West London’s Apex Zero has come a long way to emerge as one of the most impressive artists in the UK Hip Hop scene today, a status that was cemented and enhanced following the release and critical acclaim of his debut solo album “Reality Provoking Liberation” in October 2013. Having spent the last few years touring extensively, helping to build I Am Hip Hop magazine and becoming the newest member of the world-renowned digital production house Global Faction, Apex is set to release a new EP entitled “All and Nothing” and continue his growth as a creative force in Hip Hop and Bass music.
The essence of Apex Zero as a Hip Hop artist is reflected in his studious approach. As an emcee, he learned from the greats and developed his own identity and style. In his production, he has allowed his eclectic listening to blend with his Hip Hop influences. While studying the musical greats, and in some measure because of them, he took to the books to learn more on historical figures like Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and Huey P. Newton, and studied socialist philosophy, politics and African history. In effect, Hip Hop instilled the desire to self educate. That self-education is now at the core of Apex Zero’s philosophy; Hip Hop is his creative extension.
As one half of London’s First and Last crew, Apex started as a young teenager and became a regular on the city’s live scene, appearing at the renowned ‘Speaker’s Corner’ and ‘End of the Weak’ events (including at the 2010 world finals in Berlin), where he’d rub shoulders with many of the scene’s finest underground artists, creating relationships that remain strong to this day. Prior to 2010, First and Last released a series of mixtapes which saw them work with producers Nickel (Lowkey & Logic), Craze & Hoax (Emeli Sande, Giggs), perform alongside Akala, Lowkey, Dubbledge & Kyza and appear on compilations alongside Terra Firma, Ghetts, Foreign Beggars and M9. Their reputation for hardcore rhymes and shows soon began to spread. It’s a trademark delivery style that has stuck with Apex Zero ever since, fierce and powerful rhymes with intelligent wordplay and subject matter. Apex has collaborated with Triple Darkness members Iron Braydz and Phoenix Da Icefire, Hasan Salaam (of Immortal Technique’s Viper Records), Amy True, Manage and eMCee Killa of Caxton Press, Invincible Armour (Zulu Nation/DMC) and a number of other highly skilled and well reputed artists.
Apex describes his style as “Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop”. It retains the underlying themes of social and political issues over beats that act as a rollercoaster ride to match the emotions. This impressive combination is balanced perfectly and acknowledges both the need to express his thoughts and the need to entertain. This has been recognized and lauded by critics and supporters alike, highlighted in the hugely positive global press “Reality Provoking Liberation” received, including a four-star review in MOJO magazine, an 8/10 in Blues and Soul magazine and a nomination for Wordplay magazine’s 2013 album of the year. The album was also accompanied by visually stunning music videos, assembled by Global Faction, which perfectly capture the essence of Apex’s sound and message.
Following the release of his album, Apex Zero began regularly hosting and emceeing at Reggae, D&B, Jungle and Bass music events with the underground London veteran DJ Steaz (Speaker’s Corner/We Are Dubist) and became involved with I Am Hip Hop magazine, expressing his views on Hip Hop and its connection to society. He has since interviewed Hip Hop legends Dead Prez and Onyx for the publication, and more recently Ghetts, in association with Global Faction. In addition to spreading his ideas as a journalist, Apex has given lectures and convened workshops at a number of universities and at a wide range of events aimed at different forms of social activism and grassroots community organization.
Aiming to broaden his horizons both musically and intellectually, Apex Zero travelled to Beijing, China in 2014. After only a few months he began making waves in the underground music scene, performing at Hip Hop events around the city, including supporting Thailand’s Bangkok Invaders at ‘The Turn Up!’, Nasty Ray’s infamous ‘Natural Flavor’ night and ‘Section 6’, the long running Hip Hop platform created by the pioneer of Chinese Hip Hop, MC Webber. In 2015, Apex Zero shared the stage at Dada, Beijing with Congo Natty family members Nanci & Phoebe and DJ Snuff (Speakers Corner/EOW), where
his performance gained the attention of the city’s leading Bass music crew, The Syndicate. He officially joined the crew a few months later and became the resident emcee for their events, where he held down performances with UK heavyweights OM Unit, Sam Binga, My Nu Leng and Shanghai based
DJ/producer Conrank. With his reputation growing, Apex Zero performed at a number of events across China, including ‘INTRO Festival’ 2015 and supporting Jamaica’s Perfect Giddimani as part of UBC’s ‘JamAfreeca’ 2015 tour.
In 2016, Apex continued making progress, warming up the crowd for Ras Demo (Demolition Man) in Beijing and playing the Shanghai leg of the ‘Night SHFT’ warehouse festival tour with Conrank, sharing the stage with UZ, OG Maco and DJ Wordy. Before deciding to return to the UK, he left China on a high with a six date tour, which included 3 festival performances. Following this successful tour, Apex organized, hosted and performed at Beijing’s first inclusion in ‘International Reggae Day’, a global celebration of African-Caribbean culture, Reggae music and the styles it has inspired marked by events around the globe, all streamed live on July 1st. Collaborating with numerous organizations, including Chinese tube sites Youku and Todou, the intimate session at FlashBeatBone Studios streamed performances from some of Beijing’s best Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop artists across China to 400,000 live viewers. Before arriving back in London, Apex also connected with the Hip Hop community in Japan, headlining at ‘Sapporo Cypher’, the northern city’s premiere Hip Hop event.
In his live performances, Apex Zero produces an electric energy and stage presence that supporters and audiences have come to expect from this dynamic emcee, whose lyrical potency is equally matched by the depth of his content and his ability to move a crowd. It is this highly impressive combination that hardcore Hip Hop and Bass music fans love, a combination that Apex Zero undoubtedly possesses, and is the reason why his reputation in the UK, China and around the world continues to grow with every performance and release.
Apex Zero’s next project will be the EP “All and Nothing” set for release in April 2017. The EP captures the creative and artistic growth inspired by his travels, both lyrically and sonically, remaining true to his Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop style whilst integrating and fusing influences of various bass driven styles. “All and Nothing” will feature collaborations with pioneering Chinese Hip Hop and Reggae artist MC Webber aka Raddam Ras, New York emcee Jackson Turner, Cameroonian/French Reggae singers UBC, as well as OMeza Omniscient from First and Last, with production from OMeziah, Frank Freeman, GI and in:theory. The EP was mastered by veteran producer Chemo and will feature music videos by Global Faction and Chinese film and video director Simon Yu. “All and Nothing” will be released by Design Chaos, with DB Bros Records releasing it in China.