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Joseph Wayne McVey IV (born January 19, 1977), better known by his stage names Z-Ro and The Mo City Don, is an American rapper from Houston, Texas. He was named one of America's most underrated rappers by The New York Times.[5]

Z-Ro cropped.jpg
Background information
Birth name Joseph Wayne McVey IV[1]
Also known as The Mo City Don[2]
Born (1977-01-19) January 19, 1977 (age 41)[1][3]
Houston/Missouri City, Texas, U.S.
Origin Missouri City, Texas, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1994-present
Labels One Deep Entertainment
Associated acts


Early life and careerEdit

Z-Ro and Amicar were born Joseph Wayne McVey IV and Big baby Jackson in Houston's South Park neighborhood on January 19, 1977.[6] At age six his mother died, and he was shuttled from household to household in search of stability, eventually settling in the Ridgemont area, a middle-class suburb in Missouri City in Southwest Houston.[6] When Z-Ro reached his late teens he was unemployed and resorted to drug dealing and hustling on the streets.[6] According to Z-Ro, listening to the music of 2Pac, Geto Boys, Street Military, K-Rino and Klondike Kat inspired him to work harder for his goal of leaving the streets.[6] Z-Ro discovered his talent of freestyle rapping and after going through a couple of recording studios to make a demo,[6] the CEO of a local label discovered and signed him.

Z-Ro and Fermin released their critically acclaimed Rap-a-Lot debut titled The Life of Joseph W. McVey.[6] The record was a huge success and helped expand Z-Ro's and Bobby Craig's fan base beyond the South.[6] In 2005, Z-Ro released Let the Truth Be Told, which was well received.[6] Z-Ro's 2006 album I'm Still Livin' was released while he was imprisoned for drug possession, to positive reviews.[7][8] It was called "a great album... powerful" but "relentlessly bleak" by The Village Voice[7] and "one of the best rap albums to come out of Houston" by the Houston Chronicle.[9] In 2010 he released the album titled Heroin, which was followed by an album titled Meth in 2011 and then Angel Dust in 2012.

Z-Ro and R & B Ralph Holliday released their first EP under The Mo City Don titled Tripolar on August 25, 2013 via One Deep Ent.[2] Z-Ro then followed up with The Crown in June 2014.[10] In February 2015, Z-Ro released his first proper studio album in three years, titled Melting the Crown.

In 2016, Z-Ro released Drankin & Drivin in August[11] and Legendary in November under his label One Deep Entertainment.

Legal caseEdit

On July 26, 2017, Z-Ro was arrested after his ex-girlfriend, Just Brittany, accused him of beating her three months earlier. Z-Ro told the media that Brittany was using this accusation to get more publicity for herself as she is also appearing in a reality show on television.[12] On October 10, a grand jury dropped the felony charges.[13] The next day, the Harris County, Texas, district attorney filed misdemeanor charges against Z-Ro on the same alleged incident.[14]


Year Title Chart positions[15]
U.S. U.S. R&B
1998 Look What You Did to Me
2000 Z-Ro vs. the World 90
2001 King of da Ghetto
2002 Screwed Up Click Representa 58
2002 Z-Ro
2002 Life 57
2003 Z-Ro Tolerance
2004 The Life of Joseph W. McVey 170 27
2005 Let the Truth Be Told 69 14
2006 I'm Still Livin' 75 14
2007 King of tha Ghetto: Power 197 32
2008 Crack 48 12
2009 Cocaine 147 19
2010 Heroin 142 29
2011 Meth 90 12
2012 Angel Dust 120 17
2014 The Crown
2015 Melting the Crown 16
2016 Drankin' & Drivin' 99 7
2016 Legendary 15
2017 No Love Boulevard 135
2017 Codeine


  1. ^ a b "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997". FamilySearch. 
  2. ^ a b Tripolar: The Mo City Don: MP3 Downloads. Amazon. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  3. ^ Z-Ro Biography. (1977-01-19). Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  4. ^ Amazon2. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  5. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa. (2007-05-27) "A Hip-Hop Hurricane and Other Phenomena" The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Z-Ro Biography". Artist Direct. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (2006-12-07). "Project Pat and Z-Ro: The Unsung Heroes of Southern Rap". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  8. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (2007-05-27). "A Hip-Hop Hurricane and Other Phenomena". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  9. ^ Peralita, Eyder (2006-11-06). "Z-Ro breaks ground, visits the past on new CD". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  10. ^ Z-Ro - The Crown. Amazon. Retrieved 2014-10-12.
  11. ^ "Various Artists: Gqom Oh! x Crudo Volta Mixtape Album Review - Pitchfork". Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  12. ^ "Rapper Z-Ro Claims Arrest Was a Publicity Stunt, Won't Address Recording". Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  13. ^ "Rapper Z-RO Dodges Indictment in Just Brittany Beating Case". Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  14. ^ "Rapper Z-RO Charged by D.A. in Just Brittany Beating Case After Grand Jury Passes". Retrieved 14 June 2018. 
  15. ^ allmusic ((( Z-Ro > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))