Hailing from Brooklyn, New York emcee Zen Dash puts together an impressive album filled with experimental sounds, video game sound FX, and high-level raps. TRENTA3 is Zen’s latest offering in his series of cutting edge projects. The tracklist includes twelve eye-opening track names – a few of my favorite titles are: ‘I’m Broke, Buy This Album”, “Dali Llama”, “King of Lazer Ball”. This album is the product of (as Zen puts it) “3 years of hard work; the 3rd of 3 fantasies”. While you embark on this musical journey, you tend to understand the deliberate effort and courageous leap-of-faith that Zen guides you on.
Using this album as my introduction to Zen, I have to say the amount of creativity is top-notch. The use of psychedelic samples and unique sound choices create a vibe that make the project stand out. Don’t expect to hear any typical references, trendy cadences, or formulaic songs. Zen separates himself from the sea of gun-totting, drug dealing rappers who are in the spotlight. The lyrical content inspires the listener to think critically while also revealing the sense of humor that Zen oozes. For example, “Tater Thot Freestyle” (produced by Mical Bae), Zen spits misogynistic bars (in a sarcastic tone), but is so self-aware that he alludes this to be ‘the stupidest thing I ever wrote’.
Production from Black Water, allthesmokey, Camoflauge Don, and others toss the alley-oop and allow Zen to slam dunk over multiple songs. The tail end of the project showcases Zen’s introspective thought process which bleeds into his writing. I felt myself being transported to another universe as the project came to a close. This cohesive overarching soundscape creates a new and fresh take on the typical East coast boom-bap that NYC is known for.
Trenta3 is a well-seasoned and properly cured piece of audible prime rib. You can hear the hunger in Zen’s delivery through-out the 40+ minute musical odyssey. I felt as if I was looking at the earth from space while listening to this project (and that’s before I even sparked my joint). My best advice is to head to your nearest beach, mountain peak, rooftop, or patio and enjoy this revelatory piece of Zen’s mind, heart, and soul.