Z3US FERGUSON is the next New York rapper making waves in the industry.
The Harlem MC has a diverse sound, mixing trap and menacing beats with harmonious singing. One moment he’s rapping in his trademark gravely voice, the next he’s singing his own chorus.
Ferguson, who is cousins with A$AP Ferg, began by making beats and music was always a part of his life. But he didn’t start taking the music shit seriously until an achilles injury ended his college football career.
Z3us’ beginnings as a producer mean he has an exceptional ear for harmonies and sonic details.
Those details make Z3US FERGUSON a breath of fresh air in the current hip-hop landscape, he has a uniquely distinct sound in a field that can sound pretty redundant.
We spoke to Z3us about his inspirations, his sound, and what’s up next for the Harlem rapper.
How did you first get into music? Were you always musical or is it something you kind of grew into?
I actually started out as a producer. Making beats was my passion and production in general still is. I had an uncle who used to have a studio in the crib and every time I’d go to his crib me and my cousins would go through his crates of vinyl and try to scratch to old Mike Jackson records [laughs]. So I guess my natural ear came from that.
I was in college and tore my achilles which ended my football career, so it was natural that I got into music full-time. So after graduating and coming home I would send beats out to my friends who rapped at the time but I wasn’t getting back any tracks I fucked with or getting a response at all. So naturally sitting with the music I started writing. Got my pen game up. Then over time I found my voice.
How did your upbringing in Harlem influence your music?
I look at my music as my journal. From my experiences, to my family name, Harlem is essential to me being the man I am today.
You released The Chris Ferg Project back in April, what did you want to accomplish with that collection?
At the time I was going through a transition in my career and wanted to show the level up in sound. I also wanted to show people that you had to take me seriously. I wanted to touch the streets with that one.
You have a diverse selection of production and sometimes you sing-rap like on “They Love It.” How would you describe your own sound?
RANGE! [laughs] But seriously. I’ve been told and truly believe now, my range is one of my gifts. I continue to grow with my voice but any chance I get to show that I know how to harmonize… I take it. I take pride in making songs that are always sonically pleasing to the ear.
“Just Like That” is a fire duet with DopeByAccident with a clear R&B influence, do you consciously try to display a different array of sounds and songs?
That record was a vibe! DopeByAccident is a hell of a songwriter/singer who pulled up to the lab and we went through beats and naturally that one stuck. It came out to be a banger which I love. But once again this stuff just happens naturally. Those are the best songs.
Describe your songwriting process, does the melody come to you when you hear a beat?
Yeah. Usually when I hit the lab I’ll have my beats and shit lined up. I’ll go through it and whatever feels right I’ll fuck with. At that point I’ll try and get a hook idea and vibe first because writing my verse is the easy part. Once I got the melody and hook down I’ll lay it down then it’s time to get busy on the verses.
You have the 4th installment of your series YBE (Young Black Entrepreneurs) coming in the winter/fall. What does Young Black Entrepreneurship mean to you?
YBE shows the growth. I don’t sound the same on YBE as I did on TCFPJ. I’m always in the studio perfecting my craft. So much has happened this year. My brother Hunter and I bossed up to make certain strides and that’s the vibe on this EP. So I legit just wanted to show my supporters the growth.
Besides the next YBE what’s next for Z3US FERGUSON?
CONTENT. VIDEOS. MORE SHOWS. MORE MUSIC. MORE EXPERIENCES.