One of the south’s rising new entities is no doubt Block Entertainment. With the success of Boyz in the Hood and Yung Joc, the newest stallion to come out of the gate is Gorilla Zoe with Welcome to the Zoo. With the popular single “Hood Nigga,” the self-proclaimed “king of the jungle” plans to show everyone that he isn’t to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, Gorilla Zoe is unable to achieve this as his first full-length album is nothing more than mediocre and nothing less than horrible.
What makes this album disappointing is that it comes off as a poor man’s Young Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 101 with its overuse of tales of drug dealing, trap houses, and getting high. This is a problem because Gorilla Zoe does not possess the wittiness or the ad-lib making ability that made Mr. 17.5 so entertaining on his first LP. This is clearly evident on “Money Man,” a track that discusses cocaine by analogously using white celebrities as references. Haven’t we heard this before? Also, the guest appearances do not help take this album to the next level by that the only featured artists are those who are on Block Entertainment/Bad Boy Entertainment. This does not add any variety or diversity to the album, which it desperately needs. Adding to this problem is the fact that on most of the guest appearances Gorilla Zoe gets overshadowed (by Jody Breeze), sounds too similar to the featured artist (Yung Joc), or just falls in line with the rest of the pack (as in the case of “Real MotherFucker” with Boyz in the Hood). The only positive aspect of this album, if it is to have one, is the production. But beats with heavy bass and catchy rhythms are not enough to enhance this record; it only makes it that more tolerable.
On an artist’s first offering it is their job or better yet, their opportunity to let the mass public know who they are and what makes them that way. Gorilla Zoe obviously does not seize upon this moment. From what it seems he just takes the ever so familiar road to conformity so many artists take. Because of this Welcome to the Zoo is in all actuality not that welcoming and just might not even be worth the visit. - Ryan Harrison
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