Calling all rap, bass music and football fans. If you’re looking to join a new kop (editor’s note: a stand where the groups of hooligans are during a football match) – look no further. Let us introduce you to Hazzah – a young artist who’s just released the first track of his collaboration with beat-maker ONZ – 'Level'.
Last week, the excitement was real when the Franco-British rapper – Hazzah – shared an excerpt of his debut EP in collaboration with an upcoming beat-maker – ONZ – giving us a little taste of what this project is all about. Showcasing pink and green neon lights, the video clip sets a mysterious and intriguing ambiance of London’s nightlife, accompanied by the absolute tune that is 'Level'. Heavy bass lines, a revolving guitar and Hazzah’s grave, husky vocals blend well together on this first release, which has a bit of everything for everyone – and which got those signature black and white flags flapping all the more.
Harry – AKA Hazzah – and Guillaume – ONZ – come straight from a small town in the North-West of France called Cherbourg. Being home to the famous and mythical Jacques Demy film – Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, the town’s music scene seems to be mainly rock oriented. Harry himself used to be in a grunge band called Juice a few years back – which gave him a feel for the industry up to some degree. However, today, a couple of rappers have emerged from this pretty-looking town, including ZEDOG – who released his debut EP entitled Z last December – and of course, Hazzah.
Finding the right balance between electronic beats, rock-like vocals and rap influences, the twenty-three-year-old explains: “I want people to listen to my music like they’d listen to a banging rock album.” In the current music landscape, we can take our pick when it comes to rap artists as the genre seems to be flourishing every day. And if anything has come out of the palette of artists who’ve topped the charts over the years – whether in the US, UK or France – it is that rap music can be combined with just about anything.
Going back to when Hazzah and ONZ started making music together, it all began during the summer of 2019. The rapper remembers how it came from a common desire to try and make something out of their respective musical influences. A tricky project which was set to find the middle ground between some grungy vocals and powerful bass music instrumentals. “We’re both huge fans of the current rap music scene,” explains Hazzah. “We could see what was happening in the US with artists like Lil Peep, Post Malone, and even XXXTentacion – that’s to say that rap music could be combined with different worlds and various genres to become one unique style. And we thought ‘Why shouldn’t we try it too? We could do the same.’ That’s how it all started.”
Their debut video clip for 'Level' has introduced Harry and Guillaume’s personas to a growing audience. Speaking of which, Hazzah was keen to tell us a bit more about this mysterious, confident-looking guy wearing chic sunglasses. “Hazzah is someone who’s just like everyone else,” states the Cherbourg-born artist. “He’s passionate about football, he loves rock music and he’s a rapper. He’s also very serious and melancholic – he’s been overwhelmed by life, by his everyday habits – and he’s sick of it. He's ready to spell out some home truths in a way [laughs].” Watching 'Level' unfold into this night-time road trip around London, it’s obvious ONZ and Hazzah complement each other well, making both their worlds collide in this levelled masterpiece.
As our conversation went on, we spoke about the black and white flag which seems to be all over the lad’s Instagram account. For those of you who already follow Hazzah, you will have noticed the birth of a fervent community, before anything was even released. The “kop” as he calls it, refers to the same phenomenon which takes place during football matches. “As well as being passionate about music, I’m also a big football fan,” begins the artist. “We wanted to involve our audience in our project, and we thought of the hooligan phenomenon as – although I’m not a hooligan in real life [laughs] – they’re hardcore faithful supporters to their football club. And in the football stands, you can always see the kops forming, proudly waving their flags. We thought it would be quite fitting for our project.”
This symbol seems to be working rather well for them and there’s no doubt their audience will be recruiting new members in the near future. To that, Hazzah was pleased to add “if you’re someone who likes rock music and everything that’s happening in the current rap music scene – you’re welcome to join the kop [laughs]!”
The lads’ collaboration is probably one of the most promising projects coming out of Cherbourg to date. Going from one genre to another, this is the logical continuation of Hazzah’s works as a songwriter. Although he went through a phase of writing solo material – following Juice’s disband – he missed being part of a group. “Working with Guillaume today, even though we don’t rehearse like a band would do – we communicate a lot via social media,” states Hazzah. “And there’s still that feeling that there’s two of us in this project, which is really motivating, especially when we’re doing something we love.” Bearing in mind Harry’s living in London and Guillaume in Paris, they’ve found ways of keeping their production going thanks to the wizardry of the 21st century’s technologies, which goes to show that when the motivation’s there – distance is nothing.
Both artists are part of a small independent label – Parade Black Label – launched by Hazzah’s manager – Mathis Robin – and ONZ himself. This project was initially a streetwear clothing brand, “they released a few samples of clothing a few years ago, but it stayed between their close circle of friends,” remembers Hazzah. “But then they came up with the idea of starting their own record label, as well as keeping the streetwear clothing brand side of things.” At present, Parade Black Label has three artists – Hazzah, ONZ and ZEDOG. While it’s currently a growing project, Harry was pleased to tell us they’re not ruling out the possibility of expanding and signing other artists.
ONZ and Hazzah are planning on releasing their collaborative EP soon, and while they haven’t shared a date yet, we can expect to see more of the two Cherbourgeois over the next few months. This project has only just been introduced to their audience, and yet it’s already growing on us like an addictive substance. One thing’s for sure, Hazzah and ONZ’s collaboration is definitely “on another level”...
'Level' is available on all streaming platforms.
Make sure to join the kop by following Hazzah’s Instagram account: hazzahkop.