Check out the audio interview first, if so inclined
I’m writing this review drenched in champagne. What can I possibly say about this show that would do it justice, that would offer a good comparison to another human activity? Well imagine having sex with sunshine, imagine being throughly ravaged by splendor. Zebra. Fucking. Katz, baby. I’m going to get mad at myself if I can’t write the most positive review I possibly can.
The night began with a frantic sprint to Húrra, hoping to catch an event that Frosti posted about on Facebook. I asked on his Facebook wall, “Who is this fine gentleman?” to which he replied,
“Zebra Fucking Katz, Chris.” His friend Áróra chimed in, “He’s Zebra Fucking Awesome.” So I decided to check it out, knowing absolutely nothing about the headliner, and having only just watched “Ima Read ft. Njena Reddd Foxxx” for the first time on YouTube. I took a screen grab of his Wikipedia page on my eight year old Blackberry and bolted for the venue. Something about this show seemed different…unique…culturally relevant.
His Wikipedia page says things like,
” He is part of a wave of “queer hip hop” artists who emerged in the 2010s, who were influenced by elements of the LGBT African American ball culture.” And in speaking of Ima Read, “…It has been described by The Guardian as “queer rap’s crossover hit”, and has been widely remixed by artists as diverse as Tricky, Azealia Banks, Gangsta Boo, Grimes and Busta Rhymes.”
Holy shit, this seemed like an important gig. Judging from what I read, It’s not everyday in RVK that we get to see someone genuinely, genuinely groundbreaking in the flesh.
En route I grabbed some slices of pizza and immediately ran into my friends Berglind and Dagný. Basically, whatever these girls are into is awesome, so finding out that they were at the show was pretty reassuring. I give props and a sincere thanks to both Arnór Gíslason and Kristinn Bjarnason, who both really deserve a lot of credit for bringing Zebra over, marketing him, promoting him, and putting this show together. Kristinn described the show to me, it seemed like it would be golden, magical. I sat down, had drinks with my pals, and patiently waited… for the Show of the Year to begin.
At the venue I found out that Gísli Pálmi and Kitty Von Sometime were involved, which lent this artist serious credibility. The set was minimal – the color pink engulfed the stage. DJ’s Moonshine, Kocoon and Techsoul started getting the crowd going…and from there on in, the ecstasy began.
The track selections were fucking ace. JAY, Kanye, Clams Casino, et al of the most uplifting tracks for ladies and gentlemen. Dirt Off Your Shoulder. Monster. I’m God. I felt like a million bucks. All I wanted to do was fuck and move. Didn’t hurt that everybody who rattles bones in Reykjavík was present – including the Queen…who will remain nameless. Here’s a hint, she just did an album with Death Grips (RIP). Iceland was in the house. I was in heaven, 66 parallel north.
Gísli took stage in a way that was surprising – he just got up there, and immediately everyone cried out. He’s just that amazing. He killed it with Swagalegt, Skynja Mig and Set Mig Í Gang. His chiseled body gleamed under the hot lights.
We were massing up as a crowd. The heat grew and grew…it sweltered in the venue. Our bodies compacted together, and I started feeling humanity surrounding all of my parts. Sex drives were nearing a boiling point. You couldn’t move. Everybody wanted to fuck.
Then. Then this equine feline took to the stage; an ultra Pretty Bitch. So swag, pimped out as a gimp. No no, more like the Gimp of all Gimps. The video played behind him highlighted his finest features, his smooth, angular face, his toned, jet black skin, his tight, tight pants. He starts rapping, eventually removing his gimp mask for another, Spider-Man like guise. Frosti and DJ Yamaho were on the decks, turning shit up. A force.
I looked into this man’s eyes, I looked into his eyes, and I saw a fierce intensity and beauty. We all know this is important shit to witness. “My name is Zebra. Fucking. Katz, and I am very excited to be here tonight.”
Welcome home, baby. You belong here.
I believe his words, I believe him. this man is gracefully, artfully, glamorously tearing down one of the last taboos in hip hop. I hope he makes out with me.
The crowd was a riot; raucous and roaring. I have never in my life seen an audience so intensely engaged with an artist. This city is burning to release this energy built up inside: this carnal, coital colossus of multicolored Cock and Cunt and Fury had to go. It was maxed up – we could have sold it on tap. We were all pimps tonight. We were all Bad Bitches.
Hey Ladies. Last Name Katz. DRKLNG. Sex Sellz. Ima read…Ima read…Ima read. Zebra jumped into the crowd and got smothered with adoration. Everyone tore at him. We all caressed his smooth thighs and went for his pouty lips. He brought some slick men and women on stage, who kicked and ripped and dipped and tricked. Shit turned up. Zebra hung from the beams. The minimal hip hop he produces is like freshly squeezed sex.
Men and women clawed at him. He had to ask us to relax. Zebra doused us in champagne, twice. No trip. It was a party for everyone, where everyone was a ravishing, stunning star.
When it ended, I felt a spirit of unity with this city like I’ve never felt before. Good for us. We embrace this man. We are what we say we are. I hope we all went home feeling rich and famous.