Exclusive: The onetime teen Rap star reveals why he felt compelled to respond to the Odd Future front-man’s mocking of him and why he’s taking similar slander from Game as friendly encouragement.
Unless your name is Lil Wayne, it’s a struggle to be “Lil” in Hip Hop once you’ve reached an age where you’re old enough to have literally fathered your own lil’ rapper. Regardless of how far you continue your career into adulthood, and how far you personally mature past the Lil’ prefix in your name, fans forever see you as the immature kid you entered the game as. And for one of Wayne’s “Hardball” collaborators, Zane Copeland, Jr., a/k/a Lil’ Zane, that struggle to be seen as a serious artist has now lasted a decade into his adulthood.
Although the now 29-year-old’s contemporary music is more representative of actual adult experiences than the then idealistic rhymes about making his “Money Stretch” that he spewed out on the two albums he recorded as a teenager, 2000’s Young World: The Future and 2003’s The Big Zane Theory, (and his delivery is sans the amateurish 2Pac-inspired flow that drew the ire of Hip Hop heads), Zane is viewed by many listeners and artist peers alike to still be a lil’ in over his head when it comes to rhyming.
Two of those self-appointed critics of Zane’s mic skills, Game and Tyler, The Creator, have recently taken it upon themselves to let the world know just how wack they think Lil’ Zane is. The “Martians vs. Goblins” collaborators were each captured on camera either slandering or mocking a man who they probably haven’t listened to in almost a decade, let alone any of his recent recordings , like Zane’s surprisingly solid The Missing Link mixtape (which was notably released the same week Game decided to throw his “friend” under a bus driven by DJ Vlad).
But while the Goblin has long taken to his Twitter account to make fun of the Lil’ rapper he strangely stalked online before Zane responded back to the Odd Future front-man he mistook as an overzealous fan, the Atlanta resident (who was ironically born in the same city in New York that Tyler’s breakthrough single was named after) is trying to take a stand for himself against his attackers without stirring the toxic mix of beef and tweets that has sadly already claimed lives.
On Wednesday (January 4th), Zane spoke to HipHopDX to explain his reasoning for responding to Tyler and Game via song and not in kind with his own series of stinging tweets or on-camera commentary. And a few weeks removed from the Valentine’s Day release of his newest mixtape, the rapper so many seem to love to hate explained why the obsession with Lil’ Zane is still going strong a dozen years after his debut.