V-Zilla is Houston's Hip-Hop Monster on the Mike


"The reason I want to be alone, is I'm tired of all the things that went wrong that would've went right if I had did 'em on my own." - Nas

That quote is perfect for this story because Victor Gurrola, Jr., aka V-Zilla, was once the best rapper the world had ever seen who wasn't known by his own city. Ironically, when his city finally knew him, the world took notice because he was spitting the worst rap of his career. He'll tell you himself the reason he wants to be alone is because what went wrong in his career would've gone right, if he did it on his own.

This is the story of a man, who represents his city, but musically, is so unlike his city, but don't confuse that with not liking his city, because he loves his city, though he's trying to redefine his city.

Man, hold up. Can we get a beat for that last line? We could hear that on a mixtape given the right melody.

What can we say? Talking to Houstonian V-Zilla is like talking to our boys Jason Llorenz and Charlie Ramos from Brooklyn and the Bronx, respectively. There's something about New Yorkers' way with words... a regular conversation sometimes sounds like a freestyle. V-Zilla's like that. He raps when he talks, and we think he rubbed off on us. We think his time in New York rubbed off on him. We also think the East Coast rap of the '80s had more of an influence on him than the emergence of Southern rap of the '90s. And that's very much OK in our book.

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Zilla wants us to downplay this fact because he doesn't want to make it seem like he doesn't respect UGK or DJ Screw, because, in fact, he does tremendously, but let's keep it real. This man's flow is as Statue of Liberty as it is Williams Tower.

What we learned from Preemo, what we learned from Coast, is that you don't have to sound stereotypically Houston to be Houston, but maybe being from Houston and not musically sounding like Houston gives us a new Houston. Damn, there we go again with the rapping while writing.

If you've read between the lines, V-Zilla is a proud product of the Bayou City but musicians not of our ZIP code live in the DNA of his lyrics and his style. So you're waiting for us to tell you how his career started in New York. You're 4,000 miles off - try Stockholm, Sweden.

Let us school you how musicians built a national - heck, in this case, a global following -before the MySpace era of fake friends who many artists claim as fans. It was dudes with a dedication to their craft like V-Zilla uploading music to Undergroundhiphop.com. It was constantly working the forums and going to the Web masses and not waiting for "friend requests." It was letting other true hip-hop heads judge for themselves if you were worth the microphone. And that's a hell of a lot more credible than a million MySpace page visits or a bunch of half-naked hoes "showing your page love."

"I got so much support from other cities, I wasn't concerned with my own city," admits V-Zilla.

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