Peace and serenity have not been the hallmarks of 2020. Political, economic, and social lockdowns – whatever your lean – have impacted our lives and generated material needing commentary for years to come. In this context you can reach out for familiar faces, names, and voices or seek out new views. Zoka the Author‘s debut EP is my reach out to newer pastures – a London musician who began his journey in 2017, honed his style out in Norfolk, and returned home in 2019 to headline slots at 02 Academy Islington. His debut single, The Pedestal, was played by BBC Radio London, Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2, and made Rellik Tha Don’s track of the week on Reprezent radio. Reflections is the follow up mini album which includes that debut single.
Opener “Penny or a Pound” sets a relaxed pace – mellow keys, soulful hook and musing over love, life and the happy ever after. Vocally the EP gathers impetus with “Unintentional Flex” where bars about showing out contrast nicely with a slow looped guitar lick and dirty sax breakdown. This track sets down a marker by highlighting Zoka’s smooth flow with buttery musical production. The beats aren’t complex but are orchestrated with live instruments throughout the EP which gives a deep RnB flavour. “The Pedestal” is a prime example – a slow aching burner full of horn stabs whilst Zoka harmonises tranquil thoughts about how to perceive, believe, and achieve. Closing track is the aforementioned “The Mindset” which discusses different ways of being happy and feeling free across a staccato slow break and harmonised chorus.
Overall, as a debut EP it’s fairly short but stays conscious without preaching and throughout combines intelligent lyrics with poignant production. There is nothing jarring and the tracks flow together nicely like a summers evening in the park which is no bad thing in the middle of a COVID-19 decimated winter. Each of the five main tracks pivot around a central theme of escapism which shows Zoka knows his sound which is no mean feat after a few years. If you are a fan of poetry infused thoughtful UK hip hop then this is one EP to check. Zoka the Author. Self-aware but not self-obsessed.
the tracks flow together nicely like a summers evening in the park which is no bad thing in the middle of a COVID-19 decimated winter
Relections EP is available now on all digital channels here.
Words by Mr.smiff