He was gone for a minute, now he’s back with new singles and a new attitude. Lil’ Zane rapped his way onto the scene in the 90’s through talent shows and was discovered by the same man who brought Another Bad Creation, Monica and 112 to the mainstream. It was only a matter of time before Lil’ Zane was releasing albums, touring with 112 and viewing the world from the top. He even helped bring Akon to the forefront and worked with artists like Keri Hilson, Lil’ Wayne and Pitbull before people in the music industry caught on.
And then…..Zane experienced just how fickle the music industry can be and suffered through musical obscurity. But like the determined artist he is, this didn’t break him. Earlier this year, Zane made an appearance on 106th & Park’s 10th Anniversary, announcing his comeback with a new mixtape, The Missing Link and a new single, “Put It In My Lap.” Since then he’s released another single, “So Expensive,” and is reclaiming his place in hip-hop. His Follow Me Tour will hit stages in California, Georgia and Florida as well as few more U.S. spots in the top of the year.
This man is a father, CEO, rapper and actor and is determined to reclaim a top spot in hip-hop. “I’m back fans, and this time, I’m not going anywhere.”
Where you been?
I’ve taken off time to travel and visit with my fans in different countries. I’ve been traveling and spending time with my family. During my travels, I was able to take time to do some soul searching and I feel I’m coming back stronger than ever and ready to take on the music business - including all of the chaos the industry has to offer.
Your new singles, “Put It In My Lap” and “So Expensive,” what inspired them? Is this the type of sound we will be hearing from you?
Well “Put It In My Lap” was created as a tune that would hit the streets and stimulate a club movement. We didn’t intend for that to go mainstream, but the dj’s are definitely feeling it. My homie Tipse is definitely a good dude that is a motivated artist ready to blow! “So Expensive” was inspired by my momma. [It’s] about a girl, or women in general, that like good things but always keep their hearts pure and stay focused on God.
You seem to always have a few years in between albums. Why is that?
Well the main reason is that I wanted to take time to develop my music so I can deliver the best to my fans. This time around, I'm going the independent route and me and my team are putting thought into each single.
Are you still the CEO of US Entertainment? What made you go the business route?
I am still the president of US Entertainment. I have been for about four years. I decided to go the business route to make sure that I wasn’t going to ever get stuck in a situation that I might regret. It is very important for artists to know more about the business side of music in order to stay successful.
Any new music?
Right now I am working on several different music projects. Just put it this way, the world is going to be happy with the new Z.
What do you call your sound?
Real flow! A lot of hip-hop artists just try to put words together, in my music I generally tell a story. I also pay attention to my punches, they are very important. As an artist you should never stop evolving, so now I am entering into a whole new element of music, y’all get ready.
What do you feel about the other young dudes out there in hip-hop?
I love them. They are motivated. A lot of the entitlement issues are gone which makes it better for the labels. A lot of them look up to me, considering I am so accessible, they ask me a lot of questions all the time about how I made it and what they should do to catapult themselves into the industry. I try hard to lead by example.
Would you call yourself a double threat? Which do you prefer--music/acting?
I get asked that question a lot, I love both, my preference would be music all day and acting as my source of income. You can never stop acting. You will always grow into a new role.
What do you feel about what’s happening with the Young Money camp right now?
I think the stuff that’s going on with Drake, Weezy, Bow Wow and Nicki, [is] all expected because Lil’ Wayne is such a dominant figure in that camp. When a leader goes away and comes back to see that others have risen up to the challenge, it becomes a bit of a sensitive situation. I think leading with fear is old news. It’s time for people to help each other, support and love each other. That is why I started my own label; so that I can infuse my focus and code of ethics amongst the artist I work with.
How is your relationship with Akon considering you brought him to the scene years ago?
My relationship with ‘Kon is cool. I've always considered him a brother to me, although I have not been in communication with Kon for a while. I certainly understand busy schedules and traveling non-stop can put miles between friends, but at the end of the day Akon is my boy!
What’s it like being a father in the hip-hop industry?
It keeps me focused and aware of my responsibilities and how my words and actions can affect my young fans. Wow, I can’t thank God enough. My son is an absolute blessing to me. Thank you for asking.
Follow Zane on Twitter @lilzanesworld