“I come from nothing,” says Z-RO. “Didn’t have nothing and couldn’t see nothing up ahead. Everything was just nothing. So I told myself a long time ago that I am going to adopt the name of nothing and make something with it. I [took] that name to keep me grounded [and] to remind me of where I came from [and] to respect my blessings right now so I don’t go back that way.”
And the place where Z-RO came from was nowhere near nice. Born Joseph Wayne McVey in Houston’s rough and tumble South Park area. The 28 year old rap sensation was shuttled from household to household, in search of stability. But that stability would be even harder to find when at age six Z-RO’s mother died, forcing him to come to grips with pain at an early age. Once again Z-RO was forced to move to the east side of town, where things started to get kind of hectic for him. “That’s when shit started to get real,” recalls Z-RO. “A nigga started experiencing gun shots, stab wounds and all that other type of shit….all the shit that comes with being grown.”
By the time Z-RO had reached his late teens he had fallen victim to many of the traps that the system had set for young Black males, seeking a decent life with no jobs or opportunity available. He hit the block hustling.
Ironically, it was while he was hustling that he discovered rap music. According to Z-RO listening to the music of Tupac, The Geto Boys, Street Military, K-Reno and Klondike Kat inspired him to hustle harder so he could one day get himself out of the trap for good. It wasn’t long before Z-RO went from listening to rap music to kicking his own little freestyles over instrumentals that he heard on the radio and deciding that he was good enough to get into the rap game.
After going through a couple of studios recording demo after demo he finally caught a big break when he was hanging out in a studio and the CEO of a local rap label heard him free styling and signed him. In 1996 Z-RO Dropped his underground debut entitled “Look What You Done to Me.” The record created a huge buzz for Z-RO who quickly followed that up with Z-RO Vs the World and King of the Ghetto as well as a record by his group the Guerilla Maab. In addition to this Z-RO also joined the late great DJ Screw’s legendary Screwed Up Click and started spitting fire on the pioneering DJ slowed down tapes. All of these things helped to escalate Z-RO’s buzz throughout the South and by 2002 his talent and hard work caught the attention of Rap-a-Lot’s founder and CEO James Prince, who offered him a deal.
In 2004, Z-RO released his critically acclaimed Rap-a-Lot debut called The Life and Times of Joseph McVeigh. The record was a huge success and helped expand Z-Ro’s massive fan base beyond the Deep South. Now with his latest album Let the Truth be Told Z-RO is poised to take the world by storm, while starting a firestorm of controversy in the process. By sticking to what he calls “the G-Code” Z-RO is telling it like it really is on the streets and letting the chips fall where they may.
Produced by a slew of the South’s hottest producers lead by the legendary Mike Dean Let the Truth Be Told stands as one of the best records that the label has released in a while. True to Rap-a-Lot and Z-RO’s tradition of keeping their music real street is the lead single entitled The Mule featuring label-mate Devin the Dude & Juvenile, a slow and nasty song that harks back to the randy tradition of the Geto Boys “This Dick is for You” jam. “For those that don’t know hitting them with the mule means fucking the dog shit outta somebody’s daughter,” explains Z-RO. Another standout track is the heartfelt song “I’m Going Platinum,” a song that displays Z-RO positive outlook on his career. While these songs help to give the album a variety it is the hardcore, take-no-prisoners attitude of songs like the title page that make Let the Truth be Told so irresistible.
“I’m gonna let the truth be told on faggot-ass police. I’m let the truth be told on these faggot-ass CEOs of these record labels, I let the truth be told on these faggot-ass niggas in the street, I’m letting the truth be told on these rappers –that’s one thing about me is I tell like it is. You can call me a label muthafucka because I put labels on muthafuckas. It’s a lotta muthafuckas rapping from the 3rd person man. They just there to talk about shit in general. Me, I’m gonna talk about some particular shit or some particular muthafuckas. If I feel like a muthafucka’s being less than a G then I’m gonna say it on my shit. That’s why I called it Let The Truth be Told.”