Gorilla Zoe: Gorilla In The Mist
Zoe dropped his debut album Welcome To The Zoo on Bad Boy Records on Sept. 25--which was before the Boyz N Da Hood album. Born and raised in East Point, Atlanta, Zoe is part of Atlanta-based Block Entertainment, which includes Yung Joc and Boyz N Da Hood.
Zoe left his mother's house at age 14 before he got into street hustling before he made it into the studio and recorded himself with producer Chris Flame's help. A meeting with Block Entertainment led to him joining the company after he worked with Boyz individual members Big Gee, Jody Breeze and Big Duke. Zoe spoke to HipHopDX.com from Tampa, Fla. where he was taking pictures in the mall and speaking with fans.
DX: What has been your response to how well Hood Nigga is doing on commercial radio. Do you think it could be more popular?
GZ : That record has legs of its own. It started from the street. It was pushed by the street and slowly crossed over. It's one of them records that will be last a long time. It's an anthem.
DX: You have a street record that is a diss toward the Shop Boyz (called Block Star with Yung Joc, Block and Big Gee)?
GZ: That's not a diss towards the Shop Boyz. We just hopped on the track.
DX: What about the record that talks about The Game (called 1 Slugg)? Do you have the same feelings toward him when that record came out? Was that made awhile back? Do you still feel the same way?
GZ: No, it was just a response record you know. Atlanta.
DX: So do those negative feelings still exist with The Game?
GZ: He cleaned his statements up, so nah.
DX: Do you feel any pressure taking Young Jeezy's spot in Boyz N The Hood?
GZ: No, anything that happens to do with music it's no pressure to me. I ain't risking my life, I ain't taking no penitentiary chances. I'm not taking anything away from the movement, I'm a continuation.
DX:Your style, you do a lot of harmonizing and speed rapping and melodic. Where does your rapping style come from?
GZ : I don't know. God blessed me a gift to be able to get things across. Like, I just do me. Whatever comes out, comes out. I just try to be true to myself. Whatever comes out, comes out.
DX: How much does Puffy try to influence what you do?
GZ: You know, he got his input. Block does most of it; Block the hands-on [guy]. Block makes sure their with me everyday. It's mostly Block.
DX: Do you worry that people might overlook you with Yung Joc selling so many records?
GZ: That's not an obstacle with me.
DX: Has he tried to help you in terms of anything?
GZ: No, he's doing a lot of work. He got his own style, his own person. I have my own style, it is what it is.
DX: You have a son right?
GZ: I got twin boys. I'm saying I'm doing it for my kids.I mean, I do it for everybody. I do it for everybody. Basically, what I'm saying is it ain't about me. It ain't about me. It's never about me.
DX: Because--as you've said, it's not about you, do you feel the pressure to make it is really tough?
GZ: I been through so much stuff in my life. I really don't feel ... like I said, man, I been through so many heartaches and hard times in my life I really don't feel any pressure. I just go hard.
DX: In the rap world, do you look at anyone as competition or is it more that your carving your own lane.
GZ: Carving my own lane. I don't see competition. No one sounds like me, nobody has my style, I just carve my own lane.
DX: With people like Russell Simmons and others talking about toning down language in Hip Hop do you think about that?
GZ: Yes, I do. Yeah ... my album is so well rounded ... I have a song called Hood Nigga ... it's going to be a classic album. It touches on all subjects of life.
DX: When you classic album, anything you would compare it to?
GZ: Classic albums to me are like Dr Dres The Chronic, OutKasts Aquemini, UGKs stuff, 8Ball & MJGs On the Outside Looking In, just classic albums. [2Pacs] All Eyez On Me, stuff like that.
DX: Do you worry that some fans that are used to you on street mixtapes might not understand some of the album songs?
GZ: Nah, it's still me. A lot of stuff that I put out in streets was a hit record, but it's still the same
music, But it's still the same person.
DX: Do you think that you change style a lot with Boyz?
GZ: You say I do?
DX: I think you yell more with Boyz but maybe there are some records of yours I haven't heard ...
GZ: I definitely take it straight to the streets with Boyz N Da Hood.
DX: Why is that? Is that because the other guys are doing same thing? Is it the track?
GZ: I'm Gorilla. I can be chill one moment and then go hard the next moment. There's no one way I make ... That's what I mean no record is the same with me.
DX: Something that I read on the Internet, some people felt like you dumbed down the lyrics for Hood Nigga song. Do you disagree?
GZ: I did. I had to get into the game. [Laughs] Yep.
DX: Do you do that for other records?
GZ: It was just that one. They will not let you into the game if you talk about certain subjects. I had to get into the game.
DX: It doesn't seem like it's affecting you ... Do you worry about ...
GZ: No, they going to go buy it. It is what it is. My dumb down lyrics are better than some people's best lyrics so it is what it is.
DX: With everything you've encountered, is this best point in life or do you have more to accomplish?
GZ: I have so much more. I look in the mirror and say to myself I ain't shit.
DX: Is that musically or as a person?
GZ: A person. Like things that don't grow on a vine. I know it won't live so I got to grow and I remind myself everyday.
DX: There is a song on America Gangster where you're with Boyz on the hood on the song called Bite Down. You obviously rhyme about coke--is that something you indulge in?
GZ: Nah, nah. It's a party song. If you do it, you do it, you don't you don't. Like I said, I got a song on may album called Locked Up for Dead. I got songs where the whole song is like a prayer. You know, bite down is the street. You got people that do different things. I make music. Music is for the soul. It is for your emotions. Some people in the club, they doing their thing. They in a zone. Some people in the club just want to dance. I got a song called Juice Spot for the girls. I definitely got a surprise with the album, I'll say that now.
DX: Were you worried about 50, Kanye West or Chamillionaire dropping in the same month?
GZ: I'm definitely not worried. [Laughs] I'm not worried about them guys man.