The Life of Joseph W. McVey

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A veteran of 10 albums at the age of 26 and an acclaimed member of Houston's Screwed Up Click, Z-Ro is much more complex than his surface or the simple intro of THE LIFE OF JOSEPH W. MCVEY may imply. Prolific output isn't the only thing he has in common with hardcore legends such as Too Short and Rap-A-Lot icon Scarface; Z-Ro also cuts his hard-edged street delivery with a haunting, almost hypnotic, introspection.

As this album reveals, Z-Ro deeply feels every word he sings. With "I Hate U B***h," the song is not so much a misogynistic rant as the pained, primal gut-reaction of a devoted man who's been hurt by the object of his affection (the line after the title is "I never thought I would say [it]"). On the melodic "Why?," he ponders the insanity of the thug life, wishing he could be loving and simple, spiritual and comfortable, but uncertain of how to find his escape. THE LIFE OF JOSEPH MCVEY reveals a tortured soul who concurrently knows himself and doesn't understand a thing, making this an achingly honest record that deserves to break Z-Ro through to new audiences.

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