YOUNG BUT WELL-SEASONED Kollie.
Providence-based wordsmith Zumo Kollie made his mark on the Rhody rap community with his 2009 debut, The Idiot Savant. His smooth delivery and wordplay (self-described as "elegant ADD") glistened atop jazzy beats and showed a ton of potential lyrically. Kollie returned earlier this summer with another mixtape titled The Last Showing, and now that potential has been tapped in earnest. A LaSalle Academy grad, Kollie earned his degree from URI last spring and sounds as if he is ready to jettison the place he dubbed "the ocean where the sharks be at." He sounds like a man on the move, literally.
"I'm taking this next year or two to put in the work and really get my music out there," Kollie told me when we caught up to plug his supporting slot for indie-rap hero Apathy at the Met (a great bill also featuring locals Meta P, Big Rush, and Sense One).
"I'm born and bred right here in the Renaissance and I've only really known this for as long as I've been alive," said 21-year-old Kollie. "My right-hand man and I have been talking, and a change of scenery in the near future is necessary, maybe Cali or New York City. It's just a matter of time.
"In Providence, like anywhere else, you're going to start thinking this is all that exists if you don't move around and see that the world is moving," he continued. "You stand in the same place and I guarantee you'll miss it.
"But you can hear it in my voice that this place is where my heart is, and this what I speak for."
The stream of-consciousness flow Kollie first delivered on Savant picks right back up on the "Last Showing Intro," where he debates with himself re: the stay-or-go sentiment: "I love my hometown like I own the crowd/but crowds don't line up when I put the flow down," followed by, "I fought to be more than a local rapper I swear/If the world is to follow the locals gotta be there — first."
Andrew Martin, a Rhody native and chief scribe for the knowledgeable music site Potholesinmyblog.com added Kollie's "Victory Lap" to his '09 Ocean State Sampler, and refereed to his latest as "one of the year's best projects to date." I concur, and highly recommend copping The Idiot Savant and The Last Showing free-of-charge at zumokollie.bandcamp.com.
Having written his first rhyme at age nine and cut his first track by 14, Kollie refers to himself as "young, but well-seasoned"; on "Times of Our Lives," he references "GQ niggas tryin' to be en vogue," and offers honest insight on the a cappella "DreamChasers Interlude" ("The lavish life we all want, yeah include me — but watch when you chase it, man, that first step's a doo-zee"); and on the standout cut "It Was On My Mind," he offers, "I'm scared out my mind but I think I'll be fine/I'll just eat the cheese and sip the wine, and stay away from guys who say 'swag' or 'grind.' " Conscientious rhymes glide over steely beats during the latter half, particularly on "Dreams End" and "Let Me Chill." And you need to hear Kollie rhyming over acclaimed Brooklyn-via-Providence duo Javelin on "Zero Hour."