Gorilla Zoe Band is an Atlanta, Georgia rapper in the mold of Young Jeezy, whom he replaced in the Bad Boy group Boyz n da Hood. Both Atlantans have raspy voices, slow flows, simple rhymes, and a shameless obsession with the illegal drug trade, in particular cocaine. Gorilla Zoe's first taste of commercial success came with "Coffee Shop," a 2007 hit by Bad Boy labelmate Yung Joc. His debut single as a solo artist, "Hood Nigga," followed shortly thereafter, along with the accompanying debut album Welcome to the Zoo. Gorilla Zoe's first album as Jeezy's replacement in Boyz n da Hood, Back Up n da Chevy, was released next, also in 2007. The album spawned a series of singles, including "Everybody Know Me" and "We Ready." A collaborative single with Lil Wayne called "Lost" landed in late 2008, while the full-length Don't Feed da Animals followed in March 2009, debuting atop the rap charts and cracking the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. In 2010, he released 28 different mixtapes, one per day for all of February, along with the single "Just Like My Chevy." His club-oriented effort King Kong would follow in 2011. This Atlanta, Ga rap artist is popular at fraternity parties at campuses all over the United States. For Gorilla Zoe booking, call or email Music Garden today.
Alonzo Mathis (born November 28, 1980 in Atlanta, Georgia), better known by his stage name Gorilla Zoe, is an American rapper and a member of the Southern rap group Boyz N da Hood. Signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment, his debut solo album, Welcome to the Zoo was released in 2007, and his second album Don’t Feed Da Animals was released in March of 2009. Gorilla Zoe appears to have a feud with rapper The Game, dissing him on the track “1 Sluggg”.
He claims that he made the track because he felt offended by comments that The Game had made on his single “One Blood” about Atlanta’s hip-hop scene. Game has never responded to Gorilla Zoe or said his name, but has addressed his reasons for the comment, stating that it was not a diss to Atlanta or the South.
“King Kong ain’t got nothing on me!”—Denzel Washington as Alonzo in 2001’s Training Day
In Hollywood, playing Alonzo earned Denzel Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor. But in East Point, Georgia, being Alonzo Mathis didn’t earn Block Entertainment recording artist Gorilla Zoe any accolades, only obstacles.
Born and bred in Southwest Atlanta, Zoe came up like most adolescents in his neighborhood. Skating rinks, swimming pools and rap music were the gist of his existence while Bass music and popular West Coast Hip Hop acts like DJ Quik, NWA and Snoop Doggy Dogg supplied the soundtrack to his life.
“I was 10 or 11 around that time,” reflects Zoe, who to this day remembers his first attempt at rapping himself. “I hit record on the tape deck, plugged the mic into the stereo and tried to rap over a Too $hort instrumental.”
Now 25, Zoe is spitting over beats from Jazze Pha, Sha Money XL, Drumma Boy, Dee Jay Dana and Chris Flame for his solo debut Welcome To the Zoo.
In many ways, looking on Zoe’s life is akin to watching a film like Training Day or seeing an animal grow. Distracted by his surroundings, Zoe was kicked out of school before entering 10th grade and left home soon after. At 16, he enlisted in Job Corps and spent a year in Kentucky, picking up a culinary trade and hustling everything from cigarettes to Ramen noodles to keep some change in his pocket. Dissatisfied by the odd jobs and trouble life was offering him when he returned to Atlanta, Zoe decided to act on one of his first instincts, rapping. Welcome to the Zoo chronicles his life experiences from that point on, and shed lights on the lives of others like his.
“Back in the day, they called the city the concrete jungle because you can get ate up out there, but its more restricted now,” explains Zoe about the album’s title. “The whole world is watching. Its like people are amused by the ‘hood now, everybody knows about it now. All eyes are on our living situations. We’re living like we’re the damn zoo and we’re the animals being watched.”
Inspired by the reality-based music of The Dayton Family, South Circle, 8Ball & MJG, UGK and Outkast, Zoe began recording music professionally at age 18. Even though he sold all 5,000 copies of the CD he financed and pressed up himself, he was unimpressed with his own material and chose to act on his other instinct, hustling.
Zoe landed a job at Atlanta record store The Funk Shop and in two years he was overseeing its daily operations. In the process he saved enough money to build a recording studio in downtown Atlanta, next door to T.I.’s Grand Hustle and DJ Drama’s Apphilliates offices. Through the studio, he became acquainted local producer Chris Flame who gave Zoe beats to rap over. Flame passed some of their music to Block Entertainment founder Russell “Block” Spencer who sought him out immediately and signed him in March 2007.
Zoe, who is originally signed as a solo artist, made his national debut as the newest member of fearsome foursome Boyz N Da Hood on numerous mixtapes in 2007. Now, with the audience’s appetites whetted for Welcome To the Zoo, Zoe is poised to show the world that King Kong has nothing on him either.
Zoe spits truth serum on songs like the Sha Money XL-produced “Last Time I Checked” where he informs listeners that most of their favorite rappers live in Hollywood—because they’re actors. He also offers up advice on the Jazze Pha-laced “Locked Up Or Dead,” talking about the times he was supposed to end up the way the song title suggests.
With songs like the already certified banger “Hood Nigga” and features from the likes of Akon and Bobby Brown, Welcome to The Zoo will serve as a proper introduction to one of the most unique voices rap has ever heard.
“One of my favorite albums is Dr. Dre’s The Chronic,” admits Zoe. “That’s the kind of album I wanted to create. Something that can stand the test of time.”
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