One Track Mind: Zo!, ManMade
Standout Track: No. 11, “Body Rock,” an eight-minute slow burner that sounds borrowed from Prince’s sex-ballad songbook. Over light piano and drum taps, Sy Smith gently coos, “I don’t need another love, you make my body rock.” It’s the final track on Lorenzo “Zo!” Ferguson’s new album, ManMade, which finds the Silver Spring composer experimenting with dance music, varied time signatures, and traditional soul.
Musical Motivation: Zo! wanted to create an ode to ’90s R&B. He chose Sy Smith for the vocals after conferring with collaborator Phonte Coleman, frontman of the North Carolina-based Foreign Exchange, who wrote the lyrics. ManMade is Zo!’s first album as a full-time musician; the Detroit native made his last one, the 2010 LP SunStorm, while teaching music at Rock Creek Academy in Van Ness. “I had more time to give to this album,” Zo! says. “That gave me more time to push the creative envelope.”
On the Grind: “Body Rock” is an “adult-time joint,” says Zo! “When you wanna have your quiet time with your significant other, you don’t wanna hip-hop ’em to death, you wanna slow grind,” he says. “That’s what we’re giving them with this record.”