Noir-Hop's Zilla Rocca: "I Like Crime, Women & Rapping"

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to

Zilla Rocca Sept28 b.JPG
L-R: Unidentified moll, Zilla Rocca
This is out of protocol. Big time. This week's Artist of the Week is not from Houston. He's not even from Texas. Hell, he might not even be from Earth.

Ma'ams, sirs, hoes, pimps, meet Zilla Rocca.

Three days ago, Rocca's new album, Nights & Weekends, accidented its way into our inbox. This is not uncommon. People send us music all the time. All the time. Like, they send that shit like their thumbs will spontaneously combust if they don't. And most of the time, if it's a non-Houston guy, we skim through it, scoff at how uncool it is, then move on.

But that was pretty much impossible here. The first sentence from the press release:

Inspired by late-night 1980's films staples such as Barry Levinson's Diner and Martin Scorsese's After Hours, with a helping of booze hounds, dive bars, and all the wrong women you chase in your 20's, Nights & Weekends EP is the unbuttoning of the collar for Zilla Rocca aka Vic Sage, the Noir Hop originator and Corrupt Novelist.

Zilla N&W sept28.JPG
Half of that, we don't even know what it means; it's certainly esoteric and (probably) smart. So we listened through it. And then again. And then again. And then we uploaded it onto the iPod.

It is a massive hodgepodge that simply goes where it wants when it wants. And once you get past the opening stanza, which starts out with a set of sunburnt horns then unfurls itself into that semi-awkward "White Guy" cadence, it is extra enjoyable and entirely brave.

So we reached towards Rocca online. Turned out, he is from Earth, though just barely (South Philly). We asked him to interview it up. He obliged. Next week, we have an excellent local artist to feature (and it's a woman!). For now, let's all stare at the new kid.

Rocks Off: Tell everyone everything they need to know about Zilla Rocca in exactly six words.

Zilla Rocca: I like crime, women and rapping.

RO: What is noir hop? It sounds kind of assholey, but it also sounds kind of interesting. I guess a lot of times those things go together.

ZR: It's just a name I came up with to describe the first Shadowboxers album and it became my calling card. Noir and rap handle a lot of the same themes: murder, sex, slang, guns, the city, betrayal, deceit.

I felt like someone should've connected the two before because it was obvious to me being a fan of films like Kiss Me Deadly, Brick, and the Philip Marlowe books and movies. It's a mood more than anything else. And it separates me from everyone else, which is good because I'm a failure at being trendy.

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Humpasaur Jones
Humpasaur Jones

Wow! Great write-up, great interview, thanks for this...for the record, though, I'm still not entirely convinced Zilla Rocca is terrestrial.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Noir-hop?   Seriously?  Shit, Nas was right, hip-hop is dead.  What's next, MC Lil Ed Exley and his highly anticipated LP Houston Confidential with beats supplied by DJ Dudley Smith?  Next time you decide to have someone "interview it up", get someone besides Joey from 'N Sync trying to revive his career with a new alter-ego.


lmao. daug. what? so many questions.

who died and made you hip hop coroner? did we read the same article? did you peep any of the tunes? is that name from squidbillies? pancakes or waffles?

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

No one, I am old and I like my hip hop from the old days.  Yes, we read the same article.  Yes, unfortunately I followed the link and listened to his shitty songs.  Yes, name is from squidbillies.  And finally, neither, pancakes and waffles both suck ass and are for people that actually think Lil Wayne is a good rapper.  Have a nice evening.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Man, thanks for the laugh, good stuff.  I know, I tend to rant against Lil Wayne a bit much, but damn it, he can't rap!


damn daug. i'm sorry you're unable to experience the joy of sweet doughy breakfast goods lathered in butter and syrup because you inexplicably associate them with an artist who you don't enjoy. that is truly lamentable. personally, i prefer waffles cuz they got the syrup nooks, but if they reminded me of little wayne i imagine i'd feel the same way you do. peace homie!

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