(AllHipHop Features) “Call me Choppa,” has become a catchphrase for the villainous gangster on Money & Violence. Some viewers of the popular street drama may not realize the man that portrays Rafe’s archenemy is actually a rapper that goes by the name Choppa Zoe offscreen.
The Palm Beach bred, New York City based entertainer is a proud descendant of Haiti. With season 2 of Money & Violence currently premiering on Tidal, Choppa has teamed with the streaming platform to debut his single “Ok Ok” off the forthcoming Haitian fueled Zoe of Zoe’s mixtape. In addition, he is also a participant in the Tidal Discovery program which highlights up-and-coming unsigned acts.
Choppa Zoe talks with AllHipHop.com about his burgeoning music career. The exclusive interview features the Bronx resident discussing his connection to Tidal and his noteworthy turn in Money & Violence as well.
[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Money & Violence’ Creator Moe Verneau Talks Season 2, Teaming With Tidal & Getting Advice From Jay Z]
You're from West Palm Beach. How did you end up in the Bronx?
Well I moved from West Palm back in ‘07. I've lived all over the city - Staten Island, Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. The Bronx is my second home though for real. I moved to NY back then to do what I am doing now - chasing my dreams!
How long have you been making music?
I've been making music since I was 12. I used to rap over all my mama’s old Haitian cassettes, then I'd get my ass beat for doing so. [laughs]
What's the status of your relationship with Wyclef Jean?
Me and Clef are cool, that's the homie! That was such a dope experience. I learned a lot from Clef. You can't pay for the experience or the wisdom you gain from being around such an all-around artist like Clef.
Who are some of the producers/features on Zoe of Zoe’s?
Well, a lot of the producers on this project are my home team like Severe Noise. He did about four songs on the mixtape. I also have an in-house producer name Ranser [Elrey]. He's a beast too! He did the single that's out right now, “Ok Ok.” Oh, I can't forget about Vinny Idol. He produced a crazy song called “Take a Risk!” A lot of variety on the mixtape.
Can you explain the meaning of the title?
Zoe of Zoe’s means I am next. I’ve been grinding for a long time, so I’m gonna take it. It also brings the proper representation and light of the culture and what the word “zoe” really stands for. Today you have a lot of misrepresentation of the word and the culture as a whole. So on Zoe of Zoe’s you can expect my story and just some real zoe sh*t. Shout out to all the other zoes grinding heavy - Zoey Dollaz, Kodak Black, Lil Zoe, everybody! 18zoe4
How did you get connected with Tidal Discovery?
My homegirl Sharri actually brought me through the office to meet Emory Jones. We sat in his office for about 20 minutes just talking and building. I told Emory my story, and we all know his story - sh*t, if you don't, learn it. So I think it goes back to the old saying “real recognize real.” He respects the grind overall. Then he introduced me to Jason from Tidal. Jason loved the music, and we've been cooking ever since. Shout out to my girl Sharri too.
Why did you decide to release your single on Tidal?
I feel like Tidal is a great platform for independent artists like myself to drop a brand new single. Being that Money & Violence is now on Tidal, it makes even more sense for me to release music there... Plus the hood is finally talking about Tidal, so it's all the way lit! [laughs]
Your character on Money & Violence is sort of a villain on the series? What has been the response from the public for your character?
You know what is crazy about the fact that I'm a villain, you would think people dislike me, but I actually get a lot of love in the streets. When people see me, they laugh, they scream, "call me Choppa." They ask for pictures, so the response is great. I also have the fans that see me and say, “I don't like you on the show. Why’d you shoot Rafe?!” I had a woman last year scream at me in the store for Choppa shooting Rafe. [laughs] I had to explain to everyone in the store that she's talking about a show and not real life. They were all looking at me like I was a mad man. That was crazy. [laughs]
How has season 2 of the show moving to Tidal impacted the series?
I think it's a big deal. I think it helped the series a whole lot. We were able to step everything up without losing the show’s authenticity.
There has been a conversation in Hip Hop about the lack of attention placed on street rap in the mainstream. Do you agree with French Montana's belief that the industry is trying to push Hip Hop away from street-centered rap?
I have to say yes and no. I do feel like the gangster rap/street rap is being pushed out in a sense, but at the same time I just feel you have to make hot sh*t whether it's commercial or street. There's a lot of street records in rap history that are hit records, big hit records even. Today I think it's all about a balance. You have to be able to do both, but in a certain way.
What's next for your career?
Well, I just want to continue to push my music, continue to let the world know who I am, and just grow daily. You know when the time comes for the first album, we'll get there. But for now, I want to continue to build my brand.
Stream Choppa Zoe’s music on Tidal here.