If you never made it then there is a good reason for it. Perhaps you're not as good as you think you are.
By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
By Craig Hlavaty
It's a breezy night in late April, and Houston MC Victor Gurrola Jr., known as V-Zilla the Monster, is showing that he's an embattled, tortured soul. He's giving the Houston Press an exclusive listen to his developing album, Interview With a Monster.
He does this in a drippy and dark basement that could be a backdrop for the next Saw installment. It's his studio and it happens to be buried underneath a downtown Houston nightclub he helps promote, where – like a cruel joke – modern day club rats trickle in and feed above him on music that he sometimes despises and that surely isn't his.
V-Zilla isn't talking. He's pouring out his heart for a straight hour without taking a breath or pausing. Sometimes he forgets he's being interviewed. His eyes drift upward to the sky and he literally begins pleading with the heavens. He's revealing his constant and never-ending battles with family, death, hip-hop, the past, the future, God and Houston.
The irony is any one of those things could be his savior from drowning and dying in an ocean of depression, desperation and regret, stemming from 20 years of decisions gone right, but mostly wrong, undiscovered potential and maybe being in the wrong city.
Zilla's weakness is that he can't operate unless his foundation is strong and he's in a happy home. His family could understand a little more and believe in his dream as he does.
Death, in the form of suicide – which he often raps about – could rid the psychological demons who celebrate his mental demise on the dance floor that is his soul.
Hip-hop could just cooperate and remember what it once was in 1992, make the boom-bap era important again, because that's what he's good at, and revitalize his calling.
If V-Zilla's past as a rising international underground sensation, who toured Europe and who The Source said was next to blow in its famous "Don't Mess With Texas" issue, transported itself to the future, that too could save Zilla. Or maybe the past could tweak itself and he never would have joined celebrated Houston rapper Rob G's S.W.A.T. crew, in an attempt to gain his city's admiration, which has eluded him for so long.
Only in doing that, he effectively sold himself out as an artist trying to align himself with more of a Southern flair, which is so not Zilla. The risk didn't pay off. He disappointed a base of national underground fans he got precisely because he didn't sound Houston, and as he puts it, set himself four years back as a "backup singer in a boy band."
God, to whom he sings for help on choruses and pokes in the chest with rapper punch lines all in the same track, could be more present along Zilla's recently unfulfilling journey. It's a journey where he's seen himself age in the mirror, and in that reflection, watched younger artists behind him – who don't hold a candle to Zilla lyrically or creatively, but are more sought after by the masses – be where he wants to be.
Then there's that fight he's picked with Houston, the city with whom he has a love-hate relationship. It's the father who never took notice and for whom Zilla was never good enough, but who he still loves deep inside. The one who prioritized Zilla's other hip-hop brothers, but didn't embrace him, because he didn't pop trunks or sip lean like family tradition mandates.
In "Dear Houston," a leaked track on his upcoming album, Zilla goes nose to nose with his hometown.
He raps: "You gave birth to that Southern love and bred legends/ But you never passed the game on to the next brethren/ Instead you gave us new niggas never actin' equal/ No collaboration/ Just a bunch of fucking egos."
"The H doesn't stand for Houston in my heart no more," Zilla admits. "It stands for 'Haters.'"
"I waited for the backlash," he said of the release of "Dear Houston." "I was hoping it was coming through so that way I could see who the chickenshit motherfuckers were and who the real niggas were. "
"The opposite happened," he continues. "Everybody started hitting me up: 'God damn, Zilla. You said everything niggas are afraid to say.' Sometimes you need a wake-up call."
Maybe it's not a wake-up call as much as it is the story and sentiment of hundreds of talented, aging MCs in big and small cities across America who didn't get chosen by the universe – no matter how hard their hustle – to contribute to this global phenomenon that is hip-hop on a highly visible level. It's the tale of those who were more talented, but got passed up by the less talented for possibly a long list of reasons, or just one.
So the story then transforms from reminiscing on what could have been to resenting what happened. Zilla's story feels like Jim Brown shaking his head at whiny, attention-seeking football millionaires who don't value his era's sacrifices; asking under his breath, "Why couldn't I have made millions of dollars, too?"
If you never made it then there is a good reason for it. Perhaps you're not as good as you think you are.
What the biz lord.. ya boy ZILLA in here... First & foremost I would like to extend my hand to Rolando Rodriguez for writing the article & all the supporters that slid thru to show love & respect. With that being said, I truly respect the comments of those who don't share the same sentiments... If you read between the lines of said story, you will see that I blame no one for my mishaps, in turn its the road to self discovery that has had me staring in the mirror & realizing that i'm solely responsible for my actions. Anyone & everyone that knows me personally, knows exactly what I contribute to Hip Hop.
Musick is not about the fame for me, its about the awareness that's brought to life over beats. I honestly feel "content" oriented music has taken a severe step back due to the fact that people and listeners have been misguided. A large percent of the artists rarely live the lifestyle they portray of Party & Bullshit... I've had demons in my life prevent me from moving forward because I never had the proper understanding of one's own self worth. I was busy trying to make everyone happy except myself, because that's the type of person I am, worrying about others & their view of me before my own well being.
Mistakes are meant to be made, none of us are nothing more than human. To clarify certain things as well, I was NEVER ashamed of what we contributed to music as far as S.W.A.T. product was concerned. We just couldn't co-exist among each other due creative, personal & artistic differences. Talented, yes, Perhaps in a perfect world, we could have bridged a severe gap in Houston Hip Hop Music, but the powers that be felt otherwise. For a period of 4 years, those were my brothers, my family, my crutch, yet and still it just wasn't meant to be for 6 artists who all had different outlooks & perception of what we should really be doing. The "Boy Band" reference which was taken more literal that should have been, was simply a metaphor, meaning that we spent more time hyping up a machine that wasn't well oiled enough to out run the hype, arguing over song selections or who was to be on stage at what time, or making sure we had our gear correct, whatever it may be. It took on more of a job than it should have.
The reflection was never meant to describe the music we created. That period taught me alot and i took its lessons and implemented them into my everyday hustle. I never sat back and counted the blessings, only spent time over analyzing the negative. That time is gone now. When my time in this game has run its course, I will have left behind a catalog of music that may not have made sense at the time, but that will definitely resonate in the years to follow. After all that i've endured, I've realized one important lesson from this whole process that is now the basis of my understanding - "God may not always be there when YOU need him to be, but he is ALWAYS on time"....
Much Respect! ZILLA
Zilla's been Dope since he first touched the Mic !!! Fuck the Haters and Do Your Damn Thing Homie, You Got This !!!
I feel him and sort of dig his music, but god damn, suck it up. Tons of people never make it and its a damn shame.
Dopest to due it. In a city where were known for Screw music & Syrup. V-Zilla represents the MC and the core & essence of Hip-Hop. His struggle to break in to the mainstream has only helped his music in my opinion being that he can rip threw a track sicker than a lot of "Rappers" & that's because they're rappers and not MC's like V.
Keep it up bro!
Show them boys that theirs a lot more to Houston than Swangs & Drank.We got real Hip-Hop down here!
"I might be the greatest that never made it."
Do you think not making it might be the fact that it sounds like you spend a lot of energy blaming other people for your problems?
Fuckin whiner. He has not made it because most people just don't feel his music. Don't blame Houston because you haven't made it. Come out with some good shit n see what happens. A "real nigga" like he says would of never made the dumb ass mistake of trying to go mainstream. Lame ass.
^^^ Whats lame is the fact that this dude "ROB" jumped on to simply emphasize the moral of the story! People don't feel his music? c'mon man, get off the gas, hahaha! Zilla if you happen to read this, you've toured the country, you've opened for legends in the game bro, crabs like this are the reason they never get out of the bucket!
Vic...I feel your pain homie....you know me...I know you...I know real artists, and you my friend are so much more than what I hear on the radio or MTV, BET or whatever is on. It only takes one person to open their eyes and give you that chance. if it was up to me I would make it happen for you bro! This article is a perfect pitch point for you, take this and shove in peoples faces! Zilla...no one can touch your lyrics...you know this..I know this, and jealous mofrappies who dont want to play you or give you a chance know this as well!!! Dont ever stop!
Corey Franks aka "The R&B Sensation" Haha
From W.I.S.D.O.M. in '99 to Lockdown Sessions in '04 - i thought VG was at his best. The mixtapes in between showed that time hadnt slowed him down, it just wound him up. When i heard "angels & demons mixtape, I could feel his pain, then when i heard The M.C. mixtape, i knew for sure he was back in his rightful zone. Sucks that it takes someone to carry the weight of those afraid to speak the truth about what goes on behind closed doors, this man deserves the golden goose, give respect where respect is due!! .. Cee Rockaguey!!
Zilla's music is one of the few coming out this city who talks about the real...not the fake trunk popping, sipping lean, and rims garbage...his lyrics tell the trials and tribulations of a man with a life story to cover a lifetime of albums. Houston needs to wise up and stop sleeping on their boy...
THATS SOME DEEP SHIT I COULD READ ON AND ON...I LUV TO SIT N CHAT WITH U ZILLA FOR ONE BECAUSE YOUR NOT SITTING HERE TALKING ABOUT YOUR THE NEXT ONE TO BLOW N BLAH BLAH BLAH....YOU KEEP SHIT REAL! AND LIKE IVE TOLD U BEFORE YOU DONT GET HALF THE CREDIT YOU DESERVE....IF SOME OF THESE SUPERSTARS WOULD TAKE THEIR EGOS DOWN JUST A NOTCH THEY COULD LEARN ALOT FROM U.STAY POSITIVE AND KEEP DOING YOU, LIKE YOUVE TOLD DEZ DONT CHANGE FOR NO ONE....FORGET THE HATERS THEY DONT ACCEPT WHAT THEY DONT UNDERSTAND.WITH ALL MY RESPECT -DEBBIE
One of the hardest working cats that I know and a mentor/teacher to many. A man truly in love with anddedicsted to his craft.
Gotta respect Zilla for not only tell his story in depth, but also for saying the things that most people are afraid to say - the truth.
Nothing but love 4 u my brotha ! u know im behind your back 100%
From your only SWEICAN brotha from anotha motha ..
My brother, a true veteran & always on top of his game! Since i've know VG, it's safe to say i've seen his moments of weakness, his breakdowns and him gone off the bottle to the point of passing out over his troubled soul, but you can NEVER and I mean NEVER question his heart, dedication or loyalty! Your time is here my G, take it and hold it for ransom! The game needs THE MONSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seen the growth and struggles of VG, and with every step he has always come back stronger. May this release showcase the beast on the Mic that is, The Monster.
I've been following zilla from Norway for years now. Houston better step up and recognize his tallent.
Zilla's one of the illest to ever grab a mic, hands down, sounds like this upcoming project will be the heat needed to regrasp the faithful and to be introduced to a whole new audience that are hungry for the boom bap.
look to the skies... tha' monster has returned... hand over the mic all wack mcs get burned by his nuclear mc fire!! keep doing tha' damn thang fam... you one of the greatest period!
"Only in doing that, he effectively sold himself out as an artist trying to align himself with more of a Southern flair, which is so not Zilla. The risk didn't pay off. He disappointed a base of national underground fans he got precisely because he didn't sound Houston, and as he puts it, set himself four years back as a "backup singer in a boy band.".....i remeber tellin ya...i wanna hear that VG SKILLS not that VZILLA SWAT......always been a fan with hard criticism.....
-BLCSTN,...on the check in the write up is real,!!!-bottom line is V-Zilla is my brother we cut from the same cloth,!!!-(make the real music,and the heads will find it),!!!-stay up i'm wit' u my brother,!!!-
V-Zilla my brotha, congrats on the album. Long nights in the basement, was there for a couple of them tracks. Release.... Lets rock some shows, just like we used too...
Props,DJ Comp 1
He sees himself as Southern but hates the fact that there's no support in my city?
Actually about half the people here are trying to separate themselves from anything and everything that is Southern.
Many feel that Houston is the gateway to the Southwest.
Before you brand yourself as Southern it might be best to check out the architecture and interior decorating magazines or web sites. We are Southwestern now!
Magnolia blooms smell like poverty, obesity and hopelessness.
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