Pittsburgh rapper Pet Zebra teamed up with producer Hungerforcebeats for his June mixtape, Still Here.
Already a master of banter–heavy hedonism, Zebra takes a wearier, more reflective route on the project’s title track. Backed by a languid instrumental pulled straight from a smoke-filled daydream, the rapper surveys the past decade in his mental rearview, proudly staking his claim as a gritty veteran of the Pittsburgh scene. In a place where you “can’t even hit the store without your gun,” Zebra has stuck it out and thrived, working to rack up dollar signs on his own rather than chasing a record deal. All he wants is a “meal on my plate and a mill in my safe,” fair dues for any person. A recorded sample of a woman (the artist’s mom, possibly?) testifying to Zebra’s musical commitment further establishes his bona fides as a craftsman. To top it off, in a way that brings to mind Quavo (of Migos fame), Zebra’s voice has a sheen to it (even without auto-tune) that makes everything coming out of his mouth sound cool as fuck. Abiding by the wisdom that it’s better to shun the race altogether than it is to be a hare or a tortoise, “Still Here” is a resolute testament to the long game.