Week in Pop: Bobbi Rush, King Z3US, Longface

Sjimon Gompers

The rise of Baltimore boss Bobbi Rush; press photo courtesy of BobbiRush.

Zenizen’s Week in Pop

The zen-wave world of Zenizen’s Opal Hoyt; photographed by Gustavo Ponce.

Zenizen amazed the world with the proper release of Australia Deluxe, one of 2017’s greatest albums via Don Giovanni Records & we have the pleasure of introducing Opal Hoyt’s following Week in Pop guest selections:

Considering the state of the U.S these days, one thing that I’ve found myself constantly talking about with my friends and my manager is how to continue making anything from what feels like ashes. How to not get caught up in the feelings of hopelessness, desperation, rage, fear that have basically become the zeitgeist if you’re not a T***p supporter. All of these picks give me hope.

Emerging out of the aura with Zenizen’s Opal Hoyt; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Nai Palm

Nai is an incredible artist full stop. Not only has her project with Hiatus Kaiyote been a welcome success for future soul or whatever you want to call it, but her solo album takes another step for the culture. Seeing this thing come to fruition is amazing and watching her command a stage for 50 or 500 people is pretty much just brilliant. Her considerate approach to delivering these new songs both via recording (with an amazing team of vocalists) and in person is a reminder that music has a soul and isn’t just about the latest club hit. Fave tune: “Atoll”

Curating the kaleidoscopic glow with Opal Hoyt of Zenizen; photographed by Erin Albrecht.

Zack Villere

If you told me I was ever going to listen or talk to anyone who’s moniker was Froyo Ma I would have told you to get off the internet but Zack has consistently delivered some of the most high-quality (which he’ll deny) tracks of the last two years. We met through another friend, Amani Fela, and it has been both a trip and also super inspiring to watch them both grow and get up to their shit. Zack has brought his unique sound to the front with not only his own record but collabs with Saba, KONA and more and it’s just legit as hell to see people using music to explore and mess around. His latest track “The Fort” is a cute introspective that actually kind of recalls the new Nai Palm tracks in its stripped down instrumentation and up-front vocal.

Running up that hill with Opal Hoyt; photographed by Gustavo Ponce.

B. Cool-Aid

A collaboration between Pink Siifu and Ahwlee. Their dedication to a vibe is unmatched. From Liv (Pink Siifu):

We made this project for BRWN skin. To show appreciation, admiration, to embrace, and to understand a new perspective of what we all have seen, lived, or been raised up under. this is a mixture of all rooted flavors from diff blocks, going back to the roots of accession. BRWN.

It’s relevant, important, and honestly just good. Fave track: Teach

Cover of Zenizen’s Australia Deluxe record; courtesy of Opal Hoyt/Don Giovanni Records/Nublack Music Group.

Sunflower Bean, “I Was a Fool”

I might only be saying this because I was just at their show at Elsewhere last night, but Sunflower Bean is a reminder that kids will be kids and that spirit isn’t going anywhere. They tore the house down with their classic rock-reminiscent set and it had been a long time since I’d seen that in person. I might also be biased here because the band I used to be in, Piers, was Fleetwood Mac one Halloween, but this new song is also hitting the right chords with its ethereal-but-not-necessarily-escapist groove.

Catching up with Zenizen’s Opal Hoy; courtesy of Phoebe Powell Photography.


Sammus is my actual godmother and I couldn’t make a list without her. We came together in an especially satisfying way and her music speaks to everything that I hope for as we try and get ourselves through “this mess”. Super raw, super relevant and her beats tie everything together with their excellent grooves. Favorite lyrics are from the chorus of “Love Song”:

So I don’t wanna write it

I wanna feel it

When the love dies

I won’t have to deal with

A love song that I can’t ever hear

It’s better for me when it all disappears

The latest: “Qualified” feat Open Mike Eagle & Arch Thompson

Zenizen’s Opal Hoyt performing live at Aviv; photographed by Kwame Anyane-Yeboa.

Yaya Bey, “Buck McDaniels”

Yaya Bey is also a part of the Nublack Music Group team and an amazing artist. We had all met up in Jersey last weekend and she told us her story of going to Ferguson and being in Baltimore during the riots and it was another incredibly humbling reminder that the people fighting for us are real and it’s not just all on the news or social media. That she can be in these charged spaces and then come back and make music is inspiring. Fav track: “Buck McDaniels”

Pop culture progressive denizen Opal Hoyt of Zenizen; photographed by Timothy Murray.

Follow Opal Hoyt & Zenizen via Twitter.

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