It’s a snowy day in New York City and the Blame Ebro team is waiting to speak with 27-year-old rapper-turned-actor Choppa Zoe from West Palm Beach, Florida.
Choppa moved to NYC in 2007 to continue to pursue his rap career. Unexpectedly, the Southern artist with an ‘Empire State of Mind’ found a love for fitness and began living a healthy lifestyle when he moved. As he worked to improve his music and continued to train, he landed a role in the hit show “Money & Violence.”
The show became a hit on YouTube with over 26 million views. The success became so apparent, Jay Z’s streaming music service TIDAL picked up the second season of the show.
We spoke to Choppa about what fans can expect to see on “Money & Violence, his new music, living in the Bronx and more.
BlameEbro: The first episode of the second season aired on Tidal. How has fan reaction been?
Choppa Zoe: The response has been crazy, it’s been bananas. People have been reaching out telling me, “They hate me, they like me, I’m their favorite character…” All type of different responses.
BE: On the show, you are caught up in a love triangle that’s gotten you into some trouble. Has this type of situation ever happened to you in real life?
Choppa Zoe: No, I’ve never dated two friends. I’m not a dirt bag like that. Most of the stuff in the show that I’ve experienced in my real life is a lot of the street shit. But, I relate to my character in so many ways.
BE: Now that you are a new actor, do you have any specific feelings about the way black actors have been passed over in this years’ Oscar nominations?
Choppa Zoe: It’s sad, I feel like everything has its time. They’re only going to be able to not give us credit for so long. Everything is going to have its time where it’s going be in our favor. We stepped into so many different dynamics. We’re taking over hockey, tennis… Eventually our time will come. Do they like it? No, but it’s going to come.
You can’t deny the talent. You can’t deny how far the culture has come. It bothers me but I know at the same time, everything that happens in the dark will come to the light.
BE: Has any of your music been featured in the series?
Choppa Zoe: In episode three of last year. Most people know now because I’ve been getting a reaction out of it like, “Oh you spitting fire in episode three, that’s my shit.” So its help my music tremendously… It went from a couple thousand views on YouTube and then the video views went bananas after that. More people was exposed to the record, y’all can expected it this season as well.
BE: Speaking of new music, talk to me about your new music project, Zoe Of Zoes?
Choppa Zoe: Zoe of Zoes is a project I’ve been working on for a while now. I actually backed up Zoe of Zoes and put out other projects just in the mist because it’s like a baby to me. I want it to be a certain way, I want it to be right and I want it to be very musical.
It’s really an introduction to me to the world, to the industry, to the fans, to the people. I took my time with Zoe of Zoes you going to get the “Okay Okays,” the trap type records, and then you’re going to get some real shit. My story, where I came from, and why I’m here.
BE: Does being on set ever inspire, or help you with, your music?
Choppa Z: You know what, it’s Different. I was always a natural freestyler. With acting, you actually have to memorize your lines. It made me implement that in my music. I understand my own music more. Of course, I’ve always known my own sixteens and my own music but acting has made me understand it on a different level, it made me sharp.
BE: We first meet almost 2 years ago at The Source 360 in Brooklyn. How has your life change since then?
ChoppaZoe: In a year and a half, my life has changed so much. At that time industry people understood who I was because I worked with Wyclef and done so much in the industry already. Now people in the streets know. I can barely walk down a Harlem block without people stopping me and congratulating me on my work, the music or even my weight loss. They stop me and they are hype, so it’s a big difference… My brand is now in a whole different place. I could actually do a concert and pack that bitch out, I did SOBs and the response was crazy.
This year in a half as helped me grow as person it helped me grow in so many ways. I feel like I’m a better person, a better actor, a better artist. Time was definitely on my side with that one I’m blessed.
BE: Are you still living in the Bronx? How is that for you?
ChoppaZoe: It’s different I’m used to being around the Haitian culture and The Bronx is way more Hispanics. I’m used to being able to flip it and talk another language. It’s a good different. I learned more about the Hispanic culture. It’s so much to learn in the Bronx. The Bronx is one of those places where if you can’t survive here, where you going to go?
BE: Do you bring any of your Haitian roots to the Bronx? Is any of your family members live here?
ChoppaZoe: Hell Yeah of course I actually have a twin brother.
BE: Really Me Too! I have a twin sister.
Choppa Zoe: Really Shit. How far apart?
BE: We’re 24 minutes apart I’m the youngest. You?
Choppa Zoe: Wow 15 minutes. I thought I was the longest twins we know.
BE: I know you train people and you work out. Do people ever come up to you for help and to talk about your weight loss?
Choppa Zoe: I actually never was a personal trainer. I just did something that was bigger than myself. I use to want somebody to use as an example for me to do it. So, I always wanted to share the joy of fitness and help other people live a better lifestyle, too. So, that’s why you’ll see me promote my classes. Two summers ago I was doing classes literally 3-4 times a week and I had 15-20 people coming literally just to work out in the park in the Bronx. It got to a point where when I met Wyclef, I was running around with him for a good 6-8 months so I couldn’t keep up with training others.
BE: How much weight did you lose? How long did it take you?
Choppa Zoe: I lost a total of of 220 pound all naturally no gimmicks. I lost 150 lbs in 10 months. I changed the way I ate and the weight literally started falling off. Once I started working out that was the icing on the cake. God is good.
BE: Our boss, Ebro, was in the season finale of “Money & Violence.” What did you think of his acting? Should he come back to do another episode?
CZ: I fell like Ebro did a good job. We all know he’s not an actor but, he played the smart OG role pretty well. I think a cameo here and there will be do.