Young and restless, 17-year old microphone phenomenon Lil' Zane has got big plans. Having proven last year with R&B macks 112 that he can take you "Anywhere", the teen rap threat has resurfaced after an intense bidding war and has focused his sighs on Young World; The Future, his hotly anticipated debut album on World Wide Entertainment/Priority.
When people hear my album I want them to say that I basically took them on a ride," says Zane about his first LP. "I show people every aspect of life. I say some bad things that I've done and witnessed some good things that I've done. But the good outweigh the bad. I'm young and a lot of things I talk about on the album are things that older people may experience. But my mom once told me I got an old soul."
Born in a tough section of Yonkers, New York, but raised throughout Atlanta since the age of seven, Lil' Zane grew up on both soul rap. "The first song I ever learned was "Before I Let Go" by Frankie Beverly & Maze, " he recalls. "That was a song I used to dance to and just sing all day when I was younger."
It was about age 10 when Zane, inspired by the kiddie rap of Another Bad Creation (ABC) and Kris Kross, got more serious about his eventual career and started rehearsing with his cousin. A year later, the aspiring talent beat a case of stage fright and began entering local Atlanta talent shows. Kevin Wales, owner of World Wide Entertainment and the man who discovered the immensely successful artists Another Bad Creation, Monica, and 112, attended one such performance. He was immediately blown away by then literally little Zane.
To have so much stage presence and be so good at a young age is definitely what struck me about him, " explains Wales.
He was so impressed with Zane's maturity level. It was like a grown man trapped inside a kid's body, y'know?" laughs Wales. "I remember he was 11-years-old tellin' me he wanted to be a star. He wanted to be down with me because he was a big fan of ABC back then. And the crazy thing about it is that he told me that he read the credits on the back of the ABC album, at that age, saw my name and always wanted to meet me. And it so happened that at that talent show somebody told him that Kevin Wales was there and he took it upon himself to come and meet me. And from then, we just stayed together and the growing process began.
The years of hard work have finally paid off. Since Wales is responsible for 112's big break, it made sense that Lil' Zane would make his recording debut with the group on the popular love-a-thon "Anywhere." Zane has also honed his live skills by touring with 112 for six months.
Next up for Zane is the cheddar-clocking anthem, "Money Stretch", the lead-off single from the sure-to-be-a-blockbuster Next Friday Soundtrack. And, of course, there's the album, Young World; The Future, the title of which is inspired by Slick Rick's 1988 classic, "Hey Young World." Listeners can expect the " Ruler" , himself to make a cameo in "Young World's, "The Future", one of the LP's many choice cuts.
Production on Young World; The Future is provided by World Wide Entertainment's team of hit-making beatmakers who have laced tracks for artists such as the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., Total, Faith, New Edition, newcomers The Anngenetta Boys, Boss Howg, 112, Puff Daddy, and Slick Rick.
The album is just not for one particular crowd," states Zane. "But I'm targetin' towards young people that's who's buyin' the majority of the music lately. It's a mixture. I got songs for the girls, songs for the thugs, songs about the things that you go through with your family and songs that deal with what everyday people just go through in life. In life, there's highs and lows." "You Don't Want To Fuck Wit' Us" details the rise of Zane and his fan from the depths of poverty to the glamorous life. " The song is basically about my whole crew, " says Zane about one of his favorite cuts. "And even though we might be flossy and young