Zayewave is here to start cause a wave and he is spreading it from Delaware to the rest of the world.
While he was born in Newark, the rapper was a military kid growing up, oftentimes telling people he’s “global” when asked his origin. Releasing his first ever music video at the young age of 11, Zayewave is the definition of a go-getter, continuing the grind as he turns his dreams into a reality.
In describing himself, he states, “I do a lot of introspection. I’m very goal-oriented. Once I put my sights on something, it’s over. I’m a very persistent, caring, determined person.”
WIth each release, Zayewave flexes his versatility to transcend genres and ability to switch things up. As evidenced on his most recent single “I Just Wanna,” the rising star creates music that’s easy to feel, almost as if he’s in a room talking to you. All his lyrics are inspired by real-life experiences, with healing power for himself and all those who listen.
AllHIpHop caught up with Zayewave via FaceTime to discuss his roots around the world, biggest influences, how he got his name, the inspiration behind TSUNAMI, Tee Grizzley reaching out to him via DM, working with Zaytoven and more.
AllHIpHop: What was it like being a military kid?
Zayewave: When people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m global because I was a military kid, so I grew up all over the world. I was born in Delaware, left a month after I was born and grew up all over the world. A whole bunch of different states, different countries. Then we came back here, I was living in a bunch of places: Middletown, Wilmington, and Newark, Delaware.
AllHIpHop: Biggest influences coming up?
Zayewave: The person who made me pick up the pen and start writing was Eminem when I was really young. He’s the person who made me pick up the pen, I respected his lyricism and artistry as an emcee. I used to sound like him and everything. I was always flexible with the things I wrote about in my art.
It got to the point where people couldn’t really fully digest it because it was too much to take in. I had to dumb It down. Besides him, it was 50 Cent and Lil Wayne. Now, I can say people like Future and Money Man are my top 2 influences right now. I’d have to put The Weeknd in there too, he definitely influenced a few of my projects.
AllHIpHop: At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Zayewave: When I realized I was good at it. People gravitated towards my music and would always tell me I was really good at it. I just had that talent, so I kept on going. Kept on being persistent, investing a lot of my money and effort into it. Now I’m at where I am now, still have a long way to go.
AllHIpHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
Zayewave: There really wasn’t a whole lot. People nowadays would say it had something to do with that artist Rod Wave, but I got the name before I knew who he was. I got the name because I did a song called “ZayeWave.” It was a while ago, I was 16. In the song, I talked about being on the Zayewave. Zayewave is a movement. I’m Zaye, I go by Zaye. My supporters are the wave, they’re the ones who keep things pushing.
The wave is really about being on your grind, being on your purpose. Those who are on their purpose, with me as well, I claim to be on the wave. When they listen to the music, they can understand the things I talk about and the energy I put out makes you want to get up and do something.
AllHIpHop: TSUNAMI album out now, how are you feeling?
Zayewave: TSUNAMI took about 6 months to make. I wanted to really take my time with it. I consider it to be my first serious album. I dropped an album back in November of 2020, but that was more of a mixtape that somehow turned into an album to me so I didn’t really have the same serious type feeling going into it.
TSUNAMI is very personal, it’s like you’re looking into a microscope on what goes on in my mind and what I’m really doing in real life. It helps people understand where I’m at mentally. TSUNAMI is based off of my name Zayewave, being that it’s the biggest wave. It’s terrifying, it comes at you very quickly. There’s nothing you could do but be consumed by it. That’s what I plan to do, consume everyone.
AllHIpHop: Bring us back to when you recorded “I Just Wanna.”
Zayewave: I went to a $2.1 million dollar beach house. I have some family friends, who were nice enough to let me go out there and record the video. I help them out from time to time, I hook them up. They let us come record it, they gave us the whole house. I had my cameraman come out there, took care of them. It was an hour-long drive to get down there. The house was beautiful, the video came out pretty well. My first ever music video too.
AllHIpHop: Really? How was that experience?
Zayewave: It was very awkward at first because everyone’s behind the camera, you‘re the only one in front of it and all the attention is on you. I’m not really that type of person, but that’s weird to say being an artist. A lot of positives though: the team was very cool, very genuine. They were hard workers, they were about it.
AllHIpHop: Best memory from the video shoot?
Zayewave: Being outside on the balcony by the pool, because you could see the beach right from there. Basically, we’re on top of the beach. We’re on the sand. Being outside and feeling that natural environment, the energy around there, how quiet it was, and the fact it was a $2.1 million house. It was shot on Slaughter Beach, Delaware.
AllHIpHop: What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Zayewave: The main goal really is for my energy to stay here on this planet. The reason I started making music is because I’ve always felt I had this purpose, I want to be remembered for something by a lot of people in a positive light. I want to be able to touch people. The only way I could think of doing that was through music.
As long as one person’s playing one song of mine, even after I’m long gone 6 feet under the ground, I’ll still be alive. Because that’s how I see the other legends like Kobe RIP to him and Pop Smoke, their energy is still lived through others. They’re still alive. Until all that’s done, then they’re dead, but that’s the main thing. As far as the supporters, I want them to have someone that knows how they feel. That knows what they’re going through, that’s able to get them through that and inspire them to really do their best in whatever they decide to do.
AllHIpHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Zayewave: I need a water bottle because my voice goes hoarse a lot. Some songs, we may do a lot of takes. I’m yelling in there sometimes, it’s always a good time. Definitely water, I need some good lighting. I like for it to be dark, but I need to be able to add some colorful lights around me.
I like the color blue because psychologically, it promotes creativity in the human mind. There’s probably some other things, but my mother might read the article. [laughs] I like to be sober when I’m recording. I like to be focused and sharp. Most times.
AllHIpHop: Can you touch on your Isolation mixtapes?
Zayewave: Part 2 was released this past January, the day after my birthday. This is going to be part 3, it’s going to be something special. One of my brothers is executive producing our tape, he made all the beats. It’s 70% complete right now, I have everything written down on my whiteboard. It’s going to be special, that’s all I can say. I don’t like to talk too much about upcoming music, I like to have some mystery behind it.
AllHIpHop: Talk about how you make music now, versus how you used to.
Zayewave: Now I’m spending anywhere from $200 to $300 on a couple of songs in the studio and thousands on other related things to elevate myself. The vibe is always right. I’m very controlling about the studio, people know I take it serious. Anyone who’s in the studio with me knows I’m about business when I’m in there. I want to use every single minute of every hour I’m in there. I want things to come out right and how I envisioned it.
My engineer is amazing, he gets it out exactly how I hear it. Now compared to when I was a lot younger at 14 or 13 even, I was in the garage in my room dealing with this real cheap Dell laptop. I used to record with Apple earbuds with a little mic on the side of the wire. I didn’t have a legitimate recording software, I used Camtasia which is used to edit videos for YouTube. I made it work!
AllHIpHop: How’d it feel getting the Tee Grizzley cosign?
Zayewave: Oh man, that was crazy. That was this past January too, right before I released Isolation. The day or maybe the day after I released it, he hit me up. He reached out to me via DMs on Instagram, we started talking business. He wanted to use his platform to push me, so we made that happen.
AllHIpHop: I seen Zaytoven on your page!
Zayewave: Zaytoven came through from Tee Grizzley’s team. Tee Grizzley’s team reached out to me, texted my phone and told me the whole situation. Originally, I was supposed to get on the livestream with Tee, but a lot of problems came up. His wife was pregnant at the time, his brother got into some legal trouble, a lot going on.
His team and Zaytoven’s team are linked so they reached out. He and I talked, we developed a relationship. It’s to the point where I could hit him up and ask for advice, he’s a real genuine guy. Real amazing.
AllHIpHop: How did you guys tap in initially?
Zayewave: Tee Grizzley’s manager hit me up and told me Tee Grizzley’s situation, said “we’re gonna reach out to Zaytoven’s team for you.” He really is the one who made it happen because I wasn’t even planning to work with Zaytoven. Truth is, I didn’t know a whole lot about him at the time. He reached out and told me. Truth is, I didn’t really know too much about Zaytoven then. I knew he was an amazing producer, I knew his history, but I didn’t know what he’s capable of. I didn’t know he really was the pioneer of trap music, until I did my research.
A lot of people in my generation don’t know that, so I did all my research on him. I like to know who I’m talking to. Tee Grizzley’s manager told me “I heard some of your music, it’s real dope. I think you and Zaytoven on a track together would sound amazing.” He hooked me up with Zaytoven, he checked out some of my music. He liked it. From there, we made a song together.
AllHIpHop: Relationship with Grouchy Greg (AllHipHop Founder)?
Zayewave: A real personal relationship. I know him, I’ve been to his house multiple times. His kids are like my little nephews. When my mom was young, she had this girl she was real best friends with to the point they call each other sisters. That sister grew up and married him, that’s how we know him. He’s a family friend and a very genuine one at that.
AllHIpHop: With the world opening back up, what’re you most excited for?
Zayewave: Really, I haven’t really been doing anything different. The one thing I’m most excited about is being able to not wear a mask anymore at the gym. Makes it hard to breathe.
AllHIpHop: Who you bumping in the gym?
Zayewave: I bump myself. I bump Future. Sometimes, I’ll listen to interviews while I’m in there. I like to listen to Kevin Samuels a lot, his livestreams where he talks to people. He’s funny. I listen to Marlon Brando, Vito Corleone, I was listening to one of his interviews. He was a very outstanding guy. I listen to some rappers too of course, but a lot of actors and people who are inspirational. Denzel Washington, people I really respect.
AllHIpHop: Anything else you’d like to let us know?
Zayewave: All I can say is I feel extremely blessed. I can attribute all of my success I’m getting this year so far, which has definitely been my best year for multiple reasons, to people praying for me, to my support. Very very extremely appreciative of all my support I’ve been getting, it’s been real and love.
AllHIpHop: I get supporters calling me from all over the world. I had someone call me from California the other day, all the way across the country to tell me he really appreciates what I’m doing. It’s crazy because I appreciate you even tuning in. Without them, none of this would be possible. I wouldn’t be doing it without these people. I credit all of my success to everyone who’s been praying for me and supporting me. I mean that with every bone in my body, that’s all it is.