Music from Texas, like the state itself, has always expressed a bold identity, and rap & hip-hop from the Lone Star state has been no exception. As the rise of Southern Hip-Hop in the mid-2000’s opened up new doors, there were suddenly more creative possibilities for artists from the region. Zeles is an artist at the forefront of this hungry, new talent.
Born and raised in the Countdown City a.k.a. San Antonio, Texas, Zeles felt the music in his bones from a very young age. A student of the game from the age of six, Zeles’ steady diet of rap and hip-hop cassettes developed him into the force he is today. While he had regularly rocked freestyle ciphers at parties in high school, Zeles was introduced to the stage when he was invited from the audience to freestyle on stage at a major artist's college performance. Since moving the crowd that night, Zeles knew what he was destined to become. After graduating from The University of Texas, he started channeling his passion through the mic.
After months of teasing individual tracks online, Zeles released his debut mixtape, First Flight, the world’s first look at an artist who is here to stay. Listeners are awed by his declarations of swagger, but also relate to his raw, emotional truths. It is only the first glimpse of a story that mirrors all of our own. Over a handful of soulful beats, Zeles immerses the listener with his experiences of inner-conflict, grand ambitions, and personal relationships. Whether you love it or hate it, the music of Zeles will undoubtedly inspire strong feelings within every witness of his talent.
Today, Zeles' trajectory continues with his latest release, The Layover: Grounded: But, Still Lifted, which earned him 4 nominations including Lyricist of the Year, and Mixtape of the Year. In today's music landscape, listeners who have been seeking lyricism regard Zeles as "a breath of fresh air" (HotNewHipHop.com), and await his 2016 project, PPMP.
Photo: Zeles with 'Zeles' graffiti art created by a new fan during a live performance in Venice Beach, CA. credit: Andrew Ramirez