23 Sep 2023

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GZ - EP Review: The Story Behind the Realness

16 Jul 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
Purportedly an artist with many pseudonyms, GZ is a rap artist active as a part of the Auckland hip-hop diaspora. Though safe to assume he’s had a considerable presence over the years under multiple stage names, I wasn’t able to unearth much in the way of artist info relating to GZ, except images of the man himself looking like a force to be reckoned with. Physically, but probably musically as well.

His four-track EP The Story Behind The Realness was released last month, fronted by a very symbolic and emotive album artwork of a charred rose on fire. No doubt a representation of the personal energies that have gone towards creating this record, so let’s launch into GZ's story.

Guaranteed to get you chanting the two chorus lines midway through the song, let alone at the end, the EP starts with Money Not the Clout. There’s plenty of attitude both sonically and thematically. Coupled with a crowd-pleasing mid-tempo bounce, and GZ’s lyrical delivery oozing with confidence and swagger, this song may sound mean but there’s too much fun here to be had to put you off.

The Wayz of a Hustler bears some deliciously lush instrumentation; from samples of guitars, violins to what sounds like a chamber orchestra, and generous layers of keyboards, the tune is brought to life almost entirely by its complexities. The beat, beefed up by the bass and sub, further energised by shimmering synths, really give muscle to the sonic aspects of the track.

There are some very crafty string arrangements by way of guitar samples and violins on Allnight. By this point in the EP one really starts to notice and appreciate the production efforts. The layering is comfortable to listen to, and the balance of bass and high-end is perfect. At least to these ears anyway!

The fourth song on the EP Unconditional arguably holds the beefiest rhythm. Heavy on grooves thanks to the keys, bass and drum beats. Again the brilliant string arrangements make an appearance, bringing an organic edge that a lot of present-day hip-hop seems to lack.

There are some very evident nods and homages to 90’s rap music. Certain bars and passages bear semblances to the old-school greats like Dr Dre, Cypress Hill and Tupac. With plenty of catchy, anthem-like choruses, one can picture crowds chanting lyrics aloud in the context of a live gig.

Unlike many contemporary radio-friendly hip-hop and R&B, there’s no guest vocal hooks to be found on this EP because no additional star power is needed. GZ lays bare his words and lets them become the earworm, driving listeners to utter his lines well after the EP has finished.

Listen to The Story Behind the Realness HERE.


About GZ

I'm a Hip-Hop artist, having just released my EP The Story Behind The Realness. I always felt like I was talented. I find myself being creative when I'm making music.

I'm currently working on my album. My EP was more or less a showcase of myself. But my album I've got features from other rappers and a few surprises.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for GZ


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