The female rap duo Zetas hail from the town of Salerno, Campania, on Italy’s southwest coast. Annarella and Miriade told us about their love for boom bap, their “100% underground” music, and their debut album Didattica, produced by beatmaker, rapper and DJ Tonico 70, a leading figure on the old school scene.
Do you remember how and when you were introduced to hip hop for the first time?
We started listening to hip hop music when we were teenagers. We grew up during the mainstream’s boom of rap music in Italy, watching TV shows like MTV Spit, where national rappers and freestylers battled each other in freestyle battles.
That world was so fascinating to us, rappers were free to show their talent without compromises and that was what we always wanted to do.
Which artists inspired you while you were growing up?
Underground and mainstream rap has always inspired us. In Italy, the artists that gave us inspiration are: Marracash, Fabri Fibra, Club Dogo, CoSang, Tonico 70 (actually he is our producer and manager) and Morfuco.
Here are some of our favourites but the list is much longer. Notorious B.I.G, Sean Price, Nas and Salt’N’Pepa are international rappers that are personally so important to us.
How did you start rapping?
We took our first steps in freestyle battles, jam sessions and hip hop events all around our region. We always liked writing songs and discovering rap music in all its shapes made us believe in ourselves. We mixed our words with hip hop music, so we started making rap.
How did you two meet and did you decide to create Zetas?
We had friends in common, so we knew each other by sight, but we officially met at TheSquare, a social space that still organizes street songwriting sessions, breakdance lessons with the city’s bboys and flygirls crews. We started rapping and we thought that our styles of rapping were strong together, and the final product was cool and fresh.
How would you describe your music and musical identity?
100% underground. Our music comes from the street and its stories, from everyday struggles to our desire to emancipate from our reality.
How did you meet with producer Tonico 70 and work on Didattica with him?
We already knew Tonico because his music is very famous and important in and for our city. We met him at TheSquare and he believed in our music. We started our official collaboration with him in 2020.
From then, the album took years of work because we wanted to make a quality product, every track has a story and a unique sound: this is our goal.
What is the rap scene like for female rappers in Italy? Are you connected with any other artists?
There are not so many female rappers in Italy. Compared with the previous years, there are many more girls that do rap music, but the idea of girls rapping is still stereotyped.
We are familiar with other artists, but we have never collaborated with them. In Didattica, our only featuring is with Angelica Cascone, a very good singer from our region.
What are your upcoming projects?
We want to take our music all over Italy, and hopefully, even out of it. We are working on new music and our tour dates are continuously updated, so follow us for every news!
What can we wish you?
To get where we want to get and of course to stay true.
What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?
Very good job! We also discovered new artists from your magazine and it’s very important listening to new music.
Find Zetas on Instagram.
© Gaetano Rispoli