Earlier this year, Detroit rapper ZotheJerk and NY state producer Frost Gamble, now resident in Winnipeg, released their album “Black Beach” [available on Bandcamp] which included featured artists KXNG Crooked, Guilty Simpson, Sadat X and Boldy James.
In August the pair travelled to NYC to wrap up a new recording project with Tragedy Khadafi – the Rare Fabric EP drops October 20th – and while there they chopped it up with Rapstation’s Tim Einenkel for his “The Library” series of interviews
In what resulted in a very in depth and far reaching interview, the pair discussed their early introductions to hip hop reaching back to the 80’s & 90’s. Frost divulges how the early breakdancing craze was his first step, and introduced him to the music of Whodini and UTFO, and how Rakim and Juice Crew first influenced his decision to pick up the mic, performing cyphers and battling at street corners which is where he first met long time compadre Tone Chop.
He explains the reason for the switch to production, learning from near neighbour DJ Spinna, and the impact “By All Means Necessary” and “It Takes A Nation of Millions” had on his approach, while citing Diamond D as his initial yardstick.
Meanwhile, Zo goes all the way back to first hearing The Rappin’ Duke, Dana Dane, Slick Rick, NWA and Big Daddy Kane, and how hip hop was his escape from the harsh realities around him – poverty, crack sold in elementary school and violence – it was more of an education in his self development.
He recalls watching what would become members of D12 first performing in battles and groups, and the lessons learned on how to progress as an artist from role models such as J Dilla and Proof.
Bringing it to the present, the pair disucss how they first met in 2014, their recording methods and how their track “Honey” was the catalyst for their career defining moment in signing with Miami label 22 Entertainment.
On the theme of “Black Beach”, Zo explains how it was designed as the snapshot of “the black experience” in America today, though there are more expansive themes addressed such as the loss of his grandmother addressed in “Risk vs Reward”. The rapper wears his heart on his sleeve laying out his vulnerabilities, aspirations and anger in equal measure, in effect a cathartic experience that will resonate with most people.
The pair then discuss their future recording plans, including the comparative pressure on artists today to constantly release new music, before the conversation switches to Frost’s work with Tone Chop.
With their new album “Respect Is Earned Not Given” having released just yesterday, Tim asks about their track “Leave It Alone” from their “Veteran” EP of last year, a dedication to the late Sean Price. The producer gives the background to how the track was put together with Ruste Juxx and Nobi, and also gives the reasons why he held the man in such high regard.
The interview not only serves as a fascinating look behind the scenes at Zo and Frost, but also as a vignette of hip hop history through the eras.
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL HERE
ZotheJerk x Frost Gamble “RISK VS REWARD” ft Sadat X
Tone Chop x Frost Gamble LEAVE IT ALONE ft Ruste Juxx & Nobi
Frost returns to NYC mid October, this time with Tone Chop, to promote their new album and will be guests on DJ Eclipse’s Sirius XM “Rap Is Outta Control”, Monday 16th Oct.
All media, press and radio station DJ enquiries regarding Frost Gamble, Tone Chop & ZotheJerk, including requests to interview the pair in NYC, can be sent to us at UrbanElite PR. Our contact details are available HERE
You can connect with the guys on social media via twitter @FrostGamble @TheJerkNation @ToneChop and there are also two joint Facebook Pages – Zo and Frost Tone & Frost They’re cool guys, holla at ’em.