Joseph Wayne McVey (born January 19, 1977), better known by his stage name Z-Ro, is an American rapper, singer and producer from Houston, Texas.
He was named one of America's most underrated rappers by the New York Times.[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, Texas.
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.
In 1998, Z-Ro released his debut album, Look What You Did to Me. Z-Ro is also a member of the original Screwed Up Click, an assortment of rappers from Houston. All of these things helped to escalate Z-Ro’s popularity throughout the South and by 2002 his talent and hard work caught the attention of Rap-a-Lot’s founder and CEO James Prince, who offered him a deal.
In 2004, 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. In 2011 he announced a new album called Rother Vandross Sings The Blues, an all singing album, the lead single is "These Days".