The innovative '80s work of Zapp keeps reentering the popular consciousness. In the '90s, you heard it all over west coast rap records from Dr. Dre and Tupac; more recently, it seeped into 100s' Ivry, the Midas Hutch remix of Dej Loaf's "Try Me," and the occasional YG track.
Sabatahj—a multi-instrumentalist, producer, rapper, singer, and songwriter from New Albany, Indiana—is the latest heir to this tradition. He retools '80s talkbox funk for the present with modern drum programming and a slowed-down vocal snippet that nods to Houston rap. Sabatahj's own voice floats lightly over it all, unfurling a series of come-ons: You're the kind of girl that's been heavy on my mind/ I been all around the world, but have yet to ever find.
"'Old Skoo,' is a slow-ride, retro-futuristic tale about a man trying to convince his female friend into taking a joyride," Sabatahj tells FADER via email. "With soothing talkbox melodies and sensual southern finesse, 'Old Skoo' mixes '90s R&B smooth with '80s grooves."