“Making Time” in the Washington City Paper

Listen: D.C.’s Summer Jams

Source: Washington City Paper
Author: Marcus J. Moore, Julian Kimble & Ally Schweltzer

Look, summer jams are a thing. A stupid thing, maybe; a “bullshit media construct,” as Esquire (rightly) put it last year. But summer is also a construct. It’s a state of mind—a drunken one fed by U Street Tacos and lowbrow bangers. People do dumb things in the summer, like wear brown flip-flops and set off fireworks at 2 p.m. on July 5. So open your arms to D.C.’s very own supply of summer songs. Not all of them are mindless truck-rattlers, of course; several of the best tracks are soothing, like aloe vera for a sunburn. But the dumb ones aren’t harming anything, except maybe our brains, and you don’t need one of those to love a summer jam.


One Track Mind: Zo!, ManMade via The Washington City Paper

Source: Washington City Paper
Author: Marcus Moore

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.”