Zebra Katz

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Zebra Katz
Birth name Ojay Morgan
Genres Hip hop, alternative hip hop, electronic, dark wave
Occupation(s) Songwriter, rapper
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2010s–present
Labels Mad Decent
Website zebrakatz.com

Ojay Morgan,[1] better known by his stage name Zebra Katz, is an American rapper best known for his 2012 single "Ima Read".[1] He is part of a wave of queer hip hop artists who emerged in the 2010s, who were influenced by elements of the LGBT African American ball culture;[2] other artists in the same movement include Mykki Blanco, Cakes da Killa, House of LaDosha, and Le1f.[2]

The single "Ima Read", which took off when fashion designer Rick Owens used a repeated loop of the song to soundtrack his 2012 show at Paris Fashion Week,[3] was released on Jeffree's, Diplo's imprint for the Mad Decent record label.[4] Its video was directed by RUBEN XYZ.[5] It has been described by The Guardian as "queer rap's crossover hit",[6] and has been widely remixed by artists as diverse as Tricky,[7] Azealia Banks,[7] Gangsta Boo,[7] Grimes[7] and Busta Rhymes.[1]

Career[edit]

Zebra Katz was originally created while Morgan was studying at Eugene Lang College in New York City,[8] growing out of a performance art piece called "Moor Contradictions".[9] He subsequently worked on songs and videos as a hobby[9] while working as a manager for a catering company,[1] and began to pursue music more actively when he started garnering wider attention following the Owens show.[1]

Morgan conceives of Zebra Katz as "the dark rapper, the dark villain, the dark lord of the fashion world".[10] The single "Ima Read" is an allusion and tribute to Paris Is Burning, the influential 1990 documentary film about ball culture.[11]

Morgan has since released two mixtapes, Champagne (2012) and Drklng (2013).[12] He has performed many concerts in the United States and the United Kingdom, both solo and as an opening act for Azealia Banks,[13] as well as Scissor Sisters, and has also released several follow-up singles on Mad Decent.

In 2015, he released a 6-track EP, Nu Renegade, with Leila.[14]

Zebra Katz was featured on the track "Sex Murder Party" from virtual band Gorillaz fourth studio album Humanz. He was also featured on two bonus tracks ("The Apprentice" alongside artists Rag'n'Bone Man and Ray BLK and "Out of Body", with Kilo Kish and Imani Vonsha) from Humanz.

Discography[edit]

Mixtapes[edit]

  • Champagne (2012)
  • Drklng (2013)

EPs[edit]

  • Winter Titty (2012) (with Boyfriend)
  • Tear the House Up: Remixes (2014) (with Hervé)
  • 1 Bad Bitch: Remixes (2014) (with Ten Ven + Ripley)
  • Nu Renegade (2015) (with Leila)

Singles[edit]

  • "Ima Read" (2013)
  • "Tear the House Up" (2014) (with Hervé)
  • "Hello Hi" (2016)

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Tanika - "Thoughts of Love" from Thoughts of Love (2013)
  • Kura - "Our Sun" from Our Sun (2015)
  • Gorillaz - "Sex Murder Party", "The Apprentice", and "Out of Body" from Humanz (2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Zebra Katz: 'Creating a strong, black, queer male is something that needed to happen'". The Guardian, May 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "We Invented Swag: NYC's Queer Rap". Pitchfork, March 21, 2012.
  3. ^ "Fashion Week season's hottest soundtracks: Zebra Katz, Azealia Banks, Rae Morris". Yahoo! News, March 12, 2012.
  4. ^ Cochrane, Lauren (7 March 2012). "How Zebra Katz became fashion's hot soundtrack". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  5. ^ Maxwell Kupper, Oliver. "Ima Read". Zebra Katz - Ima Read. Pas Un Autre. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Zebra Katz, Mykki Blanco and the rise of queer rap". The Guardian, June 9, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "Zebra Katz’ ‘Ima Read’ remixed by Tricky, Grimes, Azealia Banks and more". Fact, August 7, 2012.
  8. ^ "You Have to Know the Context". The New York Times, March 14, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Zebra Katz Is Booking It". Interview.
  10. ^ "Zebra Katz Talks Busta Rhymes, Covering Tiffany's 'I Think We’re Alone Now' & 'DRKLNG' Mixtape". Billboard, May 24, 2013.
  11. ^ "Hip Hop's Queer Pioneers". Details, October 2012.
  12. ^ "Listen to New Releases From Kylesa and Zebra Katz on Pitchfork Advance". Pitchfork, May 16, 2013.
  13. ^ "Azealia Banks/Zebra Katz". New Musical Express, October 15, 2012.
  14. ^ Sauvalle, Julien (June 11, 2015). "WATCH: Zebra Katz's Mesmerizing New Video, 'Nina Simone'". Out. Retrieved May 8, 2017.

External links[edit]