By Jack Barnes
Couching a caustic wit and a lyrical honesty within his slurring, laid-back flow, Chicago’s Z Money is one of his city’s most respected emcees. Expertly slithering around nightmarish synths and bouncing 808s, Z Money flaunts his wealth in “80 Bands,” his latest single. Produced by Lil Mexico Beats, “80 Bands” is a bass-heavy headphone symphony, with Z Money showing off some his his best wordplay amidst whirring and gurgling vocal samples: “Damn, they tryin fuck up my plan/I got like 80 thousand on me, like 80 bands/I got 80 thousand on me I can’t shake no hands.” “80 Bands is the lead single from Chiraq Mogul, Z Money’s upcoming album, releasing on August 17th via 1017 Eskimo/Alamo.
First coming to attention during the Chicago rap boom of 2012, Z Money stood out from the pack for his creative cadences, his malleable, high-pitched flow, which drew comparisons to Z Money’s idol Gucci Mane, and his rejection of the conventions of the drill music that dominated the city in that era. Releasing a series of popular mixtapes packed with street witticisms and raw honesty, Z Money gained cult hero status in Chicago for songs like “Regular” and “Want My Money,” which Chance The Rapper used in his original trailer for his 2013 breakout mixtape Acid Rap. In 2014, Z Money’s meteoric rise came to an abrupt halt when he was forced to spend nearly the whole year in prison for a probation violation. After his release, Z Money rededicated himself to his craft, moving away from his Chicago-based problems and temptations to the rap mecca of Atlanta. In ATL, Z Money caught the ear of a recently free Gucci Mane, who signed him to his fledgling 1017 Eskimo label.
In late 2017, Z Money started to rebuild the momentum he lost with his prison sentence, teaming up with producer ChaseTheMoney for the intense and lyrical ZTM, which earned critical acclaim and boasted the underground hit “Two 16’s,” which featured Z Money disciple/G.O.O.D. Music signee Valee. The follow-up to ZTM, Chiraq Mogul will continue Z Money’s rise from the ashes as he follows his mentor Gucci on the path from underground success to mainstream figure.
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Previously: Z Money – Dope Boy Sh*t [Official Video]