Everyone’s favourite undead Austrian/Australian felines are set to launch their most ambitious project to date this week: Manifold.
A mission of fusion, Manifold sees the duo bringing two of their strongest musical passions together – hip-hop and drum & bass – with an all-star cast of rappers and MCs from the US and Europe. Each collaboration with result in two versions – one hip-hop, one D&B.
It starts this week with Huracan / Huracanes featuring none other than west coast Aftermath alumni The Game.
“Our agent thought we were joking!” the Cats tell 1 More Thing. “We were looking for a fresh challenge and have always loved hip-hop and wanted to work with more MCs and rappers so we aimed high and messaged The Game on Instagram. We knew he was interested in collaborating with electronic acts because of the work he did with Skrillex a few years ago so we gave it a shot. He actually got back to us straight away.”
The collaboration took place so quickly, the Cats didn’t even have a fresh beat to send the rapper. “We had to send him an old beat to rap over,” the duo admit. “Then we wrote the tracks that became Huracan and Huracanes.”
The slight difference in track titles is not a coincidence, as the Zombie Cats explain: “The idea is to name the versions separately. Each track will always start off as hip-hop but the drum & bass version isn’t just your typical drum & bass remix, we feel it’s a whole other track. It feels like downgrading the music to call it a remix. Both versions are equal.”
Huracan/Huracanes is out August 5 and will officially launch the Manifold project which is now in full flow as more vocalists are linking up with the duo. The next rapper to feature in the series will be G Unit member Kidd Kidd who was even speedier than The Game. “It seems working with The Game opens a lot of doors,” the D&B duo laugh. Kidd Kidd sent his lyrics back within hours and, like The Game, he was open to the multi-genre nature of the project. This time the duo were more prepared and had the beats ready to send to him.
“We want to send over both the hip-hop beat and drum & bass version to each rapper and MC so they can get into the vibe and understand what we are doing,” they explain. “We want to give them complete freedom with their lyrics and just get into the groove and put their own stamp on things. It’s really exciting, we never know what people are going to come back with.”
With a third rapper already on board – Pacewon, who was part of Eminem’s earliest crew Outsidaz – Manifold is developing a life of its own. UK MC Bellyman is set to appear in the project along with European MC Stunnah. More will be announced as Manifold gains momentum.
“With every person we talk to things take a different new turn,” the Zombie bois tell 1 More Thing. “Doing things this way means we don’t quite know where each collaboration will end or how it will all come together. It’s a very new way of working for us and very inspiring.”
The timing of it couldn’t be more exciting either. Hip-hop and drum & bass have always been close allies – it’s arguable that jungle is UK’s own answer to hip-hop culture full stop – but bridging this gap and making these links at a time when US drum & bass is currently on its most exponential trajectory since the late 90s is an exciting move that could influence many many more D&B/rap collaborations across both genres. 1 More Thing is excited to see and hear what comes next.