Arts and Entertainment

Zack Fox Does What He Does Best on “shut the [EXPLETIVE] up talking to me.”

“stfu talking to me” is an enjoyable project with some hilarious lines and one of the best new comedy rap albums.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In March 2019, hip-hop producer Kenny Beats created a YouTube channel to start his artist collaboration series “The Cave.” The first episode saw him making a beat and recording a song with the Brooklyn rapper JPEGMAFIA in his studio, with zany sound effects and graphics edited into just three minutes. The show took off after Kenny Beats collaborated with several high-profile artists like Rico Nasty, Smino, and Freddie Gibbs. Each video featured a rapper/singer working with Kenny on an instrumental before freestyling a verse and calling it a day. That is, until the fifth episode, when Kenny Beats invited Atlanta comedian Zack Fox to be on the show for a one-off gag. Fox asked for a “runescape mixed with Jodeci mixed with almond milk with a domestic violence filter” that a pro-lifer could blast. On the collaboration track, titled “Jesus is the One (I Got Depression),” Fox raps—among other topics—about praising God, Betty White’s future death with an angelic Thundercat sample, West Coast Drums, and even declares his support for Palestine. Despite the episode being a bizarre gag, it quickly went viral, sitting at over seven million views as of November 2021.

Before appearing on “The Cave,” Zack Fox already had a reputation on the internet as a minor player in the hip-hop scene, as a close friend of Thundercat and occasional contributor to VICE magazine (with the fabulous pseudonym Bootymath). His appearance on “The Cave” was Fox’s second collaboration with Kenny Beats, with the two having made the angry fight anthem “Square Up” in 2018, featuring Fox describing his love for breaking the law over a dirty, 808-heavy beat. But aside from a few sparse singles in 2019 and 2020, Fox’s comedy rap career has been fairly inactive. If anything, Fox has rejected the label of rapper, telling Rolling Stone he hated the success of “Jesus is the One (I Got Depression),” calling it “meaningless” and a musical “troll.” However in October 2021, Fox switched gears. With the new release of his debut album “shut the [EXPLETIVE] up talking to me,” Fox embraces the gag and hones in on writing more hilarious bars with an unironically potent pen game.

From its lead single “fafo,” the album sees Fox rapping about anything and everything from Stanley Kubrick to “Superbad” references, describing himself as “the Zone Six McLovin.” Fox’s sense of humor is the centerpiece of the project and he comes through with some genuinely entertaining bars. Almost every track has one memorably hilarious line, like on the Alchemist-produced titular track where Fox raps about how things could get “ugly as [EXPLETIVE] like Ed Sheeran.” While some tracks like “menace” are oversaturated with filler lines about money and girls, Fox stays on beat and sounds comfortable with solid cadences. Fox’s ability to flow over the different instrumentals on the album is impressive, as he switches from Three 6 Mafia reminiscent beats like those on “uhhh” and “fafo” to more modern production like that on “bane” and “boy i’m on yo [EXPLETIVE].” Fox even slides on a R&B beat, teaming up with Kenny Beats once more for the club banger “get off my [EXPLETIVE],” which is way too catchy for three minutes of genitalia jokes.

While “shut the [EXPLETIVE] talking to me” might not be terribly deep or conscious, the project is an incredibly fun listen with a variety of fantastic songs with priceless bars. There are no profound metaphors or social justice messages in this album. Zack Fox is being funny and not trying to do anything else—honestly, it’s commendable.