Every now and then, something special comes along. Something as good as the rest, and some better. Something new and unique, young and fresh, authentic and passionate – something that really keeps it real. In the world of music, that something is the charismatic and cocky rapper, Z.A.Y. As an artist/producer/ CEO. , Z.A.Y. made his mark in the music industry in 2009 with his hit single titled “Bad Boyz,” which was first released on the Internet. This bangin’ jam represents Z.A.Y.’s inaugural collaborative effort with noted California producer, Aaddict, and it is available from this visionary artist through his own independent label, King of Club Records. Currently, Z.A.Y. is now establishing himself as a successful solo artist and is growing to become a popular critical favorite by many on the ‘Net. As an indication of his growing popularity, “Bad Boyz” has already received more than 50,000 plays on the Internet alone!
Born Larry I. Ford, Jr., in Merrillville, Indiana on June 4th, 1991, Z.A.Y. grew up in the fertile musical soil of the West Side neighborhood of Gary, Indiana. As the son of a mother who boasts a young Michael Jackson as her first paperboy growing up and a steelworker father whose name he bears, Z.A.Y. started rhyming at the tender age of five. He explains the beginnings of his musical career this way:
“I was so tired of listening to these local radio stations play the same thing over and over, so I thought to myself ‘why not make some songs that you can listen to instead?’ I would go online to find beats on the Internet and I’d explore the music of the talented rap artists and producers there. At first, they (the most talented producers/rappers) would ignore the messages I sent them on MySpace, but I wasn’t going to give up. I kept bothering Aaddict by sending him messages until one day he wrote me back, and that’s was when the rapper Z.A.Y. was born.”
Although his mother foresaw his musical career, it was not until his 17th birthday that Z.A.Y. would have the chance to express himself musically in public. At an early age, Z.A.Y. (short for Isaiah, his middle name) has learned that “keepin’ it real” comes at a price. He faced difficult challenges as a committed hip-hop and rap artist in the predominately white suburb of Munster, Indiana that he moved to along with his mother and stepfather when he was eleven. He was considered a poor student with a low G.P.A., and was suspended for much of his senior year because his “rap swag” was mistaken as “gang” by the school administration. Despite this, Z.A.Y. fought through his depression and went back to the studio to record “Faith,” a moving rap anthem of overcoming in the midst of racism and the abuse of power. Z.A.Y. cites one of his favorite authors, Napoleon Hill, who wrote that “when you reach a bottomless pit, your life will start to go up” as helping to move Z.A.Y. and his music forward.
After graduation, Z.A.Y. continued to inspire his family and others with the pursuit of his education, making his college honor society in the south suburbs of Chicago. While most of his talents are innate and ingrained in who he is, Z.A.Y. continues to fine tune his ever- growing musical skill set and develop his own sense of passion and purpose. If you love rap with a passion and passion with your rap, if you get addicted to the beat, keep your eyes, and your ears on the up-and-coming rap phenomenon, Z.A.Y.