Joseph Wayne McVey (born January 19, 1977), better known by his stage name Z-RO, is a rapper, singer, and producer.
He has built a reputation as a southern rapper. Z-RO has sold about 1,000,000 albums in the U.S. Despite most of his popularity belonging to the south, he has been named as one of America’s most u
nderrated rappers by the New York Times. Common themes in Z-RO’s music are crime and poverty, often relating to his personal experience. For example, the music video for Hate You was recorded while he was incarcerated in Harris County jail. Though common, crime and poverty are not the only focuses of his music. Z-RO has been known to uplift crowds with his hope bringing songs such as “Lovely Day” and “T.H.U.G (True Hero Under God)”.
His 2006 album I’m Still Livin’ was released while Z-RO was imprisoned for drug possession, to positive reviews. It was called “a great album… powerful” but “relentlessly bleak” by The Village Voice and “one of the best rap albums to come out of Houston” by the Houston Chronicle.
Z-RO is a member of the original “Screwed Up Click”, a large group of rappers from the south side of Houston.
Paul Wall: I think Z-Ro. I think The New York Times put him on the Most Underrated Rappers list. I think maybe because he’s so non-commercial he doesn’t get as much exposure as a lot of other artists. That’s where a lot of underratedness comes from, when artists don’t get as much exposure. He has his own unique style. It’s incredible how he blends his melodies but also the way he spits his lyrics. His flow is incredible. He’s extremely gangsta and extremely Texas. I’d describe it as Texas gangsta music.