Coolzey, also known as Zachary Eli Lint, was born in Des Moines in 1976 and raised in central Iowa in the 80s and 90s.
Following a childhood obsession with ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic, Zachary cultivated a deep love for hip hop and rap in his youth.
Zachary taught himself to loop samples on cassette decks to make rudimentary beat tapes, then acquired a no-memory, 8-second Gemini sampler in high school before graduating to the Akai MPC as his beat-making instrument of choice.
As he became an adult his interest in music expanded to all genres, but especially rock and roll.
At the age of 19 he began teaching himself to play his father’s acoustic guitar by repeatedly watching a dubbed VHS copy of Beck finger-picking an improv rendition of his song ‘Pay No Mind’ on MTV’s 120 minutes with Thurston Moore until he memorized the pattern.
Zachary went to college at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. There he met and played in a number of bands with local musicians including Kent Lambert from Roommate and Cody Hennesy also known as recording artist The Rhombus. Iowa City is also where he sowed the seeds a lifelong friendship with budding rapper and then indie rock drummer Mark ’Schaffer the Darklord’.
Out of this group of musicians rose the infamous rap group known as The Sucka MCs.
The Sucka MCs, whose tongue-in-cheek aim was to be saddled with the burden of the countless unnamed MCs of dissed past, passed around demo cassettes and CD-Rs among friends. These demos travelled to NYC and unwittingly acquired them a record deal with Ace Fu Records out of Brooklyn, NY, the birthing grounds of such indie rock artists as Pinback and Man Man.
Da Album, a small, reworked collection of some of the label’s favorite Sucka MCs tracks from the demos, was released on March 1st, 2002 to an indignant media and a cult following that survives to this day despite its short-lived and star-crossed fate.
The group dissolved less than two years after its public inception due to substance abuse, creative and personal differences, and multiple audacious stunts including, among other incidents, one member putting MC Paul Barman in a headlock during the performance of his finale song at a sold out show at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA and another member attempting to steal multiple cases of beer from the bar while playing a show with Vanilla Ice at the High Dive in Champaign, IL.
During the time the Sucka MCs were active Zachary began self-producing lo-fi hip hop and indie rock demos on CD-Rs with hand-made covers and passing them around to friends in short runs of typically 30 copies under the name of Coolzey.
The first of these was Coolzey and the Sucker MCs (1999) followed by Roy G Biv (2000), The Dairy Queen EP (2002) and This Is the Universe (2003).
On October 5th, 2004 with the help of a mysterious local patron Coolzey pressed 200 copies of a 12” single he had recorded while living briefly in West LA and developing a relationship with his first MPC and self-released it under the name Public School Records. It was distributed solely by hand and through Underground Hip Hop dot com. This single was titled Akstoopid and was b/w Da Bess.
In 2005 Coolzey lived briefly in the Laurel Hill neighborhood of San Francisco with good friend Cody ‘The Rhombus’ Hennesy. He worked nearby at the iconic Bridge theater where he met and became life-long friends with legendary drag performer and midnight-movie maven Peaches Christ aka writer-director Joshua Grannell. Coolzey worked with Joshua to produce and record the original version of the first Peaches Christ single Idol Worship which was featured on IFC.
At this time in 2005, Coolzey reconnected with Mark ‘Schaffer the Darklord’, who had established residence in Queens, NY, and for the next two years began a series of independent cross-country tours playing cross genre bills at dive bars and rock clubs across the United States.
It was also at this time that Coolzey began releasing limited editions of CDs and vinyl albums under the label name Public School Records starting with The Rhombus album Bupkes in 2006 and continuing on to the present to include albums by pop punk trio Lipstick Homicide, collaboration between Columbus, OH hip hop icons Bru Lei and DJ PRZM, and prolific lo-fi indie rocker Samuel Locke-Ward’s folk punk band Miracles of God.
In 2006, having moved back to Iowa, Coolzey released 500 copies of a 12” vinyl single for Eat the Roach b/w You Challenge Me.
In the same year he released 1000 copies of a collection of songs from his first two 12” singles, some remixed tracks from the 2003 demo This Is the Universe, and included a few recent hip hop recordings to form the demo collection known as Akstoopid to sell on tour.
In 2007 Coolzey set out to make a series of 3 five-song EP releases.
The He Did EP (2007) showcased Coolzey’s production as well as lyrical prowess and garnered critical acclaim, featuring folk sensation William Elliott Whitmore on the finale track Trees and Dirt.
Soixante-Neuf (2008), the second EP in the series, was a Chicago based collaboration featuring the production of Chad Schneider aka Void Pedal and guest appearances by Idris Goodwin and Kent Lambert of Roommate.
Coolzey vs PRZM (2008), the final EP in the series, was a collaboration between peer and mentor DJ PRZM of the Columbus based Spitball crew that was finished posthumously after Christopher ‘DJ PRZM’ Sheffield passed away due to adverse heart conditions during its recording. The album also served as a eulogy for PRZM. The third track on the album Snatch Your Girlfriend was recorded the day Coolzey met Bruce ‘Bru Lei’ Burnett.
Between the years of 2007 and 2009 Coolzey toured the United States hip hop circuit behind his EP series with the likes of Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Akil the MC of Jurassic 5, and Raashan Ahmad of the Crown City Rockers.
He also started a collective of regional promoters in cities whose mission was to provide a week-long route through the heartland for underground hip hop artists to path through and connect with their fan base in smaller market towns like Duluth, MN, Iowa City, IA, Oshkosh, WI, and Columbia, MO called the Midwest Corridor. Some artists who passed through this corridor were Pigeon John, Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox, and Prince Po of Organized Konfusion to name a few.
On January 23rd of 2010 Coolzey released his first official full-length album. The Honey is a conceptually constructed party album that hops genres between hip hop, pop, and alt country and began Coolzey’s fruitful and lasting studio collaboration with recording engineer Luke Tweedy of Flat Black Studios out of Iowa City, Iowa. The album features guest appearances by Copywrite, Sadat X, Raashan Ahmad, Schaffer the Darklord and William Elliott Whitmore among a host of Iowa City based scenesters such as Ed Gray and members of Liberty Leg.
In the spring of 2010 Coolzey became disillusioned with the state of hip hop and cut ties to the scene, opting instead to tour with pop punk friends Lipstick Homicide and starting a rock and roll collaboration called Grism, returning to his roots to play house shows and dive bars.
However, Coolzey wanted to keep his lyrical chops up, but on his own terms, so he engaged in an ambitious public project. In the 12 weeks of summer 2010, Coolzey embarked on a weekly mission to acquire an instrumental from a different underground hip hop producer, write to it, record, mix and master each track at Flat Black Studios as well as collaborate to conceive, shoot, and edit a music video for each song with long-time friend and Public School Records cohort Jason Hennesy. The project began May 3rd and ended successfully July 19th, 2010. The project became known as Coolzey and the Search for the Hip Hop Hearts - Volume I : He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. In 2011 Public School Records launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to release the project on a double disc CD/DVD combo. 600 copies were made. Producer collaborators include J.Rawls of Lone Catalysts, Alex Newman of Giant Panda, Headnodic and Woodstock of Crown City Rockers, and Will Tell of Brooklyn Academy.
In October of 2010 Coolzey moved back to Los Angeles and began writing screenplays and acting. His most notable role has been lead antagonist in ultra-campy horror flick Dropping Evil (2012).
In the summer of 2011 Coolzey went on a US tour with Joe Jack Talcum of the Dead Milkmen.
In the summer of 2012 Coolzey quietly issued two extremely limited releases (100 CDs each). Coolzey’s Live from the Cave @ Dougman was a soul-spilling lo-fi blues and indie rock effort recorded entirely on a Tascam cassette-tape 4-track in Echo Park, and the Grism album Social Obligations was Coolzey’s first foray into the world of having his own 4-piece rock band with label mates and members of pop punk outfit Lipstick Homicide and alternative rock band Petit Mal.
In January of 2013 Coolzey signed with management and booking company Deep Thinka Records who helmed the co-release with Public School Records of the limited pressing (200 copies) of The Honey on vinyl through another successful Kickstarter campaign and sent Coolzey on tour across the US and Canada with bands as diverse as conscious rapper Raashan Ahmad to the female-fronted indie rock band Muscle.
At the close of 2013 Coolzey released his second official album Hit Factory and is currently touring worldwide in support of it. In the album, he finds his niche as a songwriter, navigating hip hop, classic rock, punk, and pop in the spirit of influences like Ween, Beck, The Beastie Boys, and Outkast.
Music Video for Want It the Most from Hit Factory
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Coolzey – Hit Factory