I really can’t say enough about Metro Zu, they’re just four real dudes making trippy ass swagged out music, rad videos and art. For all you New Yorkers who are unfamiliar, the closest thing I can think of to the Zu is A$AP Rocky, but at the same time they are like nothing you’ve ever heard. You’ll just have to listen to see what I mean, but this music is 100 percent original and real. Metro Zu is constantly creating material to be consumed in this age of information; their goal is to keep up with the passing of days. They aren’t worried about the album they released last week, or the shit they’re about to drop in a month. What the Zu is concerned with is creation, and creation in an exact moment. They have an infinite amount of musical influences but Metro Zu possesses it’s own distinct sound, and that sound is simply experience. Strap on your space suit, get in the ship and get ready for a fucking ride.
I get a call from Lofty on skype around 2:30 pm, a half hour before we had agreed to talk. He tells me he’s with Slikk and Freebase. Mr. B is asleep somewhere else.
I’ll call you back in half an hour. We’re gonna go smoke a blunt, then we’ll do that interview.
I know all you guys are tight and go way back, but when was the decision made to form Metro Zu, and how did it turn into a full blown art collective?
Lofty: Imma give you the whole history, because nobody really has this recorded. Aight, so, me and RubenSlikk we’re brothers nigga, like this is our room. I’m 20, he’s 22. That’s Freebase, and he’s my homie from fuckin middle school. Like every since I was twelve, I known that nigga. We went to this real small catholic school, very posh, very exquisite. So there, I met that nigga and he was always doin art like makin stencils and sprayin backpacks. He used to draw on backbacks and shit. Yo pass me that backpack…
Lofty: He did this shit in like…
Rubenslikk: We been doin this shit ma nigga.
Freebase: Know this shit right now, tell all your friends, we art trappin over here, you want some fresh shit, some fresh gear. See this shit? All shit handmade as fuck.
Lofty: These are from back in the day man, when we was real small, when we would go to the mall and try to mack on hoes. Like, 13, 14, 15 type shit. I’ve been making beats since I was fucking 14. (Freebase) met Rubenslikk and they chilled in high school. So it just started off because we were all friends, but I didn’t talk to (Freebase) for like two years cause I got sent off to military school when I was 16. I went there for six months and I dipped out of Miami, but when I got back I was on some other shit. I didn’t really talk to nobody anymore, I wasn’t in school and I was 16 so like there was a select group of kids to chill with, everybody else was in fuckin school. I wasn’t doing shit but making music. I met up with (Freebase) again and he showed me that backpack and that art and shit and I was just like Damnn. I showed him my beats and shit and he was like Damnn, so we started putting together these beat tapes called Eat Your Greens, and he drew on each one of them. These fuckin CDs; I don’t even have one to this day. My homies all saved their’s and shit. It was the first Metro Zu CD. We came up with the Metro Zu shit sitting at the bay smoking a fucking blunt. We were big Wu-Tang heads, you feel me. We were into mad MF Doom shit and crazy shit but especially Wu-Tang, like since we were in middle school. The Metro Zu shit is definitely just paying homage to Brooklyn Zoo, that ODB shit, that Wu-Tang shit. And all that shit went down back in 2007.
So what came first the artwork or the beats? Who does what?
Lofty: In the beginning it was just me, Rubenslikk and Mr. B making beats. Freebase was making mad art. That was his shit, we made all the music. Then it started switchin up. Freebase started making hard ass beats. I learned how to make beats from Mr. B, but I actually got into making beats in the first place because of my brother. He kept me into it, and he’s been rapping since like, way back man; 4,5,6 years ago. He was always making beats and he picked up this Electribe thing. That was when I was in middle school; he was making mad electro-ass shit. That shit was dope, we still have it but that thing is murked now.
So it sounds like you guys pretty much got each other into doing different shit.
Lofty: Well, basically we just do whatever the fuck we want. If we want to paint a piece, we go and paint a piece. If we want to make videos, we make a video. If we wanna make a cartoon, we make a cartoon. We just do everything man.
Word, So I’ve been looking through your tumblr lately, at some of your art and collages. I’m digging ‘em. Where do you find the shit that you add to the collages?
Lofty: I got blessed with a fucking stack of Nickelodeon magazines. I use those a lot. I’m pretty much done with those though, I already fucking took all the raw shit out of ‘em. But those shits were from the nineties so it’s the Nickelodeon that the people I grew up with can relate too. Other than that, It’s comic books, fashion magazines, like very current shit. I got a little sister and a mom, So I take their shit. (Laughs.) Ya know, clip out them nice lookin white bitches and shit.
How much time a day do you guys spend on the internet doing promotion and all that other shit?
Lofty: My day is basically spent like this: I make the shit, I load the shit I make and promote it. Then I’m making more shit again. The rest of my time is spent smoking weed. How much time do I spend? Uhh, 24/7. When I go to sleep I’m even spreading my shit in an astroplane. But definitely 24/7.
What do you think is different about the rap game now that we have the internet?
Lofty: I’ve always known the internet. Remember when the GoodBurger movie came out? Well they had a website and that was my first interaction with the internet, the goodburgermovie.com website. Shout out to Nickelodeon For that shit, it was very interactive. Nigga, like that’s as far as I can remember. And the rap game too, It’s always been a part of me. I mean if you think of it like that, it’s like; how do you think tomatoes have changed rappers over time. I don’t really fucking know how the Internet influenced the rap game. Things are what they are man, It’s just nature.
Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/?b8ifbhvybbx744k
Mink Rug is getting a lot more attention across the web than some of your other tapes. Why do you think that is?
Lofty: Duh, Nigga, all the fucking features. And Spaceghostpurrp, man shout out to him. That nigga put us on to like mad underground heads who would really fuck with our shit. He reached out on some dope ass shit man, some Klan shit. The moment we got in the studio, we played him Mink Rug and he was like…
Freebase: Nigga, this go hard as fuck.
Yeah man, that beat is right up his alley.
Lofty: That was a one take freestyle, that nigga killed it. We were like, we goin take over from here.
Wait, he free-styled on that shit?
Lofty: Yeah, He free-styled that shit boi. I didn’t freestyle mine though, I wrote it. But Slikk and Spaceghostpurrp free-styled it.
I saw him at Highline ballroom a few weeks ago with Smoke DZA, he fucking killed it.
Lofty: Yeah man, I saw that video for Don’t Give a Damn.
So, How do you guys pay for your piece of the Zu Mansion?
Lofty: We don’t pay for this shit. This my parents crib nigga (Laughs). But yeah, it’s like a trippy ass place where like everybody in here is creative as fuck. Must be how my house is built, but everybody is always creative. My mom makes clothes…
Freebase: Yeah she makes tight ass sweaters.
Lofty: She makes like mad dope ass clothes. My sister paints and makes crazy clothes too; she’s gonna be a good ass designer. I’m trying to get into making clothes and selling the shit with my mom. There’s just very swagful, creative shit going down in this place.
It seems like lately people are going back to 90’s style production. I’m talking like the style of beats and everything. What is that about? Is it because mad kids who grew up in the 90s are the next wave of rappers or what?
Lofty: Yo nigga, everybody’s sayin the 90s are coming back, oh this is coming back. It’s like, nah nigga it’s always gonna come back. Niggas is always sampling. Bunch a samplin ass motherfuckas. That’s why we just sample everything they sampled, then they sample what we sampled. Everybody just samples each other. Hip Hop is about paying homage. In the beginning all they used to do was loop DJ shit. Them niggas be SAMPLIN. Without sampling, there’s no Hip Hop. That’s why I think labels are gay as fuck. They don’t let shit get sampled, that’s why we put out everything for free. I’m putting out shit for free for the rest of my life. Fuck you, I don’t need you guys, you know? They would just sue the fuck out of us, cause we just sample mad shit. You think we don’t sample everything, but we do. All the drums and that shit are even from producer kits.
Freebase: Everybody’s sampling, they just make the shit sound original.
Lofty: In 20 years somebody is gonna be like, you guys really sound like that 2000 sound. Then later they’re gonna be like, yo you guys really sound like that 2010-2030 shit (laughs). I don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, I’m just out there making cool shit. I like 90s shit though because that’s when I grew up.
I feel that, I was a 90s kid too. So, who musically and what are you guys influenced by?
Freebase: I think everything.
Lofty: We’re influenced by everything. Like, fuck, should I just start namin mad motherfuckers?
Lofty: I don’t wanna start naming mad people.
I know what you mean though.
Lofty: I think like, everybody on the west coast, everybody on the east coast, everybody in the south, Midwest. Hahahaha nah nigga like alright, I’m just gonna go through it. It’s a long ass list my nigga. Of course I said Wu-Tang before. Three 6 Mafia,
Freebase: J Dilla,
Lofty: Slum Ville
Freebase: Breakbot, all that shit. Uhh, fuck who else? N.W.A., Eazy-E, Dr. Dre hahaha, you want me to keep on going? Fucking everybody man.
nah man, we get the idea.
Lofty: There’s a bunch of rap music I could talk about all day.
Rubenslikk: Juvenile hahaha
Lofty: We’re Just droppin names. Yo, Cam’ron, dipset.
Word. So, you guys have tons of shit up on the internet, videos, artwork, beats; everything. How do you do get so much fucking volume out there?
Lofty: We don’t run of ideas. Ever, because we’re fucking hooked up to infinite knowledge. Like, our third eyes are all open. We don’t really chill with mad motherfuckas. We just chill with a select group of people who are in alignment. We keep ourselves in alignment, that way we stay creative. I mean, we’ve always been creating mad shit, we’ve got like thousands of things released, but now we’re focusing our energy more on how we’re gonna put it out. And how to make the pipe it comes through bigger so we can put shit out each month. Basically, loosening up the pussy of the cosmos; like, getting it wet and juicy. We’re gonna keep putting out mad shit, it’s not gonna stop ever. It’s just gonna keep going.
Is there any one show that Metro Zu played that you dudes remember better than the rest?
Freebase: All our shows are pretty fucking cool man. Everybody’s always wilin out.
Lofty: Like our first show down in Miami that was down on some official shit, uhhh May 27th I think? May 25th or May27th at fucking Vagabond. Sometime last May, but it was at Vagabond and we did two songs and that shit was about to get closed down. Since then, it’s been a year. But every show something horrible happens. If I told you about the craziest shit that ever happened at shows, shit would get too real right now. Like the shit we go through, the show was the savior environment. I mean shit happens, but I’m not gonna go into it, it’s to real to piece out right here. I can’t share that information (hahaha).
So how important is Miami to Metro Zu?
Freebase: oh, it’s where we were born, so like, it’s very important.
Lofty: We were talking about this the other day, how Miami is a point on the Bermuda Triangle, and it’s also a place…
Freebase: Yeah, so much negative energy comes through here bruh.
Lofty: So many contradictions and all that. So much pussy energy. But everything in Miami is beautiful, you just gotta chill. You just ride around and smoke blunts.
Freebase: Yeah, it’s just cultural fusion. All different types of cultures mixed into one. Like, I’m Brazilian, but there’s some crazy shit around here.
Lofty: I mean we chill with all types of people. There’s tons of Mexican, German kids down here. Weird ass people. Mad motherfuckas just come here and learn about each other every fuckin day, so Miami is very important. You’re gonna see Miami way more in the future. There’s a lot of shit here man. Other artists have already come out of Miami and are doing hard shit or whatever but still people are like, “ohh, Miami, uhh? We don’t even come up as one of the cities that dope ass shit is comin out of.
Freebase: And it’s fucked up, there’s so much shit around here bruh.
Lofty: They only show one side when it comes to everything. Like when It comes to movies and shit, they only showin, “Oooh, South Beach”.
Lofty: Yo, the Wynwood. But even with Metro Zu, you’re only seeing one side, like there’s all kinds of fucking artists. But, we see more motherfuckas from New York down here,
Freebase: I hope Metro Zu can come up, and figure this shit out because Miami is hard.
Lofty: Yeah, we go hard with the shit. I know punk bands down here that merk shit. I know new-wave shit, pocket of lollipops. They’re mad trippy ass motherfuckas. You know Otto Von Schirach? He’s like the OG down here.
Freebase: We got the trippiest rappers here in Miami.
Lofty: Yeah, but the trippiest rappers are Metro Zu. We didn’t create the whole trippy mane movement, that’s Juicy J, but. I mean that nigga raw as fuck. He’s one of the rappers I really listen to. That nigga totally influenced the fuck outta us. Beat wise, flow wise, style wise, everything. Like in that Stay Fly video he had on that green skull shirt. That shirt, just to have it, I copped that shit.
Freebase: It’s too gangster.
Lofty: Fuck it was hard, I ain’t gonna lie. I wore that shit every non-uniform day my nigga hahhaha
So how do Metro Zu’s collaborations go down?
Lofty: We just live in the moment. Niggas come through to smoke blunts and shit and we’re chillin and we got some bitches over. Maybe, we just turn on Pro tools and record. Maybe we’ll just fucking play Super Smash all day. Maybe we’ll smoke a blunt but if we’re doing that shit, then I’m just filming it. So, we’re always making shit. It’s not even gonna stop. And the collabs don’t stop with the music either. Whenever we collab with someone, it’s on some really organic shit. I haven’t even really come across an artist that was like, “yo, we gotta make this.”
Freebase: We got mad beats on our computers, we just play mad shit. They might bring some beats. If we’re all feelin the song, then shit, it’s gonna go down.
Have you guys heard the screwed & chopped version of Mink Rug that DJ Kirby put on DafPiff?
Word, what do you guys think about it?
Lofty: I Like it.
Freebase: It’s hard.
Yeah, it’s pretty tight.
Lofty: Yeah man, I like anything chopped & screwed and now it’s a lot easier, for us. I mean we’re makin hella shit anyway, but.
Freebase: I’m just glad somebody chopped & screwed our record.
Lofty: Yeah, DJ Kirby is dope. That nigga is very talented. I’m just glad he did it good. I like when people take our shit and sample it, because like I said, we put our shit out for free, so anyone can do it.
Freebase: I think it’s pretty cool. There’s an instrumental of this beat I did out and I never even released the instrumental hahaha, that shit crazy. That shit is hard to do. I was just like, damn that’s cool.
Whenever I listen to your shit, I can’t help but notice how many types of hip-hop and other genres influence your sound. It’s everything man, all It reminds me of is some trippy ass shit. Like I feel like I’m on acid sometimes when I listen to Metro Zu. Is your music a nod to that, or is there some other intention behind it?
Lofty: The intention is just to have a steady flow of shit coming out so we can remain sane. The more shit we make, the more in alignment we are with the creative force that is existence. If you’re constantly creating what you want to create, you’re put in this place and it’s called fucking heaven. That’s why we put out so much shit. We’re not waiting a certain day to put out a radio hit that’s gonna hit hard, we’re gonna work on songs for days. We just jump on the beat, and put it out there. What we end up doing, is putting a whole bunch of random shit out. It’s four brains creating mad shit.
Freebase: Yeah, our homeboy Eddy got a system in his whip, and we just ride around on our own shit. Like damn, that beat sound good as fuck.
Lofty: Yeah man, and the other thing too, time is speeding up. Like, the amount of shit we consume now is way higher than back in the day. We’re just meeting the demand, the higher demand for content over all. There will be people out there who years from now, can literally say “I’ve vibed to Metro Zu every day for however many years,” because we make it possible for them to.
Freebase: Plus there’s four mothafuckers, we don’t abide be any contract or some shit. It’s just like, “oh you’re gonna drop that shit today,”
Lofty: People don’t know that even some of the shit we made on Mink Rug was made like 2 or 3 years ago. But, best believe we’ve got albums on deck.
Freebase: We’re thinking about dropping a Rubenslikk album today.
Word. So anyway, what you’re saying is that your whole creative process is entirely organic. Like, you’re obviously trying to produce shit, but it really more or less just HAPPENS.
Lofty: Yeah, it just happens. You know when rappers are like, “yo I got that next hit dawg,” you know, they film the video, mix the track, and get it out on the radio. We don’t do any of that shit, we put it out and it’s done and that’s why we make so much shit. Like, I’ve got an R&B tape in the works. Freebase has a beat tape coming out. I mean, I’ve got tapes with lowercase coming out soon. Sometime in the middle of March, that R&B shit is gonna drop (Check out Intimacy HERE). We’re dropping Heaven soon and re-dropping the $$$ tape with new shit on it.
Freebase: We’ve got an art tour in April with Primary Flight. I’m painting right now, mad shit.
Lofty: Yeah man, but, it’s just like if you’ve got it made, get it out there. I could die tomorrow or my fuckin hard drive could crash with all my beats on it. If that shit happened, It would change our world. I had a hard drive crash during the summer, and I lost 1000s of songs.
Freebase: That’s why we just started putting up mad shit.
Lofty: But we sent the hard drive out to Arizona to Shuttle Life. They sent it back, everything intact, and now I’m just copying the shit over to a new drive, and putting it out there.
Any plans to come to NYC?
Lofty: Yeah Nigga, put that shit out there, we wanna fucking do a show. Pay for us to come out, and we’ll do the hardest show ever. We don’t give a fuck, we’ll rock the fuck out of that shit. We’re very interesting live. I mean we’ll have to swag a little harder just to let you mothafuckers know, but we’re gonna come up to New York.
Freebase: We just need more motherfuckas to know about the shit down here.
So if Superchief throws a banger sometime soon, you guys are down to come up and rage with us?
Lofty: Fuck yeah my nigga, if you guys got us out there We’d be down as fuck.
Freebase: Yeah, are you fucking kidding me? Hell yeah.
Lofty: That’s the type of shit we’re waiting for dawg. We’re down as fuck with Superchief. Yall really reached out from up there, it means a lot to us. Mad people fuck with us on that that art shit, but in terms of the music, like performance, we need to expose people up there.
I can’t believe more people don’t listen to your shit all over. I guess it’s just about getting the word out there.
Lofty: Shoutout to Space, shoutout to Rich Nice, yo Rich Nice is my other fuckin nigga dawg. Release that footage mothafucker. I think he’s putting together a documentary or some shit. That nigga’s on some legendary shit.
Word, alright so this next section of the interview, I’m gonna list two things, and you just pick which one Metro Zu is more down with. So first one, ass or titties?
Freebase: Ass hahaha ass
Lofty: Titties my nigga, ass is the poop shoot.
Freebase: Naw man not the asshole,
Lofty: But the titties feed children. Those shits are so positive, you can’t fuck with them. An ass can’t feed a child.
Freebase: Yeah, that’s true. But you hit that shit from the back though, it’s like daayyumm
Hip Hop or Rap?
Lofty: Uhh, Hip Hop
Freebase: Rap haha
Lofty: Hip Hop my nigga
Freebase: rap dawg,
Lofty: Hip Hop yuh don’t stop
Sellin hoes or fuckin hoes?
Freebase: Sellin hoes bruh,
Lofty: Fucking hoes. Fucking hoes is better, everybody knows that. Everybody, just fuck hoes. Buy them from me and then fuck ‘em.
Pizza or Cheeseburgers?
Freebase & Lofty: ooooooohhhhhhhh hahahaha
Lofty: pizza, pizza, pizza. All day my nigga, ninja turtle swag.
Lofty: You need to go to Steve’s pizza in Miami.
Next time I’m in the area, definitely. Shrooms or acid?
Freebase: Acid is harder, it goes harder.
Mac Dre or Pimp C?
Freebase & Lofty: Mac Dre.
Freebase: Pimp C is so hard though.
Lofty: Yeah, I just said Mac Dre, because that nigga like –
Freebase: That shit was cool.
Lofty: He was a trippy mothafucker. I mean I grew up on Pimp C since I was little, so I guess that’s part of it too. Pimp C was always a part of the rap game for me. I didn’t find out about Mac Dre until later, and when I found out about him when he dropped all this shit when he died and it was heavy shit. Just legendary shit and when Pimp C died, I was just like, fuck. People wouldn’t write in Snoop Dogg as a most influential rapper, because Snoop dogg ain’t dead yet.
Lofty picks up his phone, it’s Mr. B: Ayo, Mr. B.
I hear Mr. B through the phone: What’s good?
Lofty: What’s up, my nigga?
Mr. B: What’s good with you?
Lofty: Your missing the fucking interview, we havin it right now. With the nigga from Brooklyn.
He hangs up the phone.
Lofty: Mr. B says what up
Word, so a couple more, Blunts or bongs?
Lofty: Bongs. Yo, like blunts are better when I’m just fucking smoking and shit but bongs when I want to just smoke and trip out to music.
Starfox or Mario Kart?
Freebase: Starfox. what the fuck? Get that Mario Kart shit outta here.
Lofty: Mario Kart is mad annoying because people are always trying to play with you. I want the whole screen nigga.
Freebase: Starfox is just full screen or you could play that multi-player and shit, but multi-player in star fox was fucking garbage.
Lofty: That shit can die, Star Fox single player all motherfuckin day.
Pokemon, or Dragon Ball-Z?
Lofty: Dragon Ball-Z nigga.
Freebase: Yeah that shit go hard as fuck.
Lofty: Dragon Ball-Z was about the plight of the black man, haha nah just kidding.
Alright last question, what’s up next for Metro Zu?
Lofty: I’m gonna hang myself and then all my shit is gonna get really popular.
Freebase: What’s next for Metro Zu? Suicide hahhaha
Lofty: We’re just kidding, but yo what I just told you before. I’ve got an R&B tape coming out, there’s a RubenSlikk tape coming out soon, there’s some R&B shit on that, trill shit. Tropical boys, that’s a beat tape. Honey Chicken is coming out, I did that shit with lowercase. Shout out to lowercase and the whole village south fam. If there’s one thing we’re gonna blow, if there’s one thing you gotta know, It’s that Heaven’s dropping in March. All that shit we’ve been talking about, heaven on earth and shit, we’re gonna drop a whole album about that shit. We ain’t even gonna say that shit on the album, it’s just blessed with that Idea. Just like Mink Rug wasn’t about mink rugs the whole time hahaha , it was just blessed with idea, with elegance. Heaven is dropping in March, sometime in March. Hold on, let me get my calendar and pick a date. March 31, Heaven.
Cool, that’s all I had, anything else you guys want to say?
Lofty: yeah, shout out to all the beautiful Brooklyn women.
Freebase: We wanna come up to Brooklyn yo.
Lofty: All I wanna say is that New York should get ready for Metro Zu because we’re coming. I’ve been hard at work.
That’s all I’ve got. Lets it end it there.
Lofty: No problem man. Thanks for reaching out. Cokey Shores Posh Gang, peace out dawg.
As always, Superchief getting you the news that really matters –
Heaven dropping March 31st.
HTTP://WWW.METROZU.COM – Download whole discography here