The 50th anniversary of the August 11, 1973, Back to School Jam has created a renewed appreciation for Hip Hop culture. Although Hip Hop evolved from centuries of Black American resistance and culture, this party in the Bronx is recognized as its starting point.
WHO IS LIL ZANE
Born Zane Copeland, Jr, Lil Zane was heavily influenced by hit child rappers Kris Kross and Another Bad Creation in the early 1990s. As a child in Atlanta, these artists sparked Zane’s entertainment aspirations.
At age 10 Lil Zane was signed to RCA Records with the group KRONIC, which included his younger brother and cousin. Although they did not release any projects, KRONIC competed in talent shows throughout Atlanta. The group disbanded a few years later and Lil Zane’s solo career began.
In 1999, Lil Zane scored a major hit with the RIAA certified double platinum song “Anywhere” with 112, later touring with the group. His debut album “Young World: The Future” was released the following year. But music was just the beginning.
From 2000-2003 Lil Zane began racking up his first film credits with Finding Forester (Sean Connery), Dr. Doolittle 2 (Eddie Murphy), and The Fighting Temptations (Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyonce). More recently, he played the recurring role of “Sockie” in the acclaimed Starz series “Black Mafia Family”, produced by 50 Cent.
LIL ZANE IN HIS OWN WORDS
In an interview with Upscale writer Adia “Dr. Dia” Winfrey, Lil Zane shares his thoughts about Hip Hop’s influence on his life and where he hopes the culture is shifting.
Dr. Dia: What role has Hip Hop culture played in shaping your life?
Lil Zane: “Hip Hop culture has played a big role in shaping my life because it has opened up so many opportunities for me. Being a successful Hip Hop artist has enabled me to go on major tours, have a successful acting career, ushered in the Unwine bottled water opportunity, and allowed me to partner with some major brands. Hip Hop has made it possible for me to support myself and my family.”
Dr. Dia: How has being a rap artist influenced your career as an actor?
Lil Zane: “Being a rap artist at a young age influenced my career as an actor because it required I have a good memory. When I was reading a script for a movie or tv show, I had no problem remembering all my character’s lines. Also, because I was a rapper and frequently in front of the camera, I was comfortable when I started acting. My introduction to acting was at age 14, when I had a role in a touring play called “Mad Hearts”.
Dr. Dia: What is your hope for Hip Hop culture moving forward?
Lil Zane: My hope for Hip Hop culture is that it continues to grow. I want to see it open up more doors for talented young artists, as well as past artists that have made major contributions to music and entertainment. Moving forward, I also hope Hip Hop will provide more opportunities for those currently incarcerated.
Dr. Dia: What artists and actors are on your collaboration wish list?
Lil Zane: “There are so many dope artists out there I would love to collab with. Off the top of my head, I would love to work with 50 Cent, Drake, The Weeknd, SZA, Queen Naija, Lil Baby, and Future. On the acting side, I would love to work with Will Smith, The Rock, Robert Dinero, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry and Viola Davis, just to name a few.”
UPSCALE’S #HIPHOP50 SALUTE
Entering the entertainment industry as a child, Lil Zane experienced major wins and faced challenging lessons head on. He has various music credits which include movie soundtracks, and placements in major box office films. Additionally, he has an impressive acting resume in television and film. With a career that has spanned four decades, Upscale Media Group proudly gives Lil Zane his flowers as we celebrate #HipHop50.
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