Californian pop-punk legends Zebrahead are back with their eleventh record ‘Brain Invaders’ that shows that they can still pen tracks to compete with the rest after 24 years of being a band.
To celebrate the rap-rock legacy of the band, we caught up with lead vocalist Ali Tabatabee to talk about his top five favourite rappers, and even threw in a few recommendations for us.
5. ICE CUBE
I first started listening to hip hop in junior high school. N.W.A. was the first group I really got into. I loved Eazy-E and Ice Cube‘s voices. I would have to pick Ice Cube over Eazy-E only because Ice Cube wrote a lot of Eazy‘s lyrics. I love the aggression in his voice and his lyrics always told great stories. In my opinion, he had the best rap diss track when he did ‘No Vaseline’ from his ‘Death Certificate’ album, and I’d say that’s my favourite song by him.
4. LIL WAYNE
At first I didn’t really get into Lil Wayne. I think mainly because he had so much hype around him at the time. But after listening to all his albums, I couldn’t help but to become a big fan. He’s got a very unique voice and his rap style was different than anybody else. I feel like he revolutionised rhyming styles and a lot of young rappers today imitate him. He also brought hip hop and skate culture together not unlike the Beastie Boys. I’d have to say one of my favourite songs by him is ‘Go DJ’ also featuring Manny Fresh off of ‘The Carter’ album.
3. KENDRICK LAMAR
I think he is the most talented of the new school of rappers that have come out in the last decade. His rap style is very unique and he brings a lot of melody to his rhymes. I also really like his political messages and his music videos as well. My favourite song by him would have to be ‘Humble’ off of his ‘Damn.’ album.
A Tribe Called Quest is one of my all time favorite rap groups. Q-Tip lead the way with his jazz influenced rhymes. I also really liked Phife Dawg‘s style and lyrics because it complimented Tip‘s vocals so well. I think Q-Tip has one of the smoothest rap deliveries of all time. Combine that with his clever rhymes and I think you’ll find he’s one of the most respected rappers to ever pick up a mic. I really like the song ‘Verses from the Abstract’ from their ‘The Low End Theory’ album.
1. BEASTIE BOYS
Beastie Boys were by far the biggest influence on me in rap music. I grew up listening to ‘License to Ill’ as a young kid and loved their “don’t give a fuck” attitude. It was cool to watch them become more socially and politically active artists as they matured. They also rapped about everyday things I could relate to living in middle class suburbia. They created a whole style that included not only their music, but the way they dressed and the attitude they lived by. Not only did they have awesome lyrics that intertwined between the three different rappers, but they had the coolest samples and music behind their rhymes. They started as punk rock kids from NYC and ended up one of the most popular hip hop bands ever. I love the song ‘High Plains Drifter’ from my favourite album ‘Paul’s Boutique’.
Zebrahead‘s new album ‘Brain Invaders’ is out on March 8th, via MFZB Records, and you can download the record from iTunes here.
The band are over in the UK to play Download Festival on June 14th 2019.
You can keep up with the band via Facebook (here) and Twitter (here).
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