"Zilla Rocca" is, at this point in time, a name even casual readers of the pages here at The Witzard should almost instantly recognize and readily associate with dope output. I think it's safe to say, I've covered nearly every Zilla/Zilla-related release since 2016's Anything I Touch, I Bruise Vol. 2: The Superior Foes of Zilla Rocca, as well as a gaggle of Bandcamp loosies and Soundcloud stand-alone singles. To my knowledge, Zilla Rocca has at least three (announced) projects currently planned to be released throughout 2018: Thieving As Long As I'm Breathing - a Career Crooks Remix EP with Small Professor, his '90's Hip-Hop-flavored mixtape/"street album" '96 Mentality, and a proper solo album quite cleverly entitled Future Former Rapper; all of these, featuring a who's-who of friends, affiliates, and fellow Underground Hip-Hop rappers and producers, largely included within Zilla's on-going Spotify playlist series, Otherground Vol. 1-3. Last night, to my surprise and gleeful bewilderment, I received a Bandcamp Notification email regarding Curly Castro & Zilla Rocca Are GRIFT COMPANY's "Billy Batts." Lest we forget, Zilla & Curly are, in fact, effectively, one half of long-standing East Coast Hip-Hop collective Wrecking Crew along with PremRock & Small Professor.
"Curly Castro & Zilla Rocca have talked on the phone everyday since 2010 and have played countless venues across America. When not in WRECKING CREW with Small Professor & PremRock, together, they are GRIFT COMPANY," reads GRIFT COMPANY's mission statement included along with "Billy Batts" on Bandcamp. "Billy Batts," of course, being a Noir-Hop lyrical reference to William "Billy Batts" Bentvena AKA William Devino, a New York mobster with family ties to John Gotti, as portrayed in Henry Hill, Jr.'s book Gangsters and Goodfellas: The Mob, Witness Protection, and Life On The Run, as well as Martin Scorsese's iconic 1990 Crime film, GoodFellas. Zilla Rocca told The Witzard, via email: "It's a quick EP we're dropping really quickly. Probably 6-7 songs max. Mostly produced by me," in regards to GRIFT COMPANY's upcoming collaborative EP. "Castro has his long-awaited sophomore LP TOSH coming this year and I have a gang of records on deck, too, but I wanted people to know [Wrecking Crew's] still a unit, since I've been doing more work lately with Small Pro and [Curly's] been working more with the New York guys, like Armand Hammer, Willie Green, and PremRock," Zilla further detailed. GRIFT COMPANY's debut EP should be released within about two weeks, while PremRock & Fresh Kils' new EP Poet's Payday is currently available online and Career Crooks' Thieving As Long As I'm Breathing Remix EP will soon be released on URBNET.