The past year I’ve been wanting to cover Harlem’s rising trap gem Z3US Ferguson. I came across Z3US when he was King Z3US and I saw him play a set in Brooklyn. His single, Pistol Whip — from his album VIII: The Testimony, with Executive Producer !llmind — exemplifies the hustle that crews from Harlem have perfected. Harlem brings:
The look of the grind…
Tunnel vision to the money every day…
Z3US is about to drop his third album, The Chris Ferg Project, in April. I did an in-studio listen to The Chris Ferg Project, and it’s his best work. It’s composed of stories reflective of his experiences, the path from childhood, his teenage years running the streets of Harlem, the trap life (including women), and now the boss up. The album showcases his versatility but carries the consistent message about the hustle. As a preview, Z3US has released a two-track mixtape No Season (stream below). The first track, Tempo, is melodic with Z3US’ characteristic ad libs. The second track, Currency, is a dark toned, raspy, turn-up track. Z3US has a strong voice, which he complements with heavy production.
I asked him about the cold tone in some of his music, including The Testimony (Spotify stream below). He replied:
“I’m a Leo – I’m ruthless when you cross me”
The thing about Z3US is, he stands out because of his raw energy and the connection to his songs. Each track takes him back to a place and time, an experience, a state of mind. He writes true to his feelings. His music is like a journal. The Testimony is the perfect example. Z3US created it when he left his job in education to pursue music full-time. He became homeless in the process, sleeping in the studio. Even with a trap beat, it’s [The Testimony] still dark. Life was serious. The closing piece, Palladium, is a powerful rise-up track.
“8 months of perseverance, challenge, titans, obstacles…
I left the job at the time when people would look at me strange…
My cousin [A$AP Ferg] all on that screen, I start feeling the pressure…
On the phone with my mama, shit breaking my heart…
I had to find my way home.” – Palladium
When Z3US was working on The Testimony, he crossed paths with a man singing on the subway. He recounts the message:
You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
Follow Z3US Ferguson and check back in April for Hip Hop Exn’s coverage of The Chris Ferg Project.
Stream No Season:
Stream his single Pistol Whip:
Stream his album VIII: The Testimony