Though the collective’s influence ranges far and wide, NOVAGANG’s Zee! has been a very prominent member among the group for a great deal of time now. With styles that range from contemporary pluggnb to tried and true hip-hop in its purest form, he has become a staple within this modern Internet-based scene with his incredibly impactful work thus far.
He has found ways to make his own defining mark on a landscape that has more than its fair share of talents, and especially within a collective that is essentially this modern era’s dream team. It is certainly easy to see why considering how fascinating of an artist and human being he is all the same.
You’re currently located in Dallas, Texas. Did you grow up there? What’s the music scene out there like?
I was born in Fort Worth and grew up all around the whole Dallas-Fort Worth area just off of bullshitting and having family scattered all over the place. I don't really know the current Dallas scene other than Tay-K wannabes and Diego Money wannabes, but it was and always has revolved around music people can dance to. A lot of gangsters around here used to pop lock with a glock in they hand and hit them folks.
Were you surrounded by music growing up?
Yeah, somewhat. My pops used to throw parties here and there when I was a baby and he'll be DJing a lot, and he ended up teaching me how to actually DJ when I was like 6.
How’d you find yourself in the scene you're surrounded by now? What kind of artists were you listening to when you first really got into SoundCloud?
Crunchy, man. Dalton, aka Crunchy, found me out of the blue in the middle of 2018 asking me if I'd want to join a collective stating I had hella potential. I said nah at the time because I was repping another collective called PackCrew... PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T GO LOOKING FOR MY MUSIC ON THERE. I ended up joining LOSERSCLUB within late 2018 anyways. And I was first into that whole late 2015 era of Soundcloud listening to a lot of Carti, Kane Grocerys, Marcy Mane, UnoTheActivist, Fauni, SGP and the BeatPluggz Collective as well.
You’re a member of the collective NOVAGANG, a group that’s already cemented their name in SoundCloud lore. How’d you find yourself joining?
Them folks were already family before NOVA was even a thing I'd say. Like, I've been knowing Ways, Angelus, Kasper, Elxnce, Midwxst, Stef, almost all of them before Nova. I ended up joining because I already considered the majority of those folks' families and I know they think of me the same way. Shoutout to them all and even the Ex-NOVA members.
You recently dropped “#USNOTTHEM” executively produced by Stef. How did that project come to intuition? What was the goal of the project? Were you looking to just have fun with an array of hard-hitting songs, or was there a statement behind it?
Stef was just sending a lot of beats and I was having fun recording on all of them. I don't even think Stef was expecting to do a full on EP until I sent back 5 tracks out the blue. We just have fun being us, and I think that's an underlying message within the whole EP.
Your song “HATE” has definitely become a meme, with one person in the replies calling it the “Karen Anthem." Do you just like occasionally just making meme-type songs, or is there more to it?
Man, I didn't even expected it to be like that. I just made and put out "HATE" that night cause I was mad at Roblox. I might keep on with those kind of songs if I end up having fun with it.
On your project “Fuck Ass EP” you definitely had your PluggnB influence on full-display, with Zootzie making an appearance on 2 tracks. How did you two find yourselves working together? And with a title like “fuck ass ep”, was this just a casual project?
I met Zootzie through Crunchy, man. He introduced us back when he found me and we kicked it off heavy bruh. He was cool then and cool now, just heavy mood swings from time to time. The EP was trying to kick off 2019 a little bit , with only making the EP in two days. I've been procrastinating to drop a second installment to "fuck ass ep," although, but now I'm heavily motivated to go on with this music shit so be on the lookout.
StoopidXool has produced a considerable portion of your discography. With your aforementioned love for the PluggnB sound, would you say his style of production has played a role in your career from a stylistic standpoint?
Damn, I haven't noticed that till you asked me this. But, hell yeah. The whole Pluggz collective has influenced me, both as a producer and a rapper, for a long time. I went from making Dro type beats and now I have a Dro placement, (along with) a Corey Lingo Placement.
You seem to have a love for Chief Keef, Lil Reese, and the rest of that era. Did they have a considerable impact on your music?
Watching that whole era come through and change music and how people view music was incredible. And the one thing I admire about Chief Keef is that he put all of his homies on. People from his hood got on just by being associated with him. Other sets got on, 600 and Frontstreet (Fredo Santana hood), just cause Sosa shouted them out heavy. Even his opposition got on due to beefing with him. That's what I'll do before my time is up within music.
How do you feel about the current climate of SoundCloud? With arguably the strongest scene we’ve seen since 2016-2017, do you feel positive about the scene?
If we're talking about overall SoundCloud, it's hard starting to take a turn, although I admire that they've seen the disadvantage and the discomfort from listeners and their trying to fix certain issues while trying their hardest to earn their coins. Like they're starting to try to bring SoundCloud listeners to new-upcoming artists that are doing their thing, but it's little fails and stuff, but I believe it'll be straightened out sooner or later.
In your eyes, who are the most underappreciated creatives in the scene?
Exodus1900 is one of the most unique people within the whole community. My top three songs from him up to now are Let Me In, Girl Scout, and Do You Know Me. I admire Funeral and his music heavily too. And Stef is going to get his shine soon.
Where do you see your career a few years from now?
Man, I hope I become the SoundCloud sosa, bro. Making 7-8 figures off of this shit and many more money avenues, help crunchy start up his label, and put all my homies on. And I'll end up venturing outside of rap and touch on other genres.
Can your audience expect another project this year, or will it be singles from here on out?
I'll start dropping more EPs once again because I'm still sitting on a good amount of songs from 2018 to now, and I'll start experimenting once again and dropping some little stuff out of the blue.
Anyone else you would like to shout-out?
Shout-out to my little brother (@sxxmmyy_) on Instagram. He is my literal blood little brother, same mom and dad. Please check out his beats and buy some and tell him I sent you. Shout-out to my big brother AcePaxxo - aka KingBeatz00 - cause without him, I would not be making music at all right now. Thank you to the whole plugg community for having my back for a long time as a producer. Thank you crunchy for showing interest in me, because if it wasn't for him, I'll never be on here. Shoutout to Quinn, Glaive, the whole NOVAGANG and everybody who's been showing love to me right now and has been doing that for a while. Thank you Sonuzi and Dani Kiyoko. I look at them folks as my uncles, for real. Can't forget the 00 family, KayIssues, IcedOutNami, and my brothers I've mentioned previously. Sean been pushing me to continue to rap since 2018. 0111 Mar has been pushing me for a while too. Shout-out to Bill for that Lyrical Lemonade article. And Shout-out to Bernard for giving me this interview and hopefully we can sit down and have another conversation soon, broski.
Stream Zee! here