In recent years, concert promoter Lorenzo Zenteno, owner of Premier Live, has played a major role in organizing large scale hip-hop and R&B concerts throughout DFW, Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Three weeks ago, Zenteno announced he was taking his promotion of music to the next level with the launch of his own label Arithmetic Music Group.
The first release from Arithmetic will be the single "Street Life" by Rakim Al-Jabbaar featuring hip-hop legend Scarface. It will be available on all major streaming platforms Nov. 30. The record is produced by Mr. Lee and Mousequake, which essentially guarantees quality on the production end. Scarface’s participation was facilitated by Zenteno.
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We reached out to Zenteno a week ago to speak about plans for his label and were promptly sent a low-res copy of "Street Life." About 20 seconds in, and we were hooked. For fans of 1990s Rap-A-Lot and Houston hip-hop in general, “Street Life” will take you home and deliver a potent dose of nostalgia.
The beat is defined by the ominous church organ heard throughout, accompanied by a minor piano chord progression. In the version sent to us, Al-Jabbaar’s voice is the first you hear, followed by Scarface. There’s no complex formula to the song. It’s made up of two verses in which Al-Jabbaar and Scarface vividly narrate stories from their late teens. "Street Life" has all the makings of a classic hip-hop record that will be appreciated for decades to come. It will inspire other artists and producers to create in the spirit of competition and love for the culture.
The release of "Street Life" will serve as a proper precursor for what will be a busy December for Zenteno and Al-Jabbaar. Zenteno, under his rap moniker Smooth Vega, will release his own album Natural Born Winner on Dec. 13, and Al-Jabbaar will release his sophomore full-length album Underground God on Dec. 21. Whether this will mark the beginning of a long-term business relationship between the two is yet to be seen, but the second collaboration between Arithmetic and Al-Jabbaar will be a single featuring West Coast hip-hop veteran Kxng Crooked, aka Crooked I, titled “Whole Lotta Bodies” set to be released Dec. 7.