Rapper Lil Zane Dishes on Latest Projects, Rap Culture & Musical Influences
Lil Zane leapt onto the music scene in the early 90’s at the age of 10 with a feisty hip-hop group called the Kronic. Interestingly, the Kronic’s style and lyrics resembled an assembly that came out just a few years prior called “Another Bad Creation.” The difference between the two groups is that the Kronic used vigorous wordplay that appealed to a more mature audience whereas Another Bad Creation rapped about girls, still stomping around the playground. Of course, Zane had charisma and a gift for spitting bars even then, which magnified him more.
The Kronic signed with RCA from 1993 to 1996. They released one viable single called It Bee’s Like That. Regrettably, the Kronic didn’t release another project afterwards. The record label pigeonholed Zane and the others into a contract where they had the deal, but they didn’t make any records, which sucked. This prompted one resolution… Zane learned that if he wanted to become successful, he needed to ditch his crew and fly solo as an independent artist. Once he did that, Zane performed all over Atlanta, Georgia and eventually caught the attention of R&B Group 112. He toured with them and earned an increasingly amount of admiration from his sprouting fan-base.
While touring with 112, Zane released Money Stretch, and it featured on the Next Friday soundtrack thanks to the tours and that industry push from 112. Zane released a full-length album, Young World:The Future. He did a song with 112 from the same project entitled Callin Me. The single landed on the Billboard top 200. Moving on with high momentum, In 1999, Zane featured on a track called Anywhere from the album Room 112 . The single peaked at number 15 on the Billboard top 100. Zane released The Big Bang Theory following that.
Things seemed to launch in the right direction, and the rapper released more projects over the years. That didn’t mean he didn’t experience his fair share of setbacks. He did, but that didn’t stop anything because Zane was still fixed on his career. Zane starred in urban flicks like Motives, Finding Forrester, Dr. Doolittle 2, Foolish Love, After Autumn, Love by Chance [UMC], Fighting Temptations, and Cultural Clash. He made appearances on television shows like The Parkers, One on One and Girlfriends.
For his more recent scores, Zane is flexing his muscle and taking a jab at another project where he’s actor and executive producer for the film Initiation, which is a modernized spin on Boyz n the Hood.
“I have a manager firm that I started called Moolah Makin Muzik," he continued to talk about his latest endeavors. “It’s run by me and my partner, “David Berrios and my other partner Quick. We manage comedian’s, artist, singers, writers, and producers. I have an artist that I manage by the name of D Phlo. Yawl, make sure to check him out. I have another artist that I’m managing called Princes Layah. Her Instagram is I Am Princess Layah. She’s pretty dope. She’s from New, Orleans, and D Phlo is from Florida. I got two artists that I’m pushing right now, hard. They got videos and everything out. We’re looking for new artist in the future but right now we are just focusing on these two, and we are trying to get my project off the ground. By 2020 in the middle of summer, we are going to do something new. But, right now, we gotta focus on what we’re doing.”
Sticking to the plan, Zane released a summer wind-up. It’s a spicy single with an unforgettable motief entitled Vibes Right Here. The teaser is an absolute smoker. Zane is sending a message loud and clear that he’s still a melody maker in the game just in case people forgot.
“I like to keep it sexy for the ladies,” he chuckled a little when asked about the track. “I learned from Tupac, you gotta make music for the ladies that the streets will feel, and that’s what I always do. I go into the studio and make music that the ladies love, and that the streets can relate to, cause all thugs need love, too. I always wanted to bring that element to let guys like me, from the streets, know that you still gotta keep it fly and keep it sexy for the ladies. With this new project, you’re going to get a lot of that. It’s a lot of sexy vibes going on. There’s beautiful things happening on my newest album called Post Stardom. It’s about twelve to fifteen tracks. It’s just like a Caribbean, trap, vibe. It’s going to be really dope,” he finished.
Vibes Right Here
Let’s give credit where credit is due, Zane is a standout creative. He’s also a polygonal artist just like Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Tupac Shakur, and Ice T. He’s acting and still recording albums till this day as mentioned. Zane is keeping up with the amending generations and their prerequisite for music.
“I’m in the studio right now working on my new album,” he assures. “I’m putting a lot of work into it and working with a lot of dope producers. I’m Pushing my new single Vibes Right Here. It’s on Soundcloud. I have a few singles, that I’ve been pushing out there, getting the fans hyped up, and getting them ready for what I’m about to drop on them. We’re on the road. I got a BET special that’s going to drop in a few weeks. I think the fans are going to enjoy that. It’s touching on my life, the ups and downs. I’m bringing them up-to-date with what I’m doing right now but it’s a visual. I’m excited about that. The fans can keep up with me on my IG, Lil Zanes World. I’ll keep them posted on what’s going on with that. I’m excited about that, and I’m excited to hit the road and promote this new project. It’s a lot of crazy things going on right now.”
Zane started over 20 years ago as a rapper. So, technically, he’s pioneering just by longevity alone although he won’t admit that he’s on O.G with a young spirit.
“It’s so weird… I came into the game young. I feel like I’m still young now. I’m mid-thirties. I feel like people that are really forty and under, they’re still from our generation. As for me, just being able to come out in the in the era of year 2000, I know people affiliate me with that era. I was always younger than those guys,” he admitted. “I was younger than the rappers like Nelly and DMX, artist that were hot during that time. I was only ninteen or eighteen years old. As far as the category of my [now] music, I think it’s a little new school but relevant to what’s going on right now. You gotta keep the essence in there. You will always hear that old sound in my music that will remind you of something else because I got an old soul and an old spirit no matter how new the music is, or how music changed. I will always put that feeling in it that we had when we were growing up from Michael Jackson to Prince, people that brought that real soulful music to the game. I think that I’m always going to have that in my music.”
To some extent, Zane is a vet. Again, it goes back to longevity. He’s got about two decades under his belt as a booming rapper. Therefore, it made sense to get Zane’s honest perspective on the music industry. He said that he’d like to see more collaborations with R&B and hip hop artist.
“Back in the day we had a lot of singing. There’s not really a lot of rap songs that’s out now with girls singing. There aren’t any rap songs with singing on the hook. It’s just a lot of rapping,” says Zane. “I’m trying to bring back that R&B mix but still keeping the music trap, fly and swaged out. That’s what I’d want to see more of. Overall, I want to see more artist collaborations like the Weekend and Chris Brown. I’d like to see more dope videos and people getting more creative with their videos instead of people getting in front of the camera with their iPhone. Nobody is putting effort into their visuals anymore. I want to see artist put more effort into that so the fans can enjoy it. They want to see entertainment and you gotta entertain. That’s what I’m tying to do with my videos. I always have a concept behind my visuals that leave you with a feeling when you watch it. Do you remember when Michael Jackson did those videos, you were blown away, and you ran in the room, put you shiny glove on as well as your shiny jacket. You wanted to wear the hat, too. I think videos should do that now. When Eminem came out, he had the white shirt and blond hair. He made all the little kids want to go out there, dye their hair, and wear white t-shirts. He was always entertaining them. He’s always been like that. I think that’s pretty dope. Lil Wayne is good at that, too. There’s very few artist that when they drop music, the world follows them because of their videos and shows. I think it should be more entertainment in the entertainment business,” he urged. “Just be creative. I just want to see something different.”
Along with that, Zane encourages our readers to follow him on social media. He says that he’s interactive and he follows back.
“We are in a place right now and a time right now in music where we can directly touch our fans whereas before, we had to go through fan clubs and tour all these different cities, which I love doing; but you had to do that just to interact with your fans. Now, we have Instagram. You can Facetime your friends and video chat with your friends. There are so many ways to connect. You can drop a video every minute of the day or every hour of the day just informing your fans of what you are doing, and how you’re doing. You can let them know what you’re up to and they let you know what they are up to, or interested in. I think that’s really dope. I’m taking advantage of it. I’m always on IG and Facebook, talking to my fans. I show them a side of Zane that they probably didn’t know about. I got family and two beautiful kids that are eight and nine years old, Lillie and Baby Z. The fans love to see stuff like that, and that’s the stuff we couldn’t show them before like back in 2000 before the internet and social media kicked in. I think that’s important to utilize the platform and talk to your fans.”
Zane took a little hiatus from the music scene but he’s back and more charged than ever.
“I don’t think I’ve been gone that long. I’ve been kind preparing you guys and doing a little bit of growing, getting ready for this new chapter I got. I promise that’s its different, but I also know that people love the old Zane, too. I want to introduce you to the new Lil Zane, so we are going to do the Young World: The Future Part 2 album next year. It’s going to be the 20th anniversary of my first album. Yawl mark the calendars for August,, 2020. I’m releasing my anniversary project. We’re dropping it and I’m going to get 112, Jay E, I’m trying to get a lot of people that I worked with on the first album. We’re going to redo some of the songs and add some new stuff. I want to redo some of the songs with the new artist that I’m down with and kicking it with. I’m especially excited about that. We’re doing a tour along with that. I think that’s going to dope for the hardcore, loyal fans. As for the new fans, it’ll catch them up, and maybe they’ll acknowledge that I been doing it. It’s going to be crazy.”
Many artists growing up influenced the rapper, but no one left an impact on him like Tupac Shakur.
“When Pac passed, I felt that. His music influenced me more because I felt that he was my big bro doing music. He made me want to inspire my little brothers that I have in real life. I felt that my big bro [Tupac] was doing it so I wanted to do it like that or even better.”
Zane said that he was born to do music just like his big bro, Tupac. He's always going to do entertainment because he can't see himself doing anything else. "When you are obsessed about something, that's when you're successful, when you can't see yourself doing nothing else," he says.
In The Clouds
Lil Zane Don't Spill My Liquor