Continuing our Artist Profile series, we are taking a look at an artist based in the UK: Zebra Katz. Real name Ojay Morgan, Zebra Katz is a Jamaican-American rapper, producer, and songwriter. His music doesn’t adhere to any specific genre as he traverses many moods and styles throughout his discography. His lyrical content ranges from expressive party bars to profound lyrics discussing topics including socioeconomic inequality, death, and gender expression. My favorite tracks from him tend to be his up-tempo hip house tunes such as "Tear the House Up", but Katz has so much more to offer for his listeners.
"Tear The House Up":
Trying to define Zebra Katz’s style is impossible, and he appears to prefer it this way. He has been very open about his contempt for labels, whether it’s concerning his sound, lyrical content, or identity. He identifies as queer but doesn’t prefer to be put under the label of “queer rapper”. He’s not here to fit a description and avoids being pressured into one. When discussing his musical influences in an interview with Billboard, Zebra Katz describes his approach to his music style:
“…I think a part of the nature of what I do is trying to create something that sounded new, and that doesn't sit necessarily on one pocket. A lot of my work is meant to feel disorienting and abrasive, because with the zebra, one of their main defense mechanisms is the dazzle camouflage, which disorients their predators. So I feel like that was my approach to a lot of these songs.”
He makes it clear that he’s not an artist to be categorized. His genre-defying style emphasizes his skillful versatility as a creator.
Awarded Best Alternative Video in the Newcomer category at the UK Music Video Awards 2020, Zebra Katz has built himself a solid career with much success. His career took liftoff in 2012 when his track "Ima Read" was played on loop at Paris Fashion Week, receiving high praise from audiences and critics alike. Since then, Zebra Katz has added to his portfolio by collaborating with the likes of Gorillaz, Kilo Kish, and Busta Rhymes. Katz has also played in our very own city of Austin for SXSW in 2012 and 2013.
Live at SXSW:
Katz released his debut album LESS IS MOOR in early 2020 on his independent label, ZFK Records. This dropped 7 years after his EP Drklng, only releasing singles between the two releases. The record’s production was done while Katz was in Berlin and London.
Zebra Katz is without a doubt a globetrotter, using experiences and influences from all over the world to craft his unique sound and personality. His music has also reached far and wide as his Spotify top monthly listener bases can be found in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the US.
No stranger to identity expression and style, Zebra Katz keeps his fans on their toes as he disorients them with his dazzling stripes.
You can check out Zebra Katz’s Bandcamp here: