After slinging us his debut single ‘Killa’ last year, TAPZ has been on our radar for his intricate, pulsating tracks. Sitting third in the tracklist, ‘Killa’ pushes TAPZ’s fierce rapping to the forefront, over a huge wall of sound including rumbling bass, trap beats and hypnotic backing vocals.
TAPZ promptly followed this up with ‘Run Don’t Run’, the closing track on the EP, which details his parents’ move from Zimbabwe to New Zealand when TAPZ was 10 years old. He shares “They left everything to give me everything. ‘Run Don’t Run’ is a note to self; a reminder … I must leave everything to give everything.” The track throws out some catchy hooks, as TAPZ’s vocals take on more soulful melodies but never lose their cutting rhythm.
In one final tease, TAPZ shared fourth track ‘Murder Murder’ earlier this year, continuing to pump out his sinister, high energy r’n’b with an aggressively anthemic chorus. But as Beautiful Nightmare reveals, TAPZ’s formidable songcraft doesn’t end with the singles.
Opening track ‘Shadow’ is a telling start to the violent goodness of the EP, as pitch-shifted vocals morph into an icy cold synthscape and gut-punching beats. Every split-second of the slow-tempo track is packed with relentless darkness.
Second track ‘Didn’t Know’ steps back into early 2000s ballad territory. A more sensitive TAPZ sings of heartbreak in his gentle falsetto over a fingerpicked guitar before the track explodes into a bittersweet, sparkling chorus.
Hidden towards the end, ‘Dust’ combines deep throbbing bass with soft ‘80s synths and dancefloor grooves as TAPZ croons and spits out blissfully angsty lines about emptiness and destiny.
Beautiful Nightmare is an exhilarating first release, set to soundtrack cold nights stomping the streets. TAPZ has pushed himself into a very powerful position with this highly detailed and distinctive debut, and it’s dangerously addictive. And repeat.