Shortly after moving to Nelson 2.5 years ago, my attention was drawn to a local madman producer & DJ, who would perform heavy, genre-bending sets in usually either a panda mask, or a Mexican wrestling mask. Melting the lines between hip hop, dancehall & bass music, this enigma turned out to be Yan Zombie of the infamous Kootenay-based CyphaNex hip hop crew (alongside pictured emcee Vs. and DJ Dig$).
I was fortunate enough to find myself working alongside Yan on a few successful shows around town, and shortly thereafter he handed me a copy of his full-length, self-released LP, entitled The Hold On Tight: Analogue Slices of Love & Confusion. The album is a fully realized, 24-track affair of soulful instrumental hip hop, with every sound lovingly sampled directly from DJ Dig$’ vinyl collection. The album is available for download here from his bandcamp, and you can preview about half the tracks below via his soundcloud.
Recently he also won Best Electronic Artist at this year’s inaugural Kootenay Music Awards in Nelson, in which his cohort Vs. also received a nod with a nomination for the year’s Best Album. Late last year he also put together a wicked mixtape for Montreal-based podcast J’aime Le Dubstep, riddled with zombie attack soundclips, vocal drops from MC Zulu & banging original production, including his collaboration with Neighbour of Homebreakin’ Records.
Yan continues to plug along at a frenzied level of high-quality output, including his recent remix of one of my favorite MC Zulu tracks, a tune he did with Ghislain Poirier a few years back, entitled “Immigrant Visa.“ The outright bashment soca vibes of the original can be a bit much for certain environments, and I think he really nailed it with this “hyper-lounge / footwork” rework.
Eighty BPM seems to be a sweet spot lately for Yan as he also posted this trapped out beat in which he samples a Nas acapella, called “Supply The Block.” Yan’s also got a fresh remix out on East Van Digital of a Vancouver-bred tune featuring local MC Spyte with producers Dee Bass & label-head Joseph Martin. And yes, you can catch Yan Zombie here in Vancouver this Friday for our 4/20 Earth-week kick-off session at the W2 Media Cafe at 112 W Hastings, alongside Mochipet, MC Zulu, the Librarian, myself & many more.