Zach slump talks ‘Outskirts & Outcasts,’ Casual Crooks & more

With hard work and a multi-faceted team, Ohio-bred collective Casual Crooks has been steadily paving their way to becoming the next big Midwest next rap crew. Their latest release comes from group member and rapper Zach slump, who recently dropped his first project of the year, Outskirts & Outcasts. Boasting emotionally-charged lyrics and a diverse collection of beats, the record welcomes another win for slump and the Crooks.

With two features from groupmate Sioux on energetic banger “Like a Jitt” and laidback party track “Trap Trap,” Outskirts & Outcasts finds slump delivering undeniably catchy hooks and aggressive bars. The Ohio-based MC recruited multiple producers – hailing from Ireland to California – to assemble the project’s spacey and off-kilter beats, which anchor the likes of “Mad Late,” “Dash Home” and more.

Slump has already released three visuals from the album, the most recent being “Mad Late.” All the visuals are handled by Lunar Thought, Casual Crooks’ videographer.

“I had found out about his music in high school and here we are, three years later, doing all my videos,” slump says of working with Lunar. “I swear, some of my videos are his best videos! We’re starting to mesh so good.”

He plans to drop a few more clips from the project, including “Like a Jitt” and “Pulse Dance.”

“I’m really hyped for the ‘Pulse Dance’ video because it’s got a vintage sound,” he says. “We’re gonna have a party and have it like ’70s-themed.”

After he’s done promoting Outskirts & Outcasts, Zach slump plans to drop off a bite-sized five-track EP over the summer, with visuals for every song. As for a new Casual Crooks record, slump says the group’s solo projects have taken priority.

“We’re all so into making our own music, that’s it’s really hard to get that shit finished,” he says. “We have like five songs finished that are technically taped, but we’re all perfectionists, so we’ll see how long that takes to come out.”

That doesn’t mean the group is slowing down, though. The Crooks have carved out a dedicated fanbase due to their work ethic and consistency, which slump hopes will be part of his legacy.

“It’s just work, but we love it,” he says. “We really wanna leave a legacy. I know how much music means to me – I just wanna mean that to somebody with my discography.”

“It’s crazy because we taught ourselves how to record everything,” he continues. “This is going from the ground up… to creating something that’s respectable. It’s been an interesting-ass journey.”

Stream Zach slump’s Outskirts & Outcasts below.

PLAYING CINCY: SIOUX Finds His Groove On ‘Whiskey House Bar Music’ EP


Earlier this week, SIOUX flexed his introspective side on his new EP, Whiskey House Bar Music. Over danceable lo-fi beats produced by Rocco., the Cincinnati MC expresses extreme relatability when it comes to all sides of love—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Whiskey House Bar Music is an idea of a project fully consumed out in the middle of nowhere with little to no resources when it comes to quality,” SIOUX explains.

In an interview with AudioFemme, he described what he was going for in terms of experimenting with “low-quality sound” and how he was feeling during the recording process.

“Basically, I wanted to make a broken-love project,” says SIOUX. “That means I wanted almost a low-quality basement sounding project that seems like it was made really quick, due to a broken heart, and fresh off the feelings of that.”

Lyrically, SIOUX dips into both the darkest sides of love and the euphoric highs that it can bring, all while easygoing instrumentals create a comforting backdrop.

“I wanted to use very familiar-sounding beats but with a dark/metallic sound with my voice but with very true and echoing lyrics that love can bring,” he continued. “The good and bad—great and disastrous. You could say a ‘beautiful disaster’ in the lovelife of a sensitive person.”

“Everybody that has loved can connect with these words,” he told AudioFemme.

During the recording process, which spanned across two months, SIOUX used visualization to elicit—and buffer himself from—the vulnerability that the project demanded.

“The reason I called it Whiskey House Bar Music is because for some reason I couldn’t stop visualizing that this is the type of music you might hear in a random bar out in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

SIOUX / Photo by Chris Williams

“The type of scene that [I pictured] is one guy in a strip bar sipping on Coke and rum, with a single stripper in the building dancing from a distance,” he continued, describing the contrasting feelings of intimacy and isolation that are found in the EP. “It’s almost like they’re connecting on a broken-down, personal level. That’s the scene that was in my head while recording this.”

SIOUX, who belongs to the Ohio-based hip hop collective Casual Crooks, has been steadily releasing music this year, with his sophomore album, Grounded Star, arriving this past September.

Stream SIOUX’s Whiskey House Bar Music EP below.