Multi-faceted London-based rapper/songwriter Apex Zero is pushing the boundaries of art as he embarks on a multicultural exploration into media, music and theatre. His latest effort titled Drummer Warrior Storyteller is a brilliant body of work that discusses Apex's personal experiences as an African Caribbean man growing up in London, intertwined with the lives of wider migrant and diasporic communities, with the aim to honestly depict some of the battles and pressures faced, as well as the joys, growth and moments of liberation. The project was recently showcased on stage as a theatre production at the Rich Mix and now Apex returns to bring it to the screens in a short film format.
The EP is produced by Apex himself, Al Lawson, DJ In:Theory and legendary UK Hip Hop producer Micall Parknsun, with internationally renowned features Crazy Haze, Mazzi (US), and Nilotika Cultural Ensemble (Uganda) and they all bring a wide variety of sounds to the forefront. As a 5 track project, Apex sticks to the theme strictly to deliver a cohesive train of thought while using linear and non-linear storytelling and different cultural perceptions of time. From the rumbling drums on the opener “Anthills of the savannah(on Memory)" featuring Nilotika Cultural Ensemble to the sombre and insightful “Manifest(On Freedom)" featuring Crazy Haze, Mazzi, and Micall Parknsun, Apex runs through real-time issues concurrently with his own life experiences. He acknowledges his flaws and errors and like the Phoenix, he finds a new path from the turbulent past. The project closes out with the tracks "This Riddim" (On Ancestors)" and "Live Free (On Insurrection)", two records that showcase different sides of Apex's artistry. The former sees him delivering his lines in spoken word format and slowly builds up with each line punctuated with much intensity and emotions about growth and the dynamism of human existence over a drumless and melancholic soundscape. The latter takes elements from Drum & bass and hip-hop with its cinematic soundscape and rousing energetic drum grooves that ebb and flow as Apex reminds us not to back down because the system is working overtime to keep the masses underneath them.
Overall the project is dense, edgy and extremely cohesive and while it might be heavy for some listeners but regardless if you like tightly knit conceptual projects, Drummer Warrior Storyteller (Part One) will more than satisfy you.
The short film was created with creative producer Steph Be and Muti Musafiri’s Village 101 Studios who also bring in some of the world’s finest contemporary and Hip Hop choreographers and dancers to help complete the mission. The result is a 14-minute-long epic visual that explores social and political issues with excellent storytelling and expressive choreography and abstract motifs to drive the message home.