Welcome to the official website of rapper/songwriter Vertical Zar. In March of 2019, Vertical Zar released his new album Ancient Cloud in collaboration with a hyper-talented array of Washington, DC area musicians and artists.
Stay Connected With Vertical Zar
On March 1, 2019, Washington, DC-area rapper and songwriter Vertical Zar released his new genre-bending 16-track indy rap album, Ancient Cloud. The album is a follow-up to Vertical Zar’s debut record, Definition of Alive.
The Ancient Cloud album title is a metaphor for the timeless right of humans to rise above their daily challenges and troubles to be the artists, activists, and visionaries within each of us. Vertical Zar rocks that concept in the album’s title track with the help of a choir, horn section and intricate, original lyrics and production over live band performances. Throughout the album, Zar deftly raps across a spectrum of topics and concepts from being an artist, to the art of emceeing, to the ridiculous times we are living in, to musing about what the future will have in store for the next generation. To create Ancient Cloud, Zar enlisted a diverse army of Washington, DC-area artists and musicians, including long-time collaborator, producer, and pianist, David Ylvisaker, rappers including Eddie Black (Questionmark Asylum), Dumi Right, and G the Mastermind, DC jazz standouts Lori Williams and Al Williams, DJ Boom, among many others. The result of this multi-year labor of love is a triumphant original album overflowing with insightful lyrics and melodies, great rap and song, and sounds worthy of a space up in the Ancient Clouds.
A life-long songwriter, Vertical Zar’s journey to the Ancient Cloud album release began as a kid in a racially integrated section of Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1980s at a time when the emerging genre of rap music was commanding an increasing portion of the neighborhood soundtrack and the classic albums that form the backbone of hip hop music were being released on a seemingly weekly basis. Tentative verses in a schoolboy’s black composition notebook became freestyle rap and beatbox sessions with friends, which became playground ciphers with other rappers, which became performances at talent shows and first attempts at songwriting. And soon Vertical Zar was off to the races recording music in his basement studio and performing with a variety of groups and rappers across the city. College at Syracuse University in New York gave Vertical Zar the chance to watch a constant parade of East Coast rap groups visiting the campus from New York City. Traveling south to his birthplace in Washington, DC after graduation, Zar gravitated to the bubbling indy rap, Go Go and electronic music scene in DC. All of these sounds and musical styles became heavy influences driving Vertical Zar’s debut album, Definition of Alive, and now the Ancient Cloud album, as well as his unreleased songs and writing in between.