Zero is defined as the lowest common denominator. Many consider zero to have no numerical value to the point where they do not even acknowledge that it is the beginning of the number scale. Since his release from jail, Z-Ro has proven himself most valuable to Rap-A-Lot records, the Southern Hip-Hop community, and listeners everywhere. Since day one, Z-Ro has provided cold hard truth, and blunt realities in his raw street raps. On the verge of teaming up with Slim Thug for an album, Z-Ro talks his next solo album, his label, and why so many of his peers are telling you lies.
Throughout his life, Joseph W. McVey, Z-Ro, was told that he would not amount to anything. In several short years, he’s proven otherwise. And if you too haven’t checked for Z-Ro or have your doubts, AllHipHop.com is hear to help you recount.
AllHipHop.com: Your name is very interesting.
Z-Ro: Zero serves as a constant reminder of where I am from. I come from the bottoms, and I had to rise above from constantly staying in trouble, being incarcerated to rapping. Zero reminds me of what I do not want to ever go back to, and to be grateful, but humble, about success when it comes my way.
AllHipHop.com: You were very good friends with DJ Screw and was seen as a member of his crew, Screwed Up Click. How do you feel about reliving those memories watching The Soldiers 4 Cash DVD that was put out following his death?
Z-Ro: It was an honor to not only work with DJ Screw, but it was an honor to be his friend. I am at a loss for words as I am trying to think of words to describe our friendship. He was a regular, easygoing cat. He was just so cool. I definitely owe him much of my success to date. There would not be a Z-Ro without Screw. He helped me so much. He developed me as a rapper and a person. He encouraged me to think before I reacted, and I have benefited from that as a person. As I look at that DVD, I just remember some of the best times of my life. One of my closest friends, and no one else is like him.
AllHipHop.com: The Life and Times of Joseph W. McVey was a big success for you and allowed you to grow your fan base beyond the South. The ball is in your court, so what will you do with it in this next album?
Z-Ro: For my listeners, they ought to know that The Life and Times of Joseph W. McVey was just a preview. However, since I am with Rap A- Lot, I am showing that I am still me, but my stories are different, because my life has changed. I speak to that on my song Gone Platinum, because I want to be more positive. Other than that, they can still expect the truth, because I am an honest dude. No sugar coating, and fabricating. I am talking about these f**kin’ police who only want to see young Black men in jail, whether they be guilty or not. I am talking about these f**ked up labels and their CEOs who try to tell these artists how to rap. My album is hardcore, letting you know that this is for real people who can handle the truth as I know it. I believe in saying things that others may be afraid to say. As for my album in terms of production and appearances, it was produced by many of South’s hottest producers, and lead by the legendary Mike Dean. My album features appearances by my labelmates, Devin the Dude and Juvenile, as well as, Paul Wall, Lil’ Flip, and my cousin Trae. To me, I want Let the Truth Be Told to be one of the best records that Rap-A-Lot has ever made.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve got this record The Mule with Devin and Juvy. What does The Mule really mean?
Z-Ro: For all of those who don’t know about The Mule it means f**king the hell out of somebody’s daughter or girlfriend.
AllHipHop.com: In the song, you say that you do not have time for constant drama and trivial conversations. Do you feel that many rappers rely on drama to sell records?
Z-Ro: Drama, beef, and murder are often seen as a hot commodity for the Rap listener. People say that they want to hear a different message, but people always buy music talking about those three things. They are interested in hearing people’s stories who have either survived or may have killed others. So, therefore, these companies tell these artists to create music that they think that public is going to buy into. The companies do not believe in the music, but believe in making money. So, the artists and their companies create their own beefs, and speak on hustling, murdering, or almost being killed, and some of the times, it is true. While, many others lie, and then their true situations are exposed. They, rappers and labels, wait for a response that creates a buzz and whole bunch of press which drives their sales. However, the rappers need to be mindful that there is code of the streets, and you have to respect it. Do not speak on things just to be talking. Speak the truth, and let their skill speak for it all.
AllHipHop.com: How would you define your G-Code then?
Z-Ro: It means that you keep it real with your peoples, but more importantly, you keep it real with yourself. You are a grown man who takes care of his responsibility. You are aware that only the strong survive, and you survive the best way you know how. I am not saying that people should go out and hustle drugs or kill, but I know firsthand because I had to deal with that type of stuff. As I said earlier, being honest and real with yourself and others.
AllHipHop.com: Rap-A-Lot is a known long time ally with Murder, Inc. and Death Row Records. What do you feel about the recent events that have transpired with members of G-Unit? Do you feel that is necessary that you now have conflict with the members of the G-Unit camp since you are now signed with Rap-A-Lot?
Z-Ro: I am my own man. I have my own mind, and therefore, I do not entertain any beefs with anybody. It does not even enter my thought process. I have no beefs with 50. I have no beefs with none of the other members of the G-Unit camp. I know that the Game has a problem with my boy, Yukmouth, but that is about it. I have no beef.
AllHipHop.com: Who are some rappers that have demonstrated this sense of truth to you over the years?
Z-Ro: I would definitely have to say that Pac, KRS-One, Scarface, The Geto Boys, Street Military, K-Reno, and Klondike Kat were all of my inspiration to rap. They helped me when I was hustling to know that I would survive and rise above all of the hardships. They were cause and effect rappers. They knew that they had influence, and that is why when the grabbed the mic. They actually said something. That’s what I try to do.