I Got A Story To Tell takes a look at emerging hip-hop and R&B artists, told through the words of guest contributor Louis Fagelson
With the experience of a seasoned producer, King Z3us tells his story over well-mastered instrumentals with flair. Z3us’ new album, Y.B.E., allows him to share a piece of his life and city with the people. The Harlem rapper has been crafting beats since high school and after suffering a career ending college football injury, decided it was time to put the pen to paper. His excellence through fundamentals has helped open doors including working with veteran producer !llmind on a handful of tracks.
Soul in Stereo: Hey Z3us, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I read that your music career was born after you suffered an injury playing college football. Tell me a little bit about that.
Z3us: No problem, yeah I was a wide receiver/running back at Concordia University in Wisconsin. I tore my achilles my sophomore year and that was really the end of my football career. I had been making beats since high school, but I started to take it more seriously after moving back to Harlem.
At what point did you decide you wanted to start writing your own stuff?
I was sending beats out, but I wasn’t getting back what I wanted. It wasn’t that the verses were weak, the artists just didn’t share my vision that I had for the tracks. I really had a clear idea of how I wanted the song to sound, and it wasn’t happening. I finally put the pen to paper, and started doing it myself.
Who are some of your favorite producers to work with?
So far, working with !llmind was definitely a highlight. Beats by Eclipse is a producer out of Michigan, L’Camino, and Aglo from Toronto were all pretty cool.
What is your favorite place to perform?
Urban Plaza in New York. I played a show with Savoy on the Thousand Lights Tour. It was pretty wild, the energy from the crowd was crazy.
What makes Y.B.E. different than any of your previous releases?
I feel like I made the other projects for other people, like I was trying to grow my fan base and make music that people would enjoy listening to. I didn’t really dig deep; I just wanted people to get to know me and my sound. I’m treating Y.B.E. as the sound people will come to expect from me moving forward; it’s a much more in-depth journey through my experiences in Harlem and life in general.
Does the current political atmosphere affect your music?
It absolutely affects it. It’s blended with everything I experience in my city. They want to see you f**k up. It’s rough, but it’s definitely a part of it.
How involved are you in the production of the tracks’ beats?
I have a really good relationship with all my producers. !llmind was really dope to work with. I’m more hands off now, compared to when I was making them from scratch myself, but its common for me to share the studio with them while they’re cooking up. I always take care of my producers because I know what it’s like to be on the other end.
Are you a big New York sports fan?
Not at all actually. I do like the Yankees, but my other sports teams are the Patriots and Spurs. It’s all about building a strong program in my opinion. That’s just me, that’s my personality. The fundamentals are important.
What’s on the horizon in 2018 for King Z3us?
A lot stuff man, Y.B.E. drops February 16; I’m dropping a documentary to complement the album. I’m taking people back to origins with than one. Other than that, more bangers, more visuals. Should be a good year.
Take a listen to Y.B.E. below.
King Louie reps East Tennakey with Super Saiyan swag. Dope instrumentals are great but I’m looking for lyrics that will tell a story. Wordplay and delivery are key. Hit me up on twitter @lfagelson.