Words by Michael Mahon
Before Diggy mania hit there were a bunch of other kids rapping that had a connection to Rev Run. Those kids would be Team Blackout, the group spearheaded by Run’s oldest son JoJo. While the group hasn’t really popped off yet, they did manage to create a nice buzz among the industry. According to founding member and sometime guest star on Run’s House, Zach89, the group has decided to take some time to focus on solo projects. He took some time to explain his own solo situation and what his and the group’s future plans are.
What’s going on with the whole Team Blackout situation?
Right now, basically we’re still a group and doing the group thing, but we thought it would be good to do our solo projects to give everyone a chance to get to know each one of us individually. That’s what’s basically going on with us at the moment; we’re all working on solo stuff. For me, I’m working on a mixtape and dropping my mixtape called Rhapsody, at the end of the year, and I’m going to come out with an album sometime in 2011. Right now we’re just all working on our own albums.
What’s your label situation looking like right now?
Right now I’m working independently; I’m not signed to anything. I’m just trying to develop a buzz, get the buzz bigger and put out music to get the name out more and see what happens from there. I’m open to any kind of situation as long as it’s a good situation.
How is your individual music going to differ in style from the music that Team Blackout puts out?
My music is going to be different on the fact that production wise I’m adding a bunch of different musical elements into the production because I play the drums. I’m a jazz drummer and I study jazz performance at City College in New York, so I’m basically taking a lot of jazz music and other genres of music as well and mixing it in with the hip hop stuff. As far as the lyrical content, I think I’m going to do it different from what people have heard from Team Blackout. We did a lot of radio friendly, easy listening club songs, but I’m going to get a little more in depth lyrically and show my lyrical ability is much more than that.
Jazz isn’t really something that’s too big in a lot of today’s hip hop, how has being involved in it affected your own music?
Being a jazz drummer has helped me a lot as far as how to approach songs, how to write songs and dealing with rhythm and counting bars. I feel like it’s given me a big advantage as far as working in hip hop. Jazz music is such a complicated form of music just from the way that it’s designed and the musical theory behind it. To have some kind of understanding of jazz music makes it so much easier when it comes time to work on my rap music and I think that it helps, so I’m definitely putting that together with the production of my music and its going to give it a whole completely new sound that hasn’t been done in awhile.
So what are your plans for the mixtape?
I’m basically working with a bunch of up and coming artists and producers, but no big names as of yet, so we’ll see what happens. They’re all artists and producers out of New Jersey, and some artists overseas in the UK and different producers out there too.
What are your thoughts on the whole live instrumentation?
It seems like a lot of artists don’t use it on the album, but I’m seeing it a lot more in live performances. I don’t really know why that is though. I guess maybe they might just want to keep it to the traditional way of making music with just the track, beat, and vocals.
You and Team blackout are bound to catch some flak for getting your start on a reality TV show, but what do you think it’s going to take to quiet the critics?
I think it’s just going to have to be making hit music that everyone can gravitate to. I think once they hear the music and hear what I’m talking about and how I’m going about making it, it’ll change a lot of people’s minds from what they thought originally.
Even though everybody’s working on their own solo projects can we still expect to hear some collaboration between the Team Blackout members?
Yea we’re still working together and doing music together. We still go into the studio every now and then together. We’re more focused on the solo stuff, but you’ll still be seeing Team Blackout together and hearing collaborations. They’ll still be on the album and the mixtape.