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Minneapolis Rapper Zora Debuts With an Anti-Capitalist Techno-Rap Bop

Zora is a new voice from Minneapolis who’s got it all — she raps, sings, produces, and wants to bring down unjust systems of economic exploitation. Take “Runnitup,” the lead single from her upcoming debut LP, Z1, out May 20 on Philly punk label Get Better Records. Listen once and you might think it’s just a very catchy techno-rap head-nodder about getting rich quick. “Hello, bitch, it’s me/Gimme the money you owe me or catch these hands for free,” Zora, 22, demands frankly in the opening lines. Her friend Myia Thornton expands on this theme in a memorable guest verse: “If you funny with my money, I ain’t fucking with you/I’m not playing with you, dummy, you know my rent is due, damn!”

Listen again, and you might catch the significance of that line about the rent. “Runnitup” is less “Ante Up” or “Gimme the Loot” and more structural critique (not that there’s anything wrong with those felonious classics). In a press statement, Zora explains that she and Thornton wrote the song in response to the delays they encountered getting their Covid stimulus payments in 2020: “We wanted to make a song about metaphorically running up on somebody who didn’t give us what we were owed,” she writes. “In reality, this song is pretty explicitly about U.S. capitalism and how we need to just overthrow it. I still have hope, at least.”

The other thing you’ll notice about “Runnitup” on second, third, and fourth listens is the production — edgy, spark-casting industrial clangor that should appeal to fans of the late Sophie’s visionary work or Jimmy Edgar’s adventures in left-field sound design. Zora is the sole producer on “Runnitup,” and the rest of Z1 is full of her impressively original approach to making beats. This single marks the arrival of an artist who’s already able to command attention from the first bar to the last. Turn it up and listen closely as you imagine a less oppressive world.

Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.

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