- Emo was everywhere in 2017. Pivotal bands reunited, new outfits formed and a generation of hip-hop artists raised on the style brought it to rap music. Emo is also appearing in dance music, thanks to artists such as Organ Tapes. Through crews like Bala Club and Tobago Tracks, Tim Zha has close connections to the experimental club scene, but he makes bedroom hip-hop with sing-songy mumbles that should be familiar to anyone who had a downtrodden teenage phase.
If there's anything that Zha shares with emo rappers like Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Peep, it's the ability to make music that feels both DIY and polished. His autotuned mushmouth means that only half of his lyrics are intelligible, but his melodies drip with feeling. You don't have to understand everything on "Di Qiu," which features the sound of something like a Mellotron, nor do you need to decipher the lyrics on the tropical "Li Bu Kai."
Zha's production on Into One Name is laced with intricate details. He embeds the infamous beat to Clipse's "Grindin" into guitar-based emo on "New," while "Something" uses a bit-crushed synth that'll take you right back to 2001, dreaming of Evan and Chan. Even the opener, "Rust," essentially just piano and acoustic guitar, carries a certain majesty despite Zha sounding drunk, barely enunciating his words. Sounding tossed-off yet profound is Into One Name's greatest triumph. On the upbeat closer, "Streets," Zha rides the broken beat like waves, coming off somewhere between a rapper and an R&B singer. It's hard to pin down what Zha is—singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, emo raconteur? He's maybe all of those and none of those.
02. Di Qiu
05. Li Bu Kai feat. Yayoyanoh
06. Can I Know feat. Malibu
07. All Night