The Miami hip hop collective bring their distinctive sound to London, and their pervasive artwork to its Tube maps.
Text: Kelly Connelly
I’m a firm believer that “swag” must be used in extreme moderation. It’s an over-used, beat-up phrase with cringeworthy connotations. Honestly, though, Miami rap group Metro Zu’s notes are dripping with $wagger. These guys are constantly cranking out more and more delicious beats and cuts through their continual, ever-evolving Bandcamp page.
Metro Zu is a hip hop and art collective made up of Lofty305, Freebase, The Po$htronaut, and Astro$likk. Their home is the Zu Mansion, the soon-to-be pinnacle of the Miami-born creative process where they churn out an infinite stream of musical consciousness. Miami’s Art Basel really stepped into the spotlight this year as a premier event for artistic luminaries and music creatives alike, but Metro Zu truly personify the pervasive, all-encompassing creative energy that this movement is striving to attain. Their product is a 24/7 indulgent bender that sucks you in; their art and music has an all-consuming effect.
Freebase’s street-style artwork doesn’t have any limits. When I stopped by their place here in London, they said they went to the underground station and just took all the tube maps they had. They’ve been making images over the maps, communicating the subconscious message that Metro Zu’s art is everywhere, it’s everything.
Lofty 305 & Freebase have been hanging out in London for the past couple of months playing shows, opening for Oneman, stopping by NTS, and making silky smooth beats. I stopped by for a chat with the duo to see what they’ve been up to, and got a peek at some of those modified maps (which you can see in the gallery below).
What’s the Metro Zu process?
Lofty: We’re always making shit, all day all the time. It’s really organic. We’ll just throw up pro-tools, or make beats, jump on the beat, hang out with other people, bring them into the mix. We just make stuff and put it up all the time.
Freebase: Sorry I’m not very talkative, got a really bad cold. Shout out to Beechams, can we say this article is sponsored by those guys?
How did art come into the mix for Metro Zu?
Lofty: Freebase has always been making mad art, I’ve been getting into it a bit lately, check out this notebook I’m doing. But he’s ALWAYS making art.
What are your thoughts on the Miami music scene?
Lofty: Music in Miami is the best. Denzel Curry, Spaceghostpurrp, Ruben Slikk , all my Raiders, Chalk, Shuttle Life. Just everywhere you’ve got amazing stuff. Theres not a lot of attention on Miami but theres such an amazing collective here, we’ve got the trippiest, sickest rappers, lots of crossover collaborations.
What impact do you think Ultra has on the Miami reputation, do you think it’s negative?
Lofty: Nah. LMFAO was bad for Miami, and Will Smith. Fresh Prince was my shit but most of his music, come on.
Miami is known as sort of an Art Deco haven and also for its street art. Do you think the art you put out there is in line with that aesthetic?
Lofty: Nah. We don’t really know what we’re doing. Just drawing inspiration from everything really. Miami definitely inspires us but I wouldn’t define our art as a particular niche or anything.
How did you guys end up in London?
Lofty: Freebase came over a few months ago and was like, “London is cool as shit”, so we decided to just come over. We just do what we want. We’ve seen every grain of sand on the beach in Miami so its cool to try out some different places. And the girls in London are the best.
Have you spent time anywhere else?
Lofty: Yeah, we spent some time in New York sort of playing everywhere there, there’s so many venues. We played this one show in a yoga studio, it was all hot and steamy. We showed some art out there too.