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Zackey Force Funk: "Money Green Viper" 

Former Tucsonan Zackey Force Funk's profile has risen exponentially since "Exorcise Tape," his 2013 album with Black Moth Super Rainbow mastermind Tobacco, under the name Demon Queen.

"Exorcise Tape" was a stunning record, and topped this writer's best of 2013 year-end list. It highlighted Tobacco's streamlined, grimy production and Zackey's most concise lyrics and singing yet.

"Money Green Viper" is a consolidation of Zackey Force Funk's deep back catalog and masterful performance on "Exorcise Tape." It's his best solo album yet and it's clear that the Demon Queen experience energized him. That's why when he reverts back to the ultra-minimal, leering electro that defined his previous work, as on the crawling, red-light district thumper "Dream Shine Cola" or his most pure statement of intent yet, "Cocaine Lady," he attacks each track with a substantially higher level of confidence and urgency.

Though the 16 songs on "Viper" are dotted with several producers, including XL Middleton, Eddy Funkster, and Reggie Blount, as well as four self-produced tracks, the record is clear and coherent. It plays as a painstakingly assembled mixtape, which it is, but the consistency present is due to Zackey's vision more than anything.

"Write Her Name" is one of the most sleazy, bare-bones love songs in a career full of them, while "Where Buffalo Roam" rides a disorienting, stomping computer funk beat into a threatening falsetto hook delivered with the innocence of a nursery rhyme.

"Zackey Can't Rap" is a cutting rebuttal to critics who have pigeonholed this unique artist as an emcee, but with its atypical '70s soul groove and Zackey's smirking, swaggering vocal, it's clear that he's beyond rap, and beyond categorization.

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