Z Money was born as Zernardo Tate, growing up in different part of Chicago's wet side, Z money represented the city’s West side at a time when the spotlight was mostly fixed on the South. And though he’d only started making music in 2012, he rapped with an effortless charm that quickly caught on; tracks like “Regular” and “Want My Money” were near-immediate local hits.
But after a probation violation sent him to prison for nearly all of 2014, He had to start from square one again. In a weird way, he admits, that prison sentence was when his new life began; he’d been mixed up in street stuff for his entire adult life, but seeing the volume of fan mail he was receiving daily, he realized it was time to put his all into this rap thing. He wrote with a consuming passion — over 300 songs, making beats by banging on his chest.
Z Money released two mixtapes, Heroin Musik and Rich B4 Rap in 2015, There’s almost 40 brand new songs between the two tapes. The sounds of each projects varies a bit but those two mixtapes help raised Z Money profile. Since that time Z Money has worked on nothing less than five projects including ZTM, Rich Before Rap 2, and Heroine Bag in 2017, Chiraq Mogul in 2018, Shawty Paid and Love Tape in 2019 etc alongside the release of many singles.
Like many contemporary rappers, his flow is a mumbled stream of syllables that demands multiple listens for those not rooted in regional dialect to decipher. He's less concerned with uplift or positivity or lyricism or the kinds of consciousness that make an artist an easy sell to the thoughtful classes. Instead, Z's appeal is all about swagger, a subtle brand of cocky humor, and a delicate musical touch. Which isn't to say that it's an empty exercise in style—although he has style in spades. There's an unusual quality at the heart of the Z Money project that's elusive to define, but could be called, simply, "art."