Record & Tape Exchange is a recurring series where artists walk us through their music libraries on a physical and memory-based level. These are the songs and projects that hold special meaning, transport us to moments in their lives, and beyond.

 

Zelooperz is a rapper, visual artist, and member of Detroit-based rap group Bruiser Brigade. His last studio album, Van Gogh’s Left Ear, was critically acclaimed and showcased his creative chaos. “I would just say expect the unexpected,” the Danny Brown protégé says of what’s next for him. “That's all I would say.”


What song reminds you the most of your childhood?

“Back in the Day” by Ahmad. I feel like my dad used to play that a lot when I was a kid. It actually came out in ’94, and I was born in ’93, so he played that shit so much. But even as a kid, I used to think about it like, ‘Am I actually a kid, or have I been here before?” It was weird listening to it, because in the song he kind of talked about when he was a kid and when he was in school and shit. So I feel that's one song that I can relate to a lot. My dad was the one that had all the music. I would just get all the music from him, especially when LimeWire and shit like that came out. He was the one that put us up on all the way to download shit.What was the first physical record you remember buying?

Danny Brown's Old. It was partially because I was on that album. It was around the time where people used to go, like during the time people used to go to BestBuy still and buy CDs and shit. But I was just so geeked to be on the album, I had to go buy one myself. It's kind of late in life to be buying a record or whatever, but that was like one of the first ones I ever bought.


What song reminds you the most of home?

“Boss Up and Get This Money” by Blade Icewood. I feel that's a song that I think about when I think about Detroit. If you wanted to give somebody a crash course in music from Detroit, or start them off on the right foot, you would play that song.


What song reminds you of traveling to a specific place? 

“Kush Coma” by Danny Brown [feat. A$AP Rocky and Zelooperz]. It kind of references back to the first project or album I ever bought, that “Kush Coma” joint. I feel like that was the one song that really reminded me of traveling to a different place. It was kind of a cool experience: Me and Danny, we had a show in New York and he had got us tickets to go there, but that was the first time I was ever on a plane. So it was kind of cool to learn that I was on the album at the same time. I'm just coming out of my hotel room and he’s telling me about it. It wasn't so much of me listening to it during that time, 'cause I didn't have a complete record, yet. But that song reminds me of my first time getting on a plane.What is the song that you wish you had written?

“A Milli” by Lil Wayne. Yeah.


What is the best song to play at a house party? 

“Bitch Where” by Chief Keef. Shit. I had to go with something newer. I feel like you play that shit, everybody gonna go crazy.


What song would you like played at your funeral?

Shit... “Crank That Soulja Boy!”

Describe one of your favorite songs without actually naming it or the artist who made it.

So the beat sounds like it's crying and it's just like, expressing how somebody feels. Like this dude, how he feels about a woman, but in the darkest way possible. And then it's like a long ass, well not long, but it's like a break between his verse and the next verse that comes, and the next verse is a completely different artist, and it comes in totally unexpected. I feel like it’s probably—definitely—one of my favorite songs. It’s got a lot of religious references in it, but it’s not like, Christian rap.


You're abducted by aliens and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song that you're playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?

“Like a Martian” by Lil B. I mean that shit is crazy and maybe the aliens will respect it, and it's like, “Like a martian,” you know, “We don't hate you.” You know what I'm saying? “Don't kill me.”

Interview by Atoosa Moinzadeh
Zelooperz Portrait by Zhamak Fullad
Further Reading:
Prince, Sinatra, Britney and Burna Boy are in the mix this week as bLAck pARty shares his Record & Tape Exchange selections.