By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
Z Money is a young rapper, hustler, entrepreneur from Chicago — who refuses to let up in any of his endeavors.
He’s someone who invested a lot of money inself, rising from the mud to now being signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 imprint.
In fact, he states “the only person that could ever sign me was Gucci.”
The reason audiences should f##k with him is because he’s authentic, he’s real, and his story is relatable. If you can’t relate to it, guarantee one of your family members will.
The “Wealthy” rapper spits nothing but the truth, fueled by life experiences. He’s not a d##krider and follows no trends, he’s simply Z Money.
AllHipHop sat with Z Money ahead of the release of Shawty Paid to discuss the reality of selling dope in Chicago, making millions, and meeting Shoreline Mafia through 03 Greedo.
AllHipHop: What’s the best part of being with Gucci?
Z Money: We much related. Best part is working with somebody you always looked up to, doing what you dreamed. That’s why I always tell anybody out there to keep going. Keep hustling. I was a street kid. I never knew I was going to be a rapper, I wanted to be the best hustler. I didn’t always have stuff planned out. I worked at it, kept going and seen the vision. I’m the type of dude whatever I do, I’ma go hard. I started and never stopped. It brought be here. Z Money, an all-time hustler. I got restaurants, truck lots, and just rapping.
AllHipHop: Talk about being from Chicago where there are so many legends & new cats. Where do you fit?
Z Money: Hands down, ain’t no other artist like me where I’m from. I came in with no vouchers, no help, no nothing. Went far and did what I did. Everybody knows Z Money is me. In Chicago I shout to everybody that’s working, but I’ma stay me.
AllHipHop: Who are your favorite rappers out of Chicago?
Z Money: I f##k with everybody. I f##k with the older cats, I f##k with the younger. I f##k with the new motherf##kers coming up.
AllHipHop: I just interviewed Polo G. You f##k with him?
Z Money: Polo G is my boy. That’s gang. I f##k with Polo. Calboy, I f##k with lil bro. It’s a lot of motherf##kers I f##k with. I got an artist Brick Fare, he’s hard. 4E.P. is one of my artists, he hard. It’s a lot of artists in Chicago I f##k with, who people don’t even notice. I got Atlanta artists I f##k with. A lot of artists who only I f##k with, I’m not no trend.
AllHipHop: Do people f##k w/ each other out there?
Z Money: Man, you know how it goes. It’s regular street s##t. Chicago, we gangs and s##t. It’s bigger than the streets. If you f##k with somebody’s cousin who’s a rapper in this gang, 9 times out of 10 somebody might not f##k with you. s##t, just mind your own business and go your own way.
AllHipHop: Talk about your new single “Wealthy.” What was your mindset recording this?
Z Money: I go off of vibes and that was my feeling that day. Sometimes, you feel good. I don’t just go in the studio and think about a lot, I just go off of what the f##k comes to my brain. I was feeling wealthy and healthy so I put it on the track.
AllHipHop: You say “I was down bad broke now I’m healthy.” Talk about the grind from the beginning. What was your household like growing up?
Z Money: That’s the truth. I come from the hood but my father was the person that took us out that. He had a way, but that was my father’s money. My father went to jail. My mother was almost poor, she was on drugs. My father was poor going to rich, started doing his thing and got his money up. I was in both worlds. My father lived in the suburbs, my mother lived out west. I was always in the middle of it. I come from the floor, I come from grinding. I come from outside really tryna grind and get a dollar. I started selling candy. I use to shovel people snow for $10. I used to rake their grass come fall season. I used to do all things to get money, coming from the bottom.
AllHipHop: Most you ever spent a bag on?
Z Money: I spent a lot of bags. You talking to someone who really started off spending money at a young age. I was 17, 18 years old with a million dollars.
Z Money: I just told you how. I come from the streets.
AllHipHop: A million at 18!?
Z Money: I’ma say this, real n##ga s##t. Now having a whole million dollars at one time, probably didn’t do that until I was 20. I ran through a whole million by the time I was 20 years old. But I had $250K, $350k for sure. I’m a heroin baby. I come from selling heroin. We doing $10K to $15k a day.
AllHipHop: How do you stay rich if you’re spending so much?
Z Money: However you get rich, you can’t stop doing it. I know people who got real legit jobs and still hustle. They say they gon’ stop hustling 10 years ago, but they still hustle because they so used to the money brought in, it’s hard to stop. That’s 90% of people. How I got up is how I got rich. There’s no money like dope money, I don’t give a f##k what you saying.
You see El Chapo, ain’t no money like heroin money. That’s something I got introduced to at an early age. I’m from the West Side of Chicago, that’s what we do. We sell drugs on blocks. We in competition with different blocks. I’m on North Ave, you on Chicago Avenue. I might got a block on the Ave. doing $8K dollars a day. Might even be a block on Chicago Ave. doing $25K a day. f##k a day, before 10am.
[Shows an article of the heroin epidemic in Chicago]
Z Money: See this? It’s a line of junkies. My friends got locked up for this. West Side of Chicago, that’s my area. Almost 400 junkies lined up, everybody spending $20 or more. You do the math. This 6am, 8am.
By the time 7pm comes, you made $50K profit. Imagine doing that every day. My father used to come in the house with bags of money. Back in the day, this s##t was even bigger. I’m glad to come from where I’m from. I could talk to ya’ll about what I used to do.
Now I feel good being able to take care family. Now, nobody checking my back. That s##t sounds good but at the same time, it’s stressful.
AllHipHop: How long were you locked up for?
Z Money: I just came home in 2015. I did a year, came back, then did another year. I dodge a lot of bullets. I thank the Lord because right now, I’m supposed to be having a lot of time somewhere.
AllHipHop: Biggest lesson you learned from being locked up?
Z Money: Patience is key. I was moving a lot. Really learning from my mistakes, grinding it out. Before I went to jail, I wasn’t really taking music serious. I was one foot in, one foot out. I’d wake up in the morning still hustling, at night go to the studio, but I didn’t have passion to drop it. I didn’t have a plan. Now when I leave the studio, I think about how I’ma drop a video, etc.
AllHipHop: What’s the best memory you have with Gucci?
Z Money: Every time me and Gucci together, it’s one of my favorite memories. We’re are so much alike. Working, staying to it, just grinding. Guys like us, we went our own route. We could be easily been robbing, selling drugs, doing the wrong s##t. It’s good to have a mentor and it’s good to learn. I’m in a learning stage right now, grow up to be the beast I am.
AllHipHop: What do you want your legacy to be?
Z Money: Ain’t no want, my legacy will be a stand up guy. 10 toes all around the board. Hustler, stand down, I’m not gon’ stop. People might as well get used to me. Since I started rapping in 2012, I been doing me. Only time I slow down is when I’m in jail. When I’m out, I’m always gonna be on top of my game. Always. I’m not gonna let that step away from me, that’s just my lifestyle.
AllHipHop: What’s the biggest memory touring with Shoreline Mafia?
Z Money: Selling out them f##king shows. That’s the best memory, selling out shows every night.
AllHipHop: I know they party, what was that lifestyle?
Z Money: Me, I’m not a big partier. They probably partied on they own. I go my own way. I might party a lil bit but I ain’t with too much of the ruckus.
AllHipHop: Talk about meeting Shoreline through Greedo.
Z Money: Greedo my boy. That’s my brother brother. Me and Greedo met in New York, that’s who got me close to Shoreline. Shout out to TK and Picasso. We didn’t even know each other, Greedo heard me talking to the hotel people. He’s like “where you from?” I said Chicago. He said “I f##k with you bro, you on the same s##t I’m on.” I said “bet, take down my number.” We go in the label office and see each other, they had booked us at the same hotel. I’m 1017 but 1017 is through Alamo/Interscope. I got to LA and Greedo met me at Paramount. Me and Greedo did 4 or 5 songs that first night.
AllHipHop: What can we expect on Shawty Paid?
Z Money: Shawty Paid is the hardest tape thus far I done dropped. You can expect bangers. You can expect hits. You can expect the real Z Money. Shawty Paid, 1017 s##t. I’m dropping gas. Get ready, get used to it. It’s finna be a crazy summer.