Gorilla Zoe is just the latest in a long, long line of dreamers who labor under the delusion that anybody with Southern roots, access to decent recording equipment, and a pulse is entitled to be a rapper. The Atlanta MC has yet to crack the lock on a national level, but the internet is knee-deep in his free mixtapes and individual tracks; he threatened to drop 28 mixtapes this past February but didn't quite get there. Thematically, Zoe's material will be familiar to anyone who's spent time marinating in modern chart-rap: the popping of overpriced bottles in VIP lounges, carousing with foxy ladies in VIP lounges, retiring to VIP lounges after a hard day's work as a narcotics trafficker, passing blunts back and forth in VIP lounges. (Won't somebody dedicate a banger to the stoic, massive gatekeepers whose job is policing VIP lounges?) He opts for beats that sound like ecstasy fugues, dreams up hooks that celebrate children's standards and juvenilia, and lobs punch lines like "Her boyfriend drives a Yugo, and he practice yoga/She doin' what he don't know, she swallows me like yogurt." All of this would be forgivable—workable, maybe—if Zoe displayed even an ounce of charisma or star presence. As is, he's a sub-Biz Markie player in a world where dozens of other Southern rappers—Lil Wayne, Plies, Trick Daddy, Gucci Mane, et al.—are light years ahead of him on every conceivable level. Zoe's been in the game since the mid-'00s, and he needs to come clean with himself and recognize where his talents really lie: ghostwriting. 18+.
Thu., June 17, 10 p.m., 2010