In Conversation with Harocaz

Zacorah, aka Harocaz, is a rapper, performer, DJ, and your favorite homegirl from Boston, MA. Haro is known for her hot dance raps and presence in Boston's next generation of nightlife. Influenced by the worlds of dancehall and techno, she has built a style completely her own. Her EP kthnxbye was released in November 2015.  Her music video debut for her song "Zamba Freestyle" was released via Dollhouse Magazine this past January. We caught up to chat about everything from new music to black womanhood to Kanye West.

Andisa Montez: I want to ask you about being from Boston. How does this city support you and how do you feel when you're performing here?

Harocaz: (giggles)  What I like about being from Boston is the Boston attitude, the Boston state of mind, like... “Can you believe this shit? Look at this fucking kid!”  I'm from Boston and everybody is a kid. I don't know, that's just how it is. As far as the type of support I guess it depends-- I don’t know if it's because I'm a girl, and a black girl at that, I don’t got no fucking weave, I'm just a little nigga. I feel like people want to be into me, but that's not the mainstream. I always got dudes that wanna support me, but they'll be like "yo you could be the next Lil Kim” or some dumb shit, and it's like, no… it's just me right now. I feel like if I did the same exact raps and I was like... more aesthetically pleasing to the male eye I would have no problem getting people to support me. But I feel like, because I'm a natural black woman, who's doing some other sound too, people [are] not really fucking with that. And it's kinda intimidating like, damn this bitch onto something. I get the most support from the techno scene, the dance scene. Rap people be like, “yo Z you still doing shows?” when I've been doing shows this whole year. But I never see y’all rappers there. I did one rap show in 2016 and this woman put me first, at like 8pm. And nobody was even there. I just left the party because it was dry but I heard it was lit later for the boy performers. I'm not even tripping.

A: That’s interesting though. People come up and they turn out for the male rappers but why?

H: And there's some shit ass male rappers too! I'm like, how do ya'll like these boys [even though] they sound like every other male rapper I've heard? It's bored. We're over it. But Boston is a lot about social circles too. “Oh, my friends!” Or people feel like, “Oh, I know this person, I'ma go out.” People wanna be associated, but people not really fucking with you. I feel like even the other Boston artists who get supported by Boston people, they only fuck with y’all because other people outside of the city fuck with y’all. Know what I mean? Or they've seen you outside of the city so they're like, oh you must be lit.

A: This is similar to what i was hearing BBYMUTHA talk about, her hometown, Chattanooga-- people from there don't really support her.

H: It's that small town [attitude], that “crabs in a barrel.” People always say that about Boston. (singsong) Crabs in a barrel. Ain't nobody your friend unless you're at the top of the barrel. And that's why I appreciate everyone who fucks with me. Man, thanks for chilling with me at the bottom of this barrel. But I'm gonna go up and not give a fuck. And when I go up I'm gonna be pretending like I'm not from Boston.

A: What do you want to accomplish in 2017?

H: I've done enough shows in the city. I've been at all the cool venues; I wanna go out of state. I wanna have that same top of the barrel effect. Like, everyone fucks with her and y’all late. Typical, typical Boston. Late as shit. Nah, I'm looking forward to recording on some original beats, made for me. I wanna hook up with some dope ass producers and tour outside of Boston. The only shows I wanna do here are [ones] me and my friends throw. Because I know a) I'll be getting paid from those and if I'm not getting paid it won't bother me and b) I know it's gonna be fun and I'm gonna have a good time because all my peoples there. I just wanna go more ham. And maybe get a nice little dick appointment who won't harass me or fuck up my mind so I can focus on my music.

A: You rap about dick appointments, and boys, but why is there such a stigma about having sex from a woman's perspective? It's almost a taboo, like we're not allowed to discuss it.

H: I feel like people just really waiting for me to talk about sex more in detail. And I don't know, part of me is still really reserved and there's a part of me that doesn’t want to be that sexualized, over-sexualized. I feel like every bitch who raps is sexual. I just wanna be kinda sexual but more homie-style. So I’m just gonna keep going with that. I don't think there's a stigma, I think everybody's really waiting for a bitch to talk about [how] she was sucking a dick or fucking a guy because everyone wants their shit to be about men. I want my shit to be more about the female experience. Like I fuck these niggas, but they not really my main shit. If anything, I think more about how women think a lot about what men think. And I try to not do that as much as possible. I try to show women the [utmost] respect. What you think matters way more, but you just run into a lot of people who are used to thinking about what men say more than what their sister say. Bitches be like, well he said this. Well fuck what he said, he's lying, why do you believe him? I'ma talk about sex, when I have some sex worth talking about. [laughs]

A: When you're writing a song, who are you hoping to impact? Who is your music for? 
H: I just want my music to be for the bitches who is not living for men. You know what I mean? I want it to be like, the girls. I just want it to be like, girls chilling. Even the video (“Zamba Freestyle”) that was my main [vision]. This is not like no twerkathon, I'm not trying to bust a twerk-- not saying that everyone who twerks does it for men, but men can easily make it about themselves.

A: Let's talk about the “Zamba Freestyle.” What was the process like?
That video was so funny. That exact day I got fired from my job, and I usually get a ride from someone there and we carpool but she was like, “I'm leaving in the middle of the day so you either leave with me, figure that out, or get a ride.” So I called [my friend] Greg and he came, and as we're leaving the job, we're maybe 15 minutes away, they called like, “You don't have to come back ever again,” 'cause it was like a temp position, but it was supposed to longer than how long I was there. I was like really? WOW. Jobs are done. I be too lit, I didn’t do nothing [but] go there, do my job, and look cute. So we're driving home and I'm like fuck this job, fuck the random bitch who called me who I've never seen or heard of in my life. And Greg was like, let's shoot a video tonight, let's just go. Let's just go to Copley and the mall. Honestly, I don't really fucks with Lil B because he's mad hype and I just feel like he's also fucked up towards women, although that Wonton Soup video he shot, or whichever one where's he in the mall, that's all I can think about, like yeah! I want a video in the mall. So we went to the mall and recorded that. Then we needed a little bit extra footage [and] I always loved the idea of cameo videos so I hit up all my favorite females in the city and did a nice chill thing. Because I want girls to embrace that song, like yes bitch, [in regards to men] you're moving too slow, wasting your time, I'm not about to sit there and have you lean on me. That's where I was going with that. The video came out mad dope, that was great. That was my first video ever, I've never even tried to do a video before that.

A: Who's influencing you right now?
H: It sounds kind of fucked up and I know this is kinda sad, but I'm most influenced by people who hate on me. Bitch you hate?! You got the nerve to be hating on me? Because I try so hard to just be 100 percent with myself and people around me. So I wouldn't say any music people because I listen to the same shit over and over. Recently I've just been listening to random CDs and albums because my boy has Tidal at work. I'm mostly influenced by living: life experiences like hanging out with my friends. My friend Lauren (Yung DB) is an amazing producer/artist but [she inspires me] just by her being my friend and fucking with my music. People who fuck with me influence me. And people who don't fuck with me influence me. I don't wanna say no artists, but I was always a Jay-Z stan as baby. I think Princess Nokia is fye; I've been listening to Cody Shane's new mixtape, that was dope. I listen to a lot of producers and people who do a lot of remixes. Ase Manual from New York, JX Cannon, that's my boo, he's amazing. Bearcat is dope as fuck. DJs influence me a lot, they make my [performing] sound so much better, they're important. Shout out to Sweat Equity.

A: Who do you want to collab with in the future?
H: I want to collab with JX Cannon, Sweat Equity-- we already lowkey got a collab but I know he lost his computer so we gonna get back. I definitely wanna keep collabing with people in my crew like [Yung] DB. Me and DB have another song; we just dropped “Powerball” which is really cool. I love that song because it was so random. Her recording a beat and me making a rap had nothing to do with each other but it coming together was so cool. I wanna collaborate with Gekko but we haven't found the time to. He's doing shows, I'm doing shows, he lives a whole city away-- that is far! He lives in Brighton. And you know Brighton, in the edge, in the corner. I want to collab with some dope ass photographers [like] Georgette Bieber. There's this person on Facebook called Daryl Dog, they do really awesome portraits. 

A: Just for the record, can you tell us about Yung DB?
H: Yung DB is a dope-ass friend of mine. And it's really crazy because all of my closest friends right now, especially the ones I create with, are all people I've met in the past two years. I met Yung DB at a show and ever since then she's been a really good homie. I feel like her and Greg are my besties because they understand me so well. All my moves and everything. Yung DB is an awesome rapper, producer from Cali. She went to school here [in Boston] and that's how we met. She's a fucking Facebook goddess, a socializing and promoting genius, she's awesome. She fucks with me and I fuck with her and that's the best relationship. That's how everybody's friendship should be.

A: So I gotta ask this question. The past couple of years you've talked about where you've found your growth. What would you say to yourself 10 years ago?
H: Shit, how old was I, fourteen? I would've been like, yo, fuck these hoes bitch! Start making something! I don’t know what you want to make, but just make something! I used to be so boy-obsessed. I think it's because I had dad issues. I also wasn't smoking or drinking at the time. I would've told myself, download mad music and (claps) start smoking mad weed right now! Also I would've been like, bitch, just get your GED. Because I was just not going to school at that time. I used to literally play Sims, download music, hangout at the community center. Never went to school, ever ever ever ever ever. Then I think when I was 17, I was supposed to be a senior, they were like bro, you haven’t been to school in 3 are supposed to be a sophomore. I was like, I can't go to this place no more. It's over. I'll see y’all in the future. Get a GED because you hate school, and that's okay to hate school. Everybody else just made it seem like you have to go. But if you're that young and you're smart enough to grasp concepts… if you pass 9th grade and you hate school, just get your GED. Because I swear it was the 9th grade MCAS.

A: Being from the hood, what does that mean when you're going into the music industry and being exposed to all these different circles in Boston and their perception of you?
h: It's hilarious. It makes me think about how much people make up in their heads about you. Everybody I meet thinks I went to college. I think I've maybe written ten essays in my life like, I do not do that shit. I hang out in the hood all the time. I'm a hoodrat, I don't give a fuck, I be in these streets. Like black guys, or hood people be like, "Yo you're so smart, you went to college, what the fuck blah blah blah" and I'm like, what? I have a GED… just stop. If that was your pickup line, end it now. I hang out with a lot of [academic] people. They kind of have the same ideas about me, but
I don’t know. One time I went on a date with this white kid from the dance scene and he was like, "Oh haha, that person clearly has a GED" and I was like, “I have a GED.” He was like "GAAAAAH." So it really just depends on how you carry yourself.
There's so much resilience in the hood, so much resilience in poverty-- people need to give people in the hood more credit. I feel like we make up everything. Even all the main fashion shit that's going on right now is some shit hood bitches thought up. I been seein’ all my cousins dressed in XYZ looking like this since I was young. And now all the white people are trying to do it. Like, I been seeing my cousins with baby hairs and doorknockers. When people hype it up now, it makes you think like damn bitch, we really inherited some lit shit. We just inherited the times and we are just way ahead of ourselves and we never knew. They knew though!

A: Capitalism profits off of black bodies.
H: If you ever think about how you created that shit in your mind, somebody stole it and gave it back to you. That reminds me of one time I was in Barbados and my aunt was like (singsong) "don't talk to those boys, they're thieves, da-da-da," and I have a cousin my age and I told her Auntie said, “Don't talk to [that boy], he's a thief.” And she was like, “yeah he's a thief.” And her friend was like “Yeah, like that time he stole my headphones and tried to sell them back to me!” (laughs) No bullshit, capitalism [is] white people stealing our headphones and trying to sell them back to us. Fair to say? I don't know, you just gotta love the black experience. I just wanna say this one time for the record: people of color have so much depth. For the record, I've never ever in my life thought I had to be white or light or anything like that to be liked, to fit in. So it really blows my mind when people try to put that on you, like society tries to put that in your mind. “Don't you feel bad you're not white?” Like, no bitch, I never wanted to be white. White people always sad that they're [not] black and I'm just thankful [that I am]. All the most beautiful women I know are black. My uncle had a white girlfriend. She would come around, but even when she came around she would be trying to talk in an accent, try to act like us, try to look like us… and as a little girl seeing her fraud and my mother's realness, and my aunts' realness, and my teenage cousins’, they were gorgeous. If anything, the only thing I thought was that if I had more hair, I'd have all the bitches! Or if I wasn't wearing these extensions… black people be trying to fight for weave so hard. Braids, I understand but weaves… weaves? When we were little, it wasn't even cool to have a weave; like if you had a weave, everybody was like, “Shut up, you got a weave!” (laughs) Nobody was fucking with weaves. My family's from the Caribbean too.

A: A whole other aspect of blackness is being from the islands. How have your Caribbean roots shaped you?
H: It's dope, Caribbean people love to party, love to eat, love to drink. I think everybody loves those things, but it's so serious for us. For Carnival, my cousin legit takes that off as a religious holiday. Boston Carnival to New York Carnival, she takes that whole time off. I love Carnival, I love dancing. A lot of people might be wondering why “kthanxbye” only has one verse and why I kept repeating it. I was lowkey trying to do a reggae song, because reggae songs don't have a lot of verses. They have one verse, and a chorus and you play that, then they cut the song. They play the good part and then cut the song. If you listen to a full song in its radio length, it has one verse, a chorus and a breakdown that repeats twice. So I was wondering how that would sound in a rap. It's not meant to be played all the way through, but you can, it sounds good. And all those songs I recorded in one take, so I’m just flowing and feeling out the song in different ways I could phrase shit so it still lays on the beat. I worked hard to give it a reggae/dancehall-ish construct.  Being Caribbean, so much rhythm, you get to the family function and everyone's like (motions) "Dance, Dance!” and you're just like “Okay!” I love being Caribbean. 

A: Do you have a good relationship with your family?
H: Having the option, [I] can just go to Barbados, my aunt is there. Being out of America, you kind of realize where you're at in the world knowing yourself as it relates to the whole world, the universe. Whereas if your family has been in America for so long, they kinda over it. I have a black friend, I love her so much because her family fries so much chicken over the holidays, so much good food! I love rice and peas too, but I really like fried chicken the most. No bullshit, there's never been fried chicken at any of my family events. It's either been baked or stewed...that's it. It's ridiculous how there's a stigma about black people loving fried chicken because everybody loves fried chicken. Unless they're vegan or vegetarian. 

A: Can you talk more about what dancehall means to you?
H: I wanna dance all the time. So I wanna make music that makes me dance all the time. If you listen to any girl dancehall, that shit be getting real intense. Like, I'm not talking about riding on no cockies, I just wanna ride the beat. I wrote it as, “Ride it how I write it on the beat.” I don't always wanna be rapping. I feel like when people rap too much, that's when they start saying shit they don't mean. Even when I freestyle for too long, it's because I want the rap to keep going. I think if you have a verse and half, with a good dance beat, that's a song. Less is more is what I've learned from dancehall.

A: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
H: I honestly see myself a couple mixtapes in, or maybe an EP or two in, two small EPs, two different projects by two different producers. Some touring... I've already been out of the country for music, and I feel like in five more years from now, if i'm not over it or transitioned into being only a DJ then I'm probably gonna be like, what's good with some long term money. I don't wanna get to that point where I sell my voice for anything. I don't wanna sell my sound and my look and just start talking about anything because that's what people want from me. I would like to be like Joey Badass, like I know he fell off the radar a little bit, but he still raps about the shit he raps about and I feel like that’s why he fell off the radar. I feel like if he changed his sound up, he could easily have been signed or got deals, but he stayed true to himself. That's all I wanna do. I'm not trying to change my whole life for music. I would like music to be a part of my life in the ways I want it to be, but I don't want to be at the point where I feel like I'm in so deep. That’s where I feel Kanye is. He's in so deep that he talks about anything now, anything people want to hear him talk about, he'll talk about it because he sees the money, fuck everything else. (under breath) He should've just married a normal black person... if he just married a nice, low-key woman… not that Kim doesn't support him, but his ego! Five years from now, I'll never be Kanye.

Contact Harocaz at:

ig: harocaz

text: andisa montez
visual: Kay Piazza (@lensbehonest)
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