Zelooperz is a rapper and visual artist from Detroit that has been pushing some of the most unorthodox and captivating art, not only to come out of his city, but to come out of hip hop culture in general. As a member of Bruiser Brigade and signee to Bruiser Brigade Records, Zelooperz finds himself in a healthy ecosystem of artists, including a contemporary jewel of Detroit and likely legacy artist, Danny Brown.
If you heard Danny Brown’s 2016 album Atrocity Exhibition (considered to be one of the best rap projects to come out that year), you may already have one foot into recognizing the off the wall, highly abstract style that Zelooperz encompasses. Blending loose and enigmatic flows with an experimental, almost industrial vocal and production style, Zelooperz expresses a highly artistic and interpretive style, completely unique to him.
Currently in his early twenties, Zelooperz has been making art since he was a teen, with his first published works surfacing around 2010. Since, he’s dropped mixtapes, studio and collaborative albums, and a surplus of physical and digital visual art. As mentioned, Zelooperz has had a noticeable influence on the artists he surrounds himself with, and by proxy has influenced more people than he or most people will realize. It’s much tougher to identify where Zelooperz’ exact influences come from (besides his own creativity), but we’d like to think of his style somewhere between the loose and bouncy music of OG Maco’s early days, with the aggressively abstract style of Death Grips.
Zelooperz dropped his first mixtape on record in 2011, and it wouldn’t be until 2014 that he would drop another, very significant mixtape, Help. Perhaps the biggest song on Help, “Thunda Cats” featured Danny Brown and properly delivers on Zelooperz’ aesthetic, as Help houses other tracks we love such as “El Chupacabruh” and “Plateau”. Two years later, Zelooperz would drop his first studio album, Bothic, which includes some of his biggest and best songs to date. As Pitchfork put it, on Bothic Zelooperz amplifies his unique traits to a new level, giving us songs like “Isbd”, “Elevators”, and “PayPal”. The cover art for Bothic was done by Zelooperz himself, as visual art would become an even more prominent element of Zelooperz’ portfolio in the recent years.
That leads us to 2017 and the release of A Piece of the Geto, made in collaboration with Shigeto, as the two artists make up the duo ZGTO. With APotG, Zelooperz and Shigeto combine to push a completely new sound and supply both highkey and lowkey trap bangers. Around this time, Zelooperz would begin putting out a surplus of brilliant paintings, culminating in a short film for A Piece of the Geto, a 14 minute look into the environment that surrounds these artists. The film which dropped in January 2018, is full of stunning visuals and perspectives that give a strong look into the space these artists are now at creatively.
In 2016, we got to opportunity to see Zelooperz live as he opened for Danny Brown and Maxo Kream on the Exhibition tour. The concert was the best rap show to come through the city in a long time, thanks to an undying energy enhanced by Zelooperz’ ability to interact with the crowd, including when he hopped into the crowd to perform “Isbd” and mosh with the fans. After the show, Zelooperz interacted with bystanders outside of the venue. At the time, our group were all late-teens, but he still approached us comfortably as he and we were mutually catching a post-show smoke. While our circle talked briefly about the show, I was standing a little tipsy due to having been standing up for the past several hours, Zelooperz asked me “You drunk?” I replied “No!”, and instantly thought “Just really high.”, which made me giggle and probably didn’t help my case of not appearing drunk. As we walked back to our cars, the last memory of the event was walking past Maxo Kream as he stood in the middle of 1st ave, seemingly looking for a ride, I catcalled “yeaaauhhh, Maxooo”, to end what was a night to be remembered forever.
With Zelooperz most recent work being as impressive as ever, we’re excited to watch him continue progressing and eventually hit his breakthrough point, as we’re confident it’s bound to happen.
Catch up with Zelooperz on social media, check out his paintings, and get accustomed to his innovative style of music by listening to it on your streaming platform of choice.