Chromat!k and Zach Witness are almost inseparable. You can't really blame them: The rapper and producer, both 23 years old, met in high school and have been making music together almost as well. They've learned the craft together and they know each other's strengths. And with a new single, "Sad God," getting airplay in Dallas and beyond, it's a collaboration that's beginning to pay dividends.
“[It’s gotten] to the point that I had recorded with him so much that even if I go elsewhere and record and shit, I critique myself as if he’s there now,” Chromat!k, of Witness. "Sad God," hit 1.4 millions veiws on WorldStar Hip Hop last, after catching airplay in Dallas and Los Angeles. "Sad God" was produced by Witness, who himself had the opportunity to produce Erykah Badu's But You Caint Use My Phone mixtape late in 2015.
“You know, I’m always throwing crazy shit at him," says Witness, of his collaborator. Chromat!k's work ethic might seem like a contrast to his otherwise laidback sensibility: "“Was gonna play Tomb Raider but I'm fuccin tired so ... ESPN and Netflix...” he wrote in one recent, and characteristic, tweet. "We have a really intense practice routine we go through before we even touch the mic," Witness insists. "And he does it, too, man, he really does it.”
The two artists' differing approaches complement one another: Witness has a deep knowledge and appreciation for musical history, while Chromat!k is driven by a need to think outside the box. It's a dynamic that they've developed since they were teenagers, playing in clubs and parking lots.
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Witness started DJing in raucous teen clubs like Club Lotus and Skatium when he was 16 and has spent hours studying piano and drums under the wings of some of Dallas’ most venerable old-guard jazz players.
Theirs is a combined musical sensibility that owes as much to Chromat!k’s ghoulish and galactic lyrical vision as it does Zach Witness’ cinematic beats. The result is something akin to what most of hip-hop fans wish Kid Cudi was still making, all tinged by a horror film darkness very much Chromat!k’s own. His shouts and cries are turned inwards, something feels comfortable doing thanks to Witness' influence. “I never feel nervous doing shit like that around him, because it’s a no judge zone, period," Chromat!k says.
Chromat!k has at least two more videos planned for this year — a marked uptick in his productivity. His year-long dedication to “Sad God” has finally paid off, and now he’s got the feed the ravenous beast it’s created with new content. He’s talking to more producers, but he’s still working with Witness, too.
“It got to the point where if I’m not recording around him, if I’m recording with another another engineer and my lyrics are all dark and sad and shit, I don’t give a fuck," Chromat!k says. "You're going to say my shit goes hard when I’m finished anyway, so I’m still gonna rap this shit with confidence.”