By Hassan Romieh
Zac Brooks and I have known each other since Freshman Advanced Physical Science. He comes from a family of creatives – his cousin is a promising graphic designer, and his sister is a talented actress. At our high school graduation ceremony, he performed a saxophone solo and rapped for everyone. So It does not surprise me that Boom Bap Zac is carrying on his family’s creative legacy, while maintaining his enthusiasm for his craft. Everyone seems to say the same thing about Boom Bap Zac: “It’s always a good conversation when he’s around.” So this past week was no disappointment, as I visited Boom Bap Zac in Sacramento with fellow writer and one-third of A Culture Project team Avery Baker. We sat down with the longtime musician and vocalist to talk about his inspiration for becoming an artist, growing up in a talented family, and the journey leading to his first album.
Released June 2018, Medieval Millennials is a meditative mix of calming psychedelic sound and soulful vibes. The album artwork was designed by Boom Bap Zac’s cousin Jordyn Alvidrez, and photographed by creative companion Kelman Choice. At first glance his cover art reflects the overwhelming flow of millennial emotions in a succinct, eight track project. From the abstract color scheme behind Boom Bap Zac’s face to the iconic image of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists at the 1968 Olympic Games faintly placed in the background, the cover art is thought provoking and uniquely interesting, just like the sound of his music. Music is more popular than ever and with that comes even more critics. Boom Bap Zac trusts himself and his creativity. We asked him how he maintains his image and direction as a millennial speaking for individuality and love.
Q: What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
A: “As an artist we sometimes face the challenge of other people not fucking with something we put out. At times like these you can either change or remain the same.”
Q: Medieval Millennials encourages listeners to look within, but more importantly, outwardly to the universe and nature around you. How does nature inspire you?
A: “There’s beauty in this world,” he said, “it’s a harsh reality, that societal norms place the pinnacle of beauty in ourselves, vanity. Well I encourage you to look beyond your toothpaste stain mirror and even past the window and go experience what Mother Nature has to offer…”
My first impression of Medieval Millennials was a meditative flow. In fact, midway through, I literally took the time to sit, breathe, and meditate. The album captures the middle ground of Rap and R&B. A calming wave of sounds crash to your ears and follow with clear rhymes and wavy vocals. Every song bounced off the other with consistency; which is why I was surprised when Boom Bap told me that this was a two-year project, a culmination of his best work during his college days and even stretching further back to high school.
Q: What was your main goal behind this project?
A: “I’d say the ultimate goal of the project was to put together something that would show my versatility as an artist. I don’t want to just be known as a singer, producer, or rapper. I do everything so why limit myself?”
Boom Bap Zac typically draws inspiration in a studio he has been building in his home. He has written a lot of his songs on the beach, emphasizing the feel-good soulful tone of the album as a whole. He’s spent the past few years between his hometown in Sacramento and studying at University of Nevada Reno, all while finalizing this two year project. Artists are more dynamic now than ever, and Zac proves his capability coming out of a small market. However, Medieval Millennials deserves worldwide recognition. An uninterrupted flow from beginning to end is bound to give you the chills that come from listening, and ultimately, feeling quality music.
Q: What is your favorite track on the project?
A: “I’m not sure if I can pick a favorite. I like them all.”
The opening track, “Beam Me Up,” serves as the perfect introduction to the project. It resembles the very beginning of any flight when the airplane breaks away from the runway and slices through the clouds. Maybe it’s because he quite literally sings, “rendezvous above the clouds and meet me in the sky”. Or perhaps it is how he successfully adjusts his vocals to form overlapping simple, yet smooth, melodies.
I get significantly lit just to do my shit – Boom Bap Zac, Float
The California anthem of the album, Float, is Boom Bap staying true to his roots in Sacramento and introducing his versatility. The hypnotic hook, “let’s float, float, float,” keeps it simple and soft.
For an eight song project, Medieval Millennials makes sure to hit a consistent vibe in a smooth flowing fashion. The opening songs bring us into Boom Bap Zac’s world of positive vibes, good smoke, and existentialism. The middle track, Summer Feels, evolves the second half of the project. Boom Bap Zac reminds his listeners of his versatility with drowned out high pitch rhymes, intertwined with wavy hooks and topped off with a closing track that is altogether motivating.
Believe in yourself… you know manifest… it’s really not that hard – Boom Bap Zac, Believe!
Medieval Millennials stands as the foundation for Boom Bap’s future work. As the debut album, it sets a tone for the hard work and thoughtfulness Boom Bap puts into his craft. So sit back, roll one, light one, and catch these vibes from Medieval Millennials by Boom Bap Zac.
He is currently working on new music and his focus is on perfecting what he has in store. Our team at A Culture Project is very excited for what he has in store.