It is not often within the hip hop realm that an artist mixes honest and eloquent lyrics, smooth and poignant vocals, and an immaculate ability to flow like water. Kalamazoo Michigan native, DeLaZoo, achieves what few in this industry have done within the past 10 years; he has created a classic self-produced debut EP with features appearances from legendary MC Masta Ace and label-mate Pav Bundy. This just may be a recording album that hoists DeLaZoo into the forefront and sheds some light on a hip hop talent that has been waiting to explode.
A trained classical pianist, DeLaZoo (Devin Harrison) started re-making the Dirty South and R&B beats he heard on TV at the age of 9, and would later branch off into making his own. Throughout high school, DeLaZoo casually dropped remixes and originals on his YouTube page, leading to him opening for major acts such as J. Cole and Royce da 5’9, and talking calls from labels, all still in high school. This ultimately led to him signing a development deal and moving to West Hollywood, CA after he had graduated high school.
However, a year later the deal had produced only creative differences and strife with his failing management team. During the process of moving out of L.A. and back to Michigan, DeLaZoo had been contacted by an affiliate of the label, stating that his music had reached the hands of none other than New York hip-hop veteran Masta Ace, who was interested. DeLaZoo was immediately onboard, which has led to him crafting this 7-track debut project called “The Waiting Place”.
And DeLaZoo did not let the chance go begging. He has grasped the most elusive embodiment of hip-hop music: the crafting of a perfect recording. The display of skill, material, production, and timing puts this piece into another category altogether – and that is saying quite a lot! The genres’ roster over the years has seen some truly amazing and encouraging offerings from veterans, budding talents, and rookies, many of which have reinvigorated Hip-hop. Many others of course have failed and taken the genre down to its lowest limits ever. I have to admit there is something very different about “The Waiting Place”.
Nothing is more boring than an album or EP full of beats, however hard, all sounding exactly the same, without range or creativity. DeLaZoo actually has soul, folks, and that is why production goes through the various moods experienced on “The Waiting Place”. From the sublime opening track, and leading single “Not Around” – we have a series of recordings where the DeLaZoo has balanced all of the necessary elements: confidence and strength, subtlety and nuance, melody and message, persona and depth, pathos and inspiration, vision and timing, self-expression and social commitment.
Are those not attributes that we hope to find in new releases? “The Waiting Place” sounds like a distillation of all those perspectives put into a style and wordplay that is exhilaratingly introspective. Just listen to “Ordinary Love”, “Chase Scene”, “Things May Fall” and “The Mission (ft. Masta Ace)” for confirmation. So, while looking forward to reaching for the bar raised, these words are written not as fawning flattery or out of sugary sentimentality, but rather as salute to a potential future legend of the hip-hop culture.