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Background information
Birth name Joseph Wayne McVey
Also known as Rother Vandross, The Mo City Don[1]
Born (1977-01-19) January 19, 1977 (age 39)[2][3]
Houston , Texas, U.S.
Origin Missouri City, Texas, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1994–present
Labels Asylum, Rap-a-Lot, King of the Ghetto Entertainment, One Deep Entertainment
Associated acts
Website www.themocitydon.com

Joseph Wayne McVey (born January 19, 1977),[2][3] 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.[4]

Early Life and Career[edit]

Z-Ro was born Joseph Wayne McVey in Houston’s notorious South Park neighborhood on January 19, 1977.[5] 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.[5] When Z-Ro reached his late teens he was unemployed and resorted to drug dealing and hustling on the streets.[5] 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.[5] Z-Ro discovered his talent of freestyle rapping and after going through a couple of recording studios to make a demo,[5] the CEO of a local label discovered and signed him.

Z-Ro released his critically acclaimed Rap-a-Lot debut titled The Life of Joseph W. McVey.[5] The record was a huge success and helped expand Z-Ro’s fan base beyond the South.[5] In 2005, Z-Ro released Let the Truth Be Told, which was well received.[5] Z-Ro's 2006 album I'm Still Livin' was released while he was imprisoned for drug possession, to positive reviews.[6][7] It was called "a great album... powerful" but "relentlessly bleak" by The Village Voice[6] and "one of the best rap albums to come out of Houston" by the Houston Chronicle.[8] 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.[1] Z-Ro then followed up with The Crown in June 2014.[9] In February 2015, Z-Ro released his first proper studio album in three years, entitled Melting the Crown.


Main article: Z-Ro discography
Year Title Chart positions[10]
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


  1. ^ a b Rother Vandross, The Mo City Don - Tripolar. Amazon. Retrieved on 2013-12-28.
  2. ^ a b _month=0&11_day=0&4=&14=&SubmitSearch.x=45&SubmitSearch.y=16&SubmitSearch=Submit "Texas Births 1926–1995" Check |url= value (help). "Family Tree Legends". 
  3. ^ a b Z-Ro Biography. Rapartists.com (1977-01-19). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  4. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa. (2007-05-27) A Hip-Hop Hurricane and Other Phenomena – New York Times. Nytimes.com. Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Z-Ro Biography". Artist Direct. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (2007-05-27). "A Hip-Hop Hurricane and Other Phenomena". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  8. ^ Peralita, Eyder (2006-11-06). "Z-Ro breaks ground, visits the past on new CD". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  9. ^ Z-Ro - The Crown. Amazon. Retrieved on 2014-10-12.
  10. ^ allmusic ((( Z-Ro > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))