Categories: New Music

Maryland Recording Artist Zel? Delivers a Darkly Haunting Project Dubbed “Mode de Vie.”

In a musical era defined by incredibly boring sameness, some artists are content getting up to speed with the contemporary curve, while others are determined to sit on a plateau above it. Maryland-based multifaceted artist and rapper Zel? is definitely in the latter camp. He creates music that defies categorization but still has a distinctive sound, thanks to the layered vocals of Frank Ocean and the genre-bending persona of Prince. With every release, Zel? uses every ounce of his will to make the weight of his lyrics cascade with bruising and deeply affecting impact. Between the protean aesthetic and the up-and-coming artist’s manically larger-than-life charisma, Zel? aims to open up the infinite through his music.

His deep, gritty, and raspy voice, unique cadence, and delivery set him apart in the world of hip-hop and rap. His vocal style is characterized by its raw energy and intensity, which he often uses to convey emotion and attitude in his music. With his new project “Mode de vie” which is like a dark sequel to his previous project “Now and Forever,” Zel? showcases his vocal strengths perfectly; his voice ranges from melodic and smooth to aggressive and powerful, allowing him to experiment with various vocal techniques and styles.

So, what’s “Mode de vie” all about? For starters, it’s so much more than infectious music; this is a way of life and should be treated as such. Zel? goes above and beyond with this one. It is taking us down a dark alley that is hauntingly beautiful and unforgettable. And can I just say that the producers of this project were on steroids, because what are those beats?

There are just so many standouts here that it’s impossible to choose. We’ve been spoiled for choice with this epic tour de force. “2AM In Paris” really did leave a lasting impression on me. The beat here is sick, and it has been repeatedly playing in my head. On the mic, Zel? does not let this hypnotic beat go to waste; his voice is a defining element of this jam, contributing to that distinctive sound and making this a standout masterpiece in the album.

Another special jam has to be “They Askin,” which is a signature blend of alternative R&B and hip-hop, showcasing Zel?’s versatility. This jam hits a listener deep inside and feels like when the effects of drugs start kicking in and you are enjoying every moment of it. The artist takes you to a whole new world and leaves you high, even if you don’t do drugs. In a nutshell, “They Askin” is about the power of music to transport a listener to another dimension.

“Swag Musik” has this ear-winning bassline backed by trap hi-hats that is best enjoyed at maximum volume. Zel?’s haunting vocals blend graciously with the contagious beat as he delivers a thought-provoking performance reminiscent of an emcee at the top of his game.

“I’m The One” features a braggadocios Zel? whose energy is off the roof. This track is very dark and haunting, with his vocal showcase almost reminiscent of an artist like Lil Uzi Vert. The instrumentation is dynamic, and the lyrical finesse is there to enjoy.

“HIT!” is many things; this jam brings the worlds of hip-hop and indie rock together, and the result is sublime. It features that head-nodding beat as you feel the music deep inside you. The electric riffs in the background accentuate its rock thrill as Zel? makes his mark with some freakish firepower and an unforgettable hook that will continue lingering in the heart long after the final notes fade away.

Zel?’s deep voice in “Lucid Activities” gave me similar vibes as Yeat. And not to say that they are similar or something, but the fact that he can change his vocals depending on the beat and inspiration gives him an edge over other artists.

Like I said, there are so many standouts from “Mode de vie”; you just have to stream it in its entirety and choose your poison!



Founder of Tunepical, a blog dedicated to sharing my love of music with you. I believe that music is the key to life, and if you're listening to the right songs at the right time, everything is possible!

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