New York has always been at the forefront of hip-hop but in the past few years the South has been running things if we are being honest. Many people have claimed New York doesn’t have a sound any more or New York hip-hop is dead, but right now New York has numerous sounds and we are touching the underground and the mainstream. Sh*t, Tekashi 6ix9ine is arguably one of the hottest rappers in the game right now whether you like his music or not you can’t deny the impact he’s having, you even got seasoned rappers running to him for there next hit. Cardi B is still topping the charts and there is a slew of other rappers from New York all who are bringing a different sound and swag, there is Dave East, Maliibu Miitch, A Boogie With Da Hoodie, Casanova, Princess Nokia, Jay Critch, Flipp Dinero, Lou The Human, Sheck Wes, and Sha Hef just to name a few. You also have the vets like Nas, Jay-Z, Roc Marciano, Action Bronson and Ka keeping the vintage New York sound strong as well.
There is also a new wave of promising young rappers coming out of the New York. There’s Lil Tjay, Leeky Bands, Zillakami, SosMula, TJ Porter, and Young Zay you may not be familiar with there names yet but you will soon. Each of these emerging rappers has there own unique style, while some of them have more of melodic style Young Zay takes a more traditional approach when it comes to rapping.
The rising 19-year-old Bronx rapper JetGang Zay aka Young Zay is quickly making a name for himself in the tri-state area, but rapping is not always something he dreamed of doing. Like a lot of young black men growing up Zay wanted to be a basketball player, something that really didn’t work out for him.
” Nah. I’m not going to lie I wanted to be a basketball player, but I was short. I really started taking rap seriously Iast year, but I been really rapping for two years. When I first started I was 50 percent into it, but when stuff started really picking up, I said to myself this can really happen.”
Even though rapping wasn’t always on Zay’s mind it was something that he was born into and was part of his life at a very young age.
“My Uncle is T-Rex, so I was kind of always around it. I was around Ron Browz, Murda Mook, Remy Ma. He got songs with me on the song from when I was two years old.”
He is heavily inspired by Meek Mill, 50 Cent and Dave East, with Meek Mill being his all-time favorite rapper. Zay brings that high energy on tracks but he also gets introspective, making his music very relatable especially to those who maybe going through similar things as Zay.
“I feel like I got two sides to me. The first side is the pain, really expressing everything I went through, going through, I’m really giving you my life. Then you got the 2am Zay where that’s the turn up, we in the club, we got the jewels shining. That’s really two phases of my life I really went through so it all depends on the time period.”
Just last year Young Zay dropped his first project Who Am I, which was was his introduction to the rap game, he quickly followed the project up with The Takeoff EP which made people really start to take notice of the young rapper.
“I feel like with ‘The Takeoff’ it was kind of different sounds. ‘Who Am I’ was kind of like ok he’s rapping but ‘The Takeoff’ was like ok he’s really serious about it. ‘The Takeoff’ had more commercial songs, people can bop to, have fun to, but I also got beats that still give you that Who Am I feel.”
During my conversation with Zay he was adamant to tell me that none of this would be possible without his producer and good friend Dizzy Banko who produced a majority of his debut EP Who Am I and his latest effort Airplane Mode. Dizzy has been a positive force in Zay’s life since he first started rapping.
“He really developed me, he let me do me, but he also guided me to try different things. If I go to my email I got 100 beats from him that I didn’t even touch from him right now.
A few months ago Young Zay released his Airplane Mode EP which is his best project so far and most well rounded. The 7 track EP features Perri Jones, Dave East, DayDay Delks and features his buzzing single “Light Show.” One of the standout tracks is the Dave East assisted “City Of Love” which finds the two spitters going back and forth.
“Dave East and I recently linked up but we had met in the streets, it wasn’t really on no music tip. We were just chilling in the studio smoking and Dizzy Banko, was in there playing beats. He played that one beat and me and Dave looked at each other I did a little dance lol and he said “cuzzo let’s go back and forth on that.” It was kind of like I was taking what he was saying and incorporating it in the 4 or 8 bars I did after and he would do the same and it just came out dope.”
Being in the studio with East, Zay picked up a few things most notably, Dave East’s knack for not writing.
“He sits there smokes, mumbles, goes in the booth and has a whole 8 bars. Me, I sit there I write, think a little to make sure everything is fitting well and sounds perfect. Now that I saw him do that, I kind of picked it up to. Before I write I’ll go in the booth and do punch ins, line by line, or I’ll just go in and won’t say any words and catch a flow.”
Young Zay is just getting started but he is quickly making a name for himself and is someone who should definitely be on your radar. With each release, the young rapper improves musically and technically. If you’re not familar with any of his music check out his song “Patience” ft. Perri Jones for an more introspective side of Zay, but if your looking for something with little more bounce give “Religion” or “Light Show” a spin all which are off of his latest release Airplane Mode.
Even though Airplane Mode is only 4 months old Young Zay is not slowing down. Just this past Friday he tore down SOB’s alongside Leeky Bandz, 22G’z, Lil TJ and more. He has also released two new singles “Capricorn” and the heartfelt song “Bros For Life” which is dedicated to his best friend Ray “Tru” Cash who lost his life to gun violence. The loss that Zay is facing would deter most people from continuing. While in the past Zay may have retaliated he’s has taken his pain and anger and has turned it into hunger giving him a new found motivation.
Young Zay may not have wanted to be a rapper but it was something he was born to do. With his JetGang team behind him his new found energy, he’s ready to take the game by storm. Keep an eye out for the Bronx spitter becasue he’s sure to be shaking things up soon. Check out Airplane Mode below along with the video for his latest single “Light Show” and the recently released “Bros For Life.”