Tag Archives: Zilla Rocca

Zilla Rocca: Neo Noir

Zilla Rocca

When I emerged from my hibernation – don’t call it a comeback – one of the first people to welcome me back was Zilla Rocca, Philly’s noir-hop Mad Man.

I’ve gotten to know Zilla a bit over the years, so I feel bad that my inactivity on the site meant not continuing to spread the word about him and his crew. Consider this an attempt to rectify that.

Last year saw Zilla Rocca release Neo Noir, his first mixtape since 2008’s Bring Me the Head of Zilla Rocca, with appearances from his Wrecking Crew mates (Curly Castro and Has-Lo), doseone, PremRock, Elucid and Dewey Decibel.

Without trying to sound cliche, what strikes me here as I dig deeper into Neo Noir is Zilla Rocca’s maturity – a man eager to embrace his 30s and beyond. About 10 years ago, my wife and I bought our first house, despite the fact that I didn’t have the first clue what we were doing. But then one day you’re paying a mortgage, reading about interest rates, walking a dog and calling a Saturday of Netflix binge-watching a damn good night.

It’s great to see this development in Zilla, who is now engaged and in the process of house hunting. I caught up with him – over some quality bourbon –  when he made it out to Arizona with PremRock and Curly Castro for a pair of shows in November, and it wasn’t hard to get the sense that this is a guy who has found a comfortable balance, in his life and music (finding the right partner can do that).

But you don’t even have to be friends with him to see it. It’s all right there in his music. Listen to “2 Dollar Lunches” (featuring Has-Lo) to see where his head is at:

“I want to get the blood stains out with OxyClean /
I want to buy an old slot machine /
Sick of landlords, I want to own property.”

And then: “I save money, one day I’ll be outta debt /
And buy avocados instead of Alpha Bits.”

Another standout is “Never Tell Them You’re a Rapper,” featuring PremRock, a candid indictment of their rap reality. It’s funny because it’s true.

“Hate when people ask me, ‘What kind of music do you do?’ /
I say, ‘hip-hop’ /
They say, ‘Dude … no seriously, what kind of music do you do?'”

Pick up Neo Noir right here, and it looks like we have a 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers follow-up to look forward to in 2014.

Zilla Rocca: Full Spectrum 2 (feat. Has-Lo and Open Mike Eagle)


It was a collaboration that was likely bound to happen, but if bringing Philly’s Zilla Rocca and Los Angeles’ Open Mike Eagle together for a show I put on last February in Phoenix helped hasten the process, then I’m proud to have played some (very) small part in the birth of this jam.

“Full Spectrum 2” is, as its name suggests, a sequel to the original that appears on Zilla Rocca’s Nights and Weekends EP. Zilla and Has-Lo are back for leftovers, and they’ve brought Open Mike Eagle, shortening the gap between coasts with a return engagement from producer Dr. Quandary.

Stream via SoundCloud below:

Peep the video for the original “Full Spectrum,” shot Super 8 – giving it an appropriately vibrant look – in Asbury Park, N.J.:

New Zilla Rocca (feat. Has-Lo): Full Spectrum


In the dead of Phoenix summer, when sweat trickles down body parts unknown, I typically stick to three colors for clothes: white, black and plaid. (Pro tip: Generra Hypercolor is a big mistake.)

Fashion was never really my forte anyway. I strive for boring and functional – I’m content so long as I have a solid pair of adidas. But there’s nothing bland about Zilla Rocca’s rap palette, which is on full display on his new single “Full Spectrum,” feat. his Wrecking Crew cohort Has-Lo with production by Dr. Quandary (World Around Records).

Like GZA’s “Labels” or Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics,” Zilla and Has-Lo flip a three-minute tale full of clever wordplay and imagery from a singular theme – in this case, colors (hence the title).

Stream/download the track below. It will appear on the upcoming Nights & Weekends EP, for which Kickstarter donations are being accepted to help fund physical copies and a Super 8 camera for the filming of a video for “Full Spectrum.”

Full Spectrum feat Has-Lo (prod by Dr. Quandary) by ZillaRoccaNoir