Z-Ro

I'm Still Livin' (Rap-A-Lot / Asylum)

Texas Platters

Z-Ro

I'm Still Livin (Rap-a-Lot/Asylum)

While the intent of most rap albums is to win mass popularity through flippant excursions into the most commercial aspects of African-American culture, a rare few reveal the true heart of men ruled by the injustices thrust upon them by modern society. The oft-incarcerated rapper Z-Ro never strays from the mission of providing keen insight into both his turbulent plight and subsequent bouts with depression, chemical dependency, and the basic lack of trust he reserves for those around him. Opening what he refers to as his 17th album since '98 with a sweeping indictment of "City Streets," the emotionally charged lyricist can't help but find tragedy in his day-to-day. "All I see is the struggle, my tears drown my vision." With producer Mike Dean laying down a sonic foundation that might as well classify I'm Still Livin as a blues album rather than a hip-hop project, Z-Ro overcomes a rushed, piecemeal presentation of his latest work with the most brutally honest treatment of self-reflection anywhere. "Realizing I'm going crazy, wait 'til they get a load of me, it's fuck everybody lately." While songs including "Keep On," "Still Livin'," and "Battlefield" might paint Z-Ro as little more than a thoughtful thug to some, the multitalented Houston rapper/singer/producer maintains his innocence. "Homicide detective trying to threaten me with time, the only thing I ever murdered was college-ruled lines."

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Grupo Fantasma
American Music Vol. VII (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, April 19, 2019

Texas Platters
T$O – Trill Shit Only
T$O – Trill Shit Only (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, April 12, 2019

More by Robert Gabriel
KJ Hines
KJ Hines
Prince of the City

April 27, 2007

Play the Role
Play the Role
Bavu Blakes is not afraid

April 27, 2007

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle