With the Millennium Tour officially kicking off this week, I was highly motivated to reach out to one of the many artists that experienced massive success during that early 2000s era.
Like many of our favorite male artists from that time period, Lil Zane was also plastered all over every teenage girl’s walls with his latest spreads from popular magazines such as “Word Up” and “Black Beat.”
I was able to catch up with Zane to see what it was like working with R&B group 112 on some of his biggest hits. Whether or not he should have been included in the lineup for the Millennium Tour, fatherhood and much more.
Zane released his debut album “Young World: The Future,” back in 2000, and the leading single “Callin Me” featuring 112 became an instant hit reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart and No. 8 on the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart.
A year prior to the release of his single he was featured on 112’s song “Anywhere,” which also topped the charts.
Here is what he had to say about working with the group early on in his career, and much more:
1: Some of your biggest records featured 112. They were on your single “Callin Me” and you were featured on their record “Anywhere.” How was it working with them back then, and are you still in contact with any of the fellas?
Zane: “Working with 112 was a blessing! Those are my guys for life! At that time, they were the biggest singing group in the world, and they let a poor kid from East Atlanta jump on their biggest record! That changed my life forever!! I am forever appreciative for the opportunity they gave me. Till this day, I am still in contact and perform w/ 112 from time to time.”
2: Now I’m sure you are aware that the Millennium Tour is about to start. Do you feel like you should have been included in the lineup seeing as how you were at the height of your career during that early 2000s era?
Zane: “First of all, I want to say I’m happy for every artist on the tour. I personally think the tour was a great concept. I feel like the 2000s era has some of the best music. But, I definitely don’t think it makes sense not to have included me in the lineup. I mean, let’s be real, if we’re talking about the biggest “Millennium artists”, I feel like me, Bow, and Nelly started the whole phenomenon sh*t! We were on every teenage girl’s wall/locker across the world!!!! But…I guess “THEY” had their reasons for picking the artists they picked. Either way, it’s still all love.”
3: The music industry has definitely changed throughout the years. In terms of artistry, what do feel like today’s rappers are missing when it comes to their music? Or do you think anything is missing at all?
Zane: “In terms of artistry, I don’t think rappers today are missing anything. I just think that the times have changed. Just like my era came in the game and changed it from our point of view, that’s what I think these new artists are doing now. You just have to evolve with the times by keeping your ear to the street.”
4: We see that now you’re a father. Can you tell us how fatherhood has been for you?
Zane: “Being a father has changed my life and thought process completely! Now, I have other mouths to feed besides myself. I have to make decisions and think for my kids too now, not just myself. Overall, being a dad made me a better man and a better person. It made me boss up and be more responsible. I love my kids more than anything in this world!”
5: Aside from having your own hit records, you’ve written for other artists and even signed artists to your own label. What can our Roommates look forward to from you musically?
Zane: “I’m excited to announce that I will be releasing new music off of my new label, ‘Moolah Makin’ Muzik,’ this year, from myself and my artists. Just to test the waters, I dropped a surprise EP a few months ago titled, ‘Life I Live.’ It’s doing well and I’m getting a great response. I’m currently in the studio working on my new album, which I feel in my heart, will be my best work yet. I’m also involved in a lot of film and TV projects, on the acting side, as well as a writer, and an executive producer. Long story short, you will be seeing and hearing a lot from me this year! But you can keep up with me by following me @lilzanesworld.”
6: Whom are you looking forward to working with, that you haven’t worked with before?
Zane: “Man, there’s a lot of dope artists out there that I would love to work with so that’s hard question, lol, but if I had to name just a few off the top of my head, I would definitely say Ella Mai, SZA, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, Lil’ Baby, Drake, Future, Offset, Jacquees, Roddy Rich, and Blue face…just to name a few. But, I rock with a lot of the new artists that’s out right now.”