2010, First and Last released a series of mixtapes which saw them work with producers Nickel (Lowkey & Logic), Craze & Hoax (Emeli Sande, Giggs), perform with Akala, Lowkey, Dubbledge & Kyza and appear on compilations alongside Terra Firma, Kashmere, Foreign Beggars and M9. With their stock rising, they formed a new group The Pantheonz of Zennla with Seapa, The Aurahkel and Yellow King. Their reputation for hardcore rhymes and shows soon began to spread.
It's a trademark delivery style which has stuck with Apex Zero ever since, fierce and powerful rhymes with intelligent wordplay and subject matter. The new album follows last year's debut solo mixtape "The Pulse of the Awakening". Almost entirely self produced, it features Triple Darkness' newest member Iron Braydz, Hasan Salaam, Amy True of Caxton Press, Invincible Armour (Zulu Nation / DMC) and of course First and Last's Omeza Omniscient.
The self described "Neo-hardcore Tru Skool Hip Hop Emcee" has produced a remarkable first album. It retains the underlying themes of social and political issues over beats which act as a rollercoaster ride to match the emotions. Witness the full-on sensory attack of tracks "Absolute Zero" and "Spray The Roof, the chilled reflection of "Obtain Bearing", and the groove laden "A Meeting of Continents". It acknowledges both the need to express the artist's thoughts and the need to entertain.
This is clearly an important release for Apex Zero, not just as his debut solo album, but as he explains :
"Reality Provoking Liberation" is more than just a title, more than just an album; it is a philosophy - a way of resisting and overcoming the oppression endured by exploited people, a way of bringing about change. We must use the lessons and training acquired by our experiences to induce and inspire each other and ourselves to unify, organize and take our freedom for ourselves, by ourselves. Reality * Provoking * Liberation"
It's a highly impressive offering from a young and gifted new artist who will undoubtedly become a major force on the scene in the immediate years ahead.
"Chaotic Revolt" was launched on 6th August to mark the 2nd anniversary of the outbreak of the London Riots, and an accompanying video was also launched
Can follow him on twitter @ApexZero00
hardcore tru skool hip hop & rap music