Harlem remains one of the pinnacle hotbeds of the east coast hip hop scenes. Introducing King Z3US, who rose up by first making beats, the single “21 Pounds”, The Chris Ferg Project EP & the self-titled EP produced by !llMind; A$AP Ferg’s cousin furthers his own personal narrative with news of the upcoming Y.B.E> (Young.Black.Entrepreneurs) EP soon to be released. Bringing some holiday cheer to the hometown court, King Z3US presents the world premiere for “Westbrook” that salutes the OKC Thunder point guard by setting an example as the face of his own fledgling franchise. Proclaiming himself as the king of the court, King Z3US brings some diamond-studded swag to the Western Conference Northwest Division with an NYC style & sensibility.
With a smoky atmospheric production that is built around a slowed church bell sample, “Westbrook” imagines a super posh King Z3US asserting dominance & royalty in front of a Russell Westbrook highlight reel. The hazy back-beat of 808s & semblances of specters & the eerie warped chime of rings immerses Z3US’s vocals as the Harlem son boasts claims to the crown in a self-styled coronation ceremony. Refusing to be phased by any aspect of adversity that might hinder the King’s ascent, the emcee’s presence emerges from the track’s fog machine aesthetic that rises skyward like strong steaming vapors. Z3US counts adornments, blessings & other regal embellishments that establish the artist as a force to be reckoned with in the ever shifting rap game. Displaying a confident, cool & collected state of mind; verses of experience & active ambitions rep the local Harlem home-digs with a sound that reverberates from both the east to west coasts.
Describe how your cousin A$AP Ferg inspired you to find your own mic presence.
Lord knows its inspiring to see your family in the game and prospering. And this isn’t friends who you call fam, but a legit first cousin. I started out my journey as a music producer and over time found my voice and sound. I sat with my beats for so long, that after getting denied by people so many times I was ready to just do me. That’s when I began to take it more seriously. We come from a family of celebrities in they own right so I saw his success coming before it happened. lol. Even as teenagers I knew he was destined to be great. However, me being the man I am I knew his success didn’t mean anything was going to be handed to me. I knew I had to take everything I ever wanted.
How would you describe the Harlem of your early youth to say the Harlem of now, how it’s changed, what’s better, what isn’t, etc.
Harlem growing up was raw and organic. Yeah we might’ve gotten into fights and all that but it was nothing different from what happens in any other hood across the world. Looking at Harlem now I miss the community aspect of it. We had after school programs that were lit summer camps, teen parties that were—looking back on it—lit. Summertime cookouts, summer basketball tournaments (without the extra shit). It was all love. Harlem was about the love. Now it just feels like a business and a “dog and pony show”. Like a bunch of people who just wanna be able to say they LIVE in Marlem. No connection to the roots or anything. I love the diversity and I’m all for it however the LOVE and essence is definitely different.
Give us the inspiring drive and mindset that informed the YBE EP.
I was fresh off coming out of a situation. Blessed to have worked and been mentored by a guy name iLLmind. I Was ready to do my own thing and boss up. Top of the year my brother Hunter Ferguson and I really focused up and dropped The Chris Ferg Project (EP). Did two dope events. All out of our own pockets going half on everything. So this summer we managed to get some more attention from the people closest to us. It was beyond refreshing to see them actually see the picture I was painting and believe in me. This gave me more fire. I’m already a workaholic but that moment just made me go overdrive. I got a chance to see the game different and who I wanted to become in the game. The message of perseverance and overcoming obstacles.
Tell us about Russel Westbrook fanaticism inspired “Westbrook” with that key “got ’em jumping like Westbrook” hook.
Russ is in beyond beast mode. That nigga in a SUPER SAYAN zone right now. lol. I connect with the tenacity of which he attacks the game. His MVP season made me respect him soooo much more because I know after the KD move he made it his business to make EVERYONE have to respect his shit. That’s how I approach my craft.
Your thoughts on Westbrook’s current OKC season and what you feel he needs to do to take the Thunder to the Playoffs & ultimately the finals of this season/post-season?
He got help now so it’s going to be interesting. Melo is a proven scorer and PG13 is a great 2way player. He may now have to slow it down and facilitate a bit more but on the real—he just needs to get the 2 new stars to get accustomed to the system.
What are you listening to a lot of right now?
Mann….it depends on my mood. I’m heavy J Cole, André 3stacks [André 3000], Drizzy, Jeezy, Hov on any day. Every now and then I’m Nirvana or Calvin Harris. When I wanna turn up might bump the homies Uzi, Carti, Pump, Migos. All based on my mood.
What shows, movies & books have really moved you of recent?
I did a binge watch of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. Random. But I was just interested in the plot and I like suspenseful shows. The book The Art of War was intense yet relatable on how I approach life. I like action, suspenseful movies so anything under that category got me.
Meditations for the new year?
Just to keep positive energy around me. Love better, make more money, take care of my family ya know.