Z-Ro was born Joseph Wayne McVey in Houston’s notorious South Park neighborhood on January 19, 1977. At age six his mother died, and he was shuttled from household to household in search of stability, eventually settling in the Ridgemont area of Missouri City in Southwest Houston. When Z-Ro reached his late teens he was unemployed and resorted to drug dealing and hustling on the streets. 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. Z-Ro discovered his talent of freestyle rapping and after going through a couple of recording studios to make a demo, the CEO of a local label discovered and signed him
Z-Ro is a great rapper and he can do anything he put his mind to and rap it he a reaal gee and he can rap and rap that real Z-Ro released his critically acclaimed Rap-a-Lot debut titled The Life of Joseph W. McVey. The record was a huge success and helped expand Z-Ro’s fan base beyond the South. In 2005, Z-Ro released Let the Truth Be Told, which was well received. Z-Ro's 2006 album I'm Still Livin' was released while he was imprisoned for drug possession, to positive reviews. It was called "a great album... powerful" but "relentlessly bleak" by The Village Voice and "one of the best rap albums to come out of Houston" by the Houston Chronicle. In 2010 he released his next album titled Heroin, which was followed by another new album titled Meth in 2011 and then Angel Dust in 2012.
Z-Ro released his first EP under The Mo City Don titled Tripolar on August 25, 2013 via One Deep Ent. Z-Ro then followed up with The Crown in June 2014.