The climate of the rap game seems to change every year. But if one thing has remained constant, it’s that in hip-hop, the underground has always respected an artist for their authenticity, originality, and creativity. Of course, nowadays, it seems as if having the most the clout determines who is hot or is trash in the rap game.
When 21 Savage broke onto the scene, we saw his image quickly duplicated by 22 Savage and more. We’ve seen the antics of 6ix9ine stirring up controversy to sell records. Lil Pump’s “F*ck J. Cole” movement even boosted his rap career to new heights.
For independent artists, nowadays it seems like the only to break onto the scene is to follow trends or have a gimmick to sell records. However, there are still emcees coming up who just want to be respected for their skillset. For Angelo Sirianni, who is better known as Zer0
Music has always run deep in Zer0’s veins. As an adolescent, you would find him buried deep in his notebook sharpening his pen game or freestyling with his fingers on black and white keys. In an interview with Kulture Hub he told me,
“I’ve always had an ear for music. I started with you know writing poetry and then I went from writing poetry to learning to play piano by ear and turning those into songs. Then I found out that garage band you can take Youtube beats and sing over them and then it just all kind of built up from there.”
Being born and raised in a small town in West Virginia, Zer0 was known throughout his tight-knit community for basketball. Nevertheless, school and work would never get in the way of his true passion. He said,
“I would get off work and use garage band in my car with a little blue snowball microphone and record at night.”
Realizing that his potential is limitless with the music, Zer0 decided to leave West Virginia State University where he was attending school and hooping, his family, and his friends. He was off to Orlando, Florida to turn his dream into reality.
“I wanted to use my other talents in life and I went with music. I wanted to get out at 21 and experience as much as I could at least. I knew the first step had to be expanding my location.”
June of 2017 marked a new beginning for Zer0. With a fresh plan and new scenery, Zer0 was off to a busy summer ready to set the music industry on fire.
Shortly after the move, he dropped his first project Day Zer0 and was finally able to flex his rapping abilities to the world. Unbeknownst to the emcee, his work caught the attention of King Los who would later jump on Zer0’s first single of 2018, “Rari.”
Even though his album was receiving a great reception from his audience, it was not sitting well with his girlfriend. Zer0 explained,
“My girlfriend… she loves music. She cares about it and she cares about me. She said to me one day, she sat me down and asked me ‘what are you really talking about? I love your voice. I love how talented you are. I love how you create it, but it’s hard for me to picture the person that I see everyday versus the person I hear everyday when you make this stuff.’”
Her words were a gut check for the young artist. He continued on telling me,
“It was a hard life lesson you know? A few tears were shed honestly, but they weren’t angry tears they were… it was just a reality honestly. It hit home and I appreciated it so much.”
Following the heart to heart with his queen, Angelo took some time to reflect on his music career thus far. Not even being in Florida for a year yet, he learned a valuable lesson. He said,
“I think I got a little carried away with the image and the industry and tried to you know to create that trap sound with also trying to match that image and with my lyrics and not really pay attention. It was a definite soul search.”
Now that Zer0 is making music aligned with what’s true to him and what he wants out of life. He feels very strongly about that.
“There’s a lot of negativity in the industry right now. There’s a lot of fame associated with negativity and crime and I’m not about any of that at all. I try to create positivity with my music and with who I am. That kind of goes back to reality check that I was given about.. you know like what are you really rapping about? I want the world to see who I really am.”
Recently, Zer0 dropped his newest single “New To This,” showing the world just how transparent his future projects will be going forward.
As an independent artist navigating his way through the industry, he’s quickly learned that patience is his best friend.
“Everything is not what it seems. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. If you have the option to go indie, it’s work but I think it’s a better route. You don’t have to deal with a bunch of sketchy and scammy situations. You never know when someone is doing a live music review or submissions send them to this email. You don’t know if they’re listening in the studio trying to bite your style. You don’t know anything.”
His newfound wisdom is continuing to set himself up for success. He by finished telling me,
“I know everybody wants a check. I know everybody wants that label to hear their music. I know everybody wants to do the next thing that is going to take them to the next level. But if you just learn and sit back, you’ll be fine.”
Music is the universal language we live by. For Zer0, it’s using his God-given abilities of rapping, producing and engineering to provide for his family.
Now that he has found his sound, look for Zer0 to really take off in the years to come.