Monday, May 11, 2009
Lost & Sound: Big Zak-Major Visibility (2006)
You ever been riding around and some song you haven't heard in a long time just pops in your head? It happens to me all of the time. Thing that sucks for me is that its usually a song from an album that I haven't heard in forever and have no clue where to find it.
The latest song for me was Jazze Pha & Ceelo featuring Aaron Hall's "Share."
The random collaboration came about from that Goodtime Guys project that Jazze and Cee-Lo were supposed to put out 3-4 years ago. Since that project never dropped, I guess they just start leaking songs out and putting them on random CDs. One of those CDs was Shonuff producer/songwriter/artist Big Zak's Major Visibility.
Since I was on a roll last week of finding old CDs, I figured I'd start searching for this one. It didn't take long for me to find it actually. It was on a CD spool in my closet, stuck between an advance press copy of dead prez' RBG and a CD that I will be featuring for Lost and Found next week ;-)
Now, the homie Big Zak is very talented cat. That 2004-2007 run that Jazze and his "productshizzles" had were due in large part to Zak's ghost and hook writing. Everything from Ciara's "Goodies" to Lloyd's "Get It Shawty" Zak had something to do with. He's always been one of those dudes that you always seen in the studio, but never quite knew what he did. Only thing I ever knew about dude prior to meeting him was that he was the guy who raps Greg Street's show intro. But when you'd see him out and saw how everyone kinda flocked to him, you had to know that he was doing something.
Sensing that, I guess Zak figured he'd put himself out there as an artist to show and prove to people that he wasn't just some dude hanging around Jazze Pha collecting checks. So, he put out a project called Major Visibility. If I remember correctly, they launched the campaign for this project in Houston during the 2006 NBA All-Star Weekend. I wound up interviewing Zak for Ozone on Labor day weekend up at Patchwerk Studios.
Up until then, I don't even think I heard the CD. I think I'd only heard his music through his myspace page. It was one of those type albums that was dope, but only got passed around in the industry. It never really made it out into the mom and pop stores and flea markets where the common folk like me get music. But anyway, Zak gave me the CD and I don't think it left the car for good little bit, the shit was riding.
Big Zak feat. Jazze Pha-"We Livin"
Big Zak feat. Jazze Pha & Cee-Lo-"Yeah Girl"
Going back listening to this, I'm gonna go ahead and say that Zak was making Atlanta swag music before "swag" became a code word for "I really can't rap, I'm just trying to look cool." Of course "swag" wasn't the popular thing to say in 2006, and folks that truly have swag don't have to self-proclaim it, but Zak's music is what comes to mind when I think of some cool-ass Atlatna-player shit. Just some ridin'-ass lifestyle music for the Players who Only Live Once. You know, people who don't have to wear expensive brands to look fresh, and they chose to, would still look good anyway.
Big Zak featuring Jazze Pha-"Show Off"
I think another thing I liked about Major Visibility was that even though it produced by Jazze Pha, none of it sounded like that industry standard Jazze Pha. Jazze Pha production fans from day one know what I mean. For a minute when Jazze was peaking, you could tell when someone just came at him with a check saying "give me that 'Jazze Pha shit'." But here, you could tell that Jazze was really trying to make the dopest music possible and not just trying to land a single. It probably helped that Zak and Jazze were actually music partners, so Zak knew what to do on Jazze's beats and Jazze knew what beats to give Zak.
Big Zak featuring 8Ball & MJG-"Colors"
Anyways, this post is getting lengthy so I will wrap it up now. The rest of the CD has features from Too Short, Slim Thug, and Blackowned C-Bone to name a few. I haven't seen or spoke to Zak in a hot minute, so I don't know what he's up to exactly. But according to his myspace page, he sprinkled some magic on Keri Hilson's "Turning Me On."
But before I go, I have to share another one of my favorite moments from the album. I guess during a session Greg Street fell through and anyone that's been around dude for longer than 10 minutes knows that dude loves to jone. So, I guess after while him and Jazze Pha's stylist Perry got into it and...I'll let you listen for yourself:
DOWNLOAD: Big Zak-Major Visibility