By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
ZaeHD and CEO describes themselves as the best duo of all time — period. While they can respect the legacy of Outkast, they are confident in their ability to turn up, dance, and create bangers.
The moment the Little Rock natives realized this music thing was for real was after the release of their single “All In” and it was going all the way up. Currently, the official music video clocks in at over 6.6M views on Youtube alone. Fast forward to April 20th of this year, the duo released their debut album HighDefGang Vol. 1, which fans have been eating up.
In addition, they received a co-sign from Drizzy himself. AllHipHop chatted with ZaeHD & CEO while in LA about Future telling them to do music, the Shoot dance going viral, and fanbase back home in Little Rock.
AllHipHop: How’d you guys meet:
Zae: We don’t know. [sighs] At all. We’ve done 100 interviews, everybody asks that question.
CEO: We really don’t know.
AllHipHop: Why should people f##k w/ you?
CEO: Because we like to have fun. We wanna show people you can make any type of music. If you love your music and you're doing your best at what you do, then you can have fun with it and express your music. Do your own thing and succeed, while having fun.
AllHipHop: How’d Future tell you guys you should make music?
Zae: I was on tour with Future as a background dancer in 2017 and a little bit of ‘18. We were in Africa, it was an off day. We’re in his hotel room. He knows how to talk real good. He’s just sitting there like “man, ain’t none of ya’ll rap?” We’re like “hell nah.” We never considered it because s##t, we’re doing so much with dancing. He went on and on: “if you rap, da-da-da.” I’m like “the f##k? Bro I’m finna go to the house.” I came home, I’m like “ya’ll f##k that, we finna rap.” That was that. “Damn alright bet, we finna go out.”
CEO: Shout out to Pluto.
AllHipHop: What’s it like seeing the world doing the Shoot dance?
Zae: s##t, it was already a dance (from BlocBoy JB). What we were doing, if we like a song, we gon’ dance to it. We just made it a little routine. “Alright we gonna run this way, run that way.” We did it like that.
Ceo: They started basically using us as a tutorial.
Zae: People was going go to our video to learn how to do the Shoot. “Alright, this how you do it.” Now that's a different story. When we knew that, damn! Then we got nominated for a Nickelodeon Award, we’re like “what the hell? n##ga.”
CEO: That s##t was crazy, from dancing. We’re like “man, I know we can do this rap s##t.” [laughs]
AllHipHop: Talk about your fanbase in Little Rock. Can you guys walk outside freely?
CEO: We Chris Brown and Lil Bow Wow at home. We can, it’s cool.
Zae: We gonna get stopped. Everywhere we get stopped, but it ain’t like we gotta have security.
CEO: On the way here at the airport in the city, a little girl stopped me. She was just amazed. I was trying to hurry up and get to the flight because we’re already late, but I hurried and took the picture with her.
AllHipHop: Why'd you shoot “Smash” in Atlanta?
CEO: We shoot everything in Atlanta.
Zae: If we go to Atlanta, we’re shooting something, and we need pedestrians to walk in the background, we got 80 people to do that. But if we shoot it in New York, it’s literally gonna be us. We don't know anybody else.
CEO: Atlanta is our second home.
Zae: In Atlanta, we got our producer, our videographer, we got friends. If we need a DJ, we got them. We got a free studio, everything’s in Atlanta. It makes more sense for us to do everything over there.
AllHipHop: What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Zae: Keep doing your s##t. Don't listen to nobody.
CEO: Live, have fun, do your own thing. Don't let nobody tell you you can't make it, because you can. I swear you can. Look what we did.
Zae: Don't look for a plan B. If plan A don't work, make that s##t work.