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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




RISE: Zakee

Published 1 month ago
The West Philadelphian singer and producer talks to Dazed about his new record and his spiritual experience in Brazil which unlocked a new wave of songwriting within him

Text by Terence Teh

New York’s globe-trotting Zakee has had a pretty illustrious past. It was his Ghanaian and Senegal-inspired Ku Ku Bass sound and the thunderous anthemic club track “Sane Eba” that first got the M.I.A. and Rye Rye collaborator onto the Dazed radar and into the magazine a couple of years back. And it’s the way this former maths teacher from West Philadelphia (and creative director of his production company 12-BIT, photographer and filmmaker) constantly evolves his musical craft that makes him such an exceptional artist. His debut full length is out now called “Assimilations” and was written in a prolific whirlwind session in Brazil, after falling for Rio during a South America tour supporting Seun Kuti and Erykah Badu with Theophilus London. With funked up vocals and rolling bass, “Assimilations” has a dense swagger with escapist, soaring melodies and an experimental pop vision that is unlike anything Zakee has created before. - DAZED & CONFUSED




“Snakes” is one of the most ethereal tracks on Zakee’s debut album Assimilations and the new video takes us to a spiritual sort of place. Crooning gently and looking sharp as usual, our avant pop seeker regards a beautiful natural landscape. We see him through a veil of kaleidoscoping patterns. Maybe they are representations of inner reality, maybe they are how his watchful spirit guide sees the world. Somehow the shifting mandalas illuminate the view more than they obscure it. The beats form similarly kaleidoscopic alignments with the chiming synth and Dreamtime sound effects.

There’s no way around this: absolutely nothing happens in this video. But that could be considered a strength. It’s about the mood, the texture, the mind state. Put it on, gaze into the distance, nod your head slowly and let it all go. I’m nominating it for a “Best Use of Kaleidoscope in a Music Video” award. Also, I’m assigning points for the location. Like his video for “Glory,” this was shot in Brazil. - MTV IGGY


We’ve already mentioned that we’d like to step into the shoes of the world-traveling Zakee, who glides from Rio to Philly and back again like it’s no thing at all. That’s how his album Assimilations goes too, effortlessly working that sweet spot between hip hop, lo-fi, and global bass. In the cut “Push the Power,” Zakee leans towards sunny, lo-fi goodness, and for the video he cobbles together what looks like vacation footage of surf and palm trees, amusement park rides, and cannonball dives. It’s a sun-faded good time for everyone.

“Push the Power” is a party groove song, vibing like an indie calypso. So funny that the best part of the video was shot back in Philly. Images of aqua waters cut between footage of an impromptu jam session in somebody’s living room that somehow looks more fun than an exotic island vacation. Of course, the session turns into a Philly house party full of dancing hipsters. Happy hipsters — this video and song will make you wonder, is there any other kind? - MTV IGGY


Philadelphia, United States
Zakee — “Glory”

We’d love to hop in Zakee’s suitcase one day. The Senegal-rooted, Philly-based avant pop artist travels to Brazil in “Glory” with a sound as diverse as his passport – dizzying drum patterns plus worldly hip hop and a little dubstep. Throw in a Brazilian movie star, André Ramiro, in the mix and you’ve got tons of musical and visual Assimilations (which happens to be his debut album’s title).


Future Afro-pop or the Future of Pop?

A world traveler of Senegalese ancestry, vocalist/producer Zakee is currently based in Philadelphia. He just launched his debut album Assimilations from this perch but it sounds like it could have come from anywhere, and, in some ways, it’s coming from a lot of places.

Assimilations starts out with “The Dark Crystal,” a downtempo electronic track featuring the vocals of The Very Best’s Essau Mwamweya and the spoken words of the late Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes. Distorted echoes of ancient griots serve as back up singers on “Glory,” a cool jam wilted by hotly atmospheric production. And then “Dope Girl” sounds like G-Funk dressed up as The Drums. It’s clear he’s thoroughly assimilated a lot of influences in his time on Earth.

Hip hop beats often morph into complex polyrhythms on Assimilations, but it all stays within the realm of pop and, while TV on The Radio and Maximum Balloon are close musical cousins, Zakee is definitely staking out his own left-of-center territory somewhere between new wave revival and Afrobeat.

The renaissance man played most of the instruments on the album and deftly produced most of it, in addition to rapping and crooning like a streetwise Tunde Adebimpe. He’s a painter too, and his appreciation for the visual world shows in imaginative videos like the one for “Glory,” shot in Rio de Janeiro.

Zakee started out messing with kuduro and remixing M.I.A., so this avant pop gem is a startling but happy departure — one that really has our attention. He can still throw out some dirty, git-er-done dance tracks though — in case you thought he was just some art school guy — so if you check out the album make sure you get those bonus tracks. - MTV IGGY


Assimilations Lp
"Yelling to the Sky" -Movie Theme Title
NBC' "Friday Night Lights"-Television Series



The soft-spoken, triple threat (song-writer, producer and artist) stunned the world when he debuted his latest project and debut album as an artist, ASSIMILATIONS, via Green Owl Records/ Warner Music Group. The album has been recently regarded as "Top 20 Debut Albums of 2011" by MTV iggy along with outstanding reviews from The Boston Globe,Okayplayer, NPR, Dazed & Confused,Prefix Magzine and numerous blogs.

ASSIMILATIONS features ZAKEE singing and performing his genius lyrics over a creatively blended, eclectic mix of self produced beats. ZAKEE has re-invented the possibility of music, art and culture with this new sound that is... alternative... afro-beat... hip-hop... folk... electro... global...ZAKEE.

ZAKEE is a West Philadelphia born-and-bred, musical powerhouse. Growing up within a soulful city and household, ZAKEE was introduced to music at an early age. While pursuing classical and music theory academically, ZAKEE was also influenced by a myriad of different soundsranging from the street tunes he heard throughout the neighborhoods of Philly to the worldly beats he experienced during international travel. This eclectic mix of music shaped ZAKEE as an individual and artist.