Slidin’ Thru: ZaeHD & CEO

July 3, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

There are many incredible rap groups to date, one being Migos as a rap trio. But on the duo side of things, ZaeHD and CEO are the new kids in town. Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, the 20 and 19-year-old respectively actually both don’t remember how they met each other. 100 interviews deep and still at a loss of words when asked the question, the two dancers turned artists vibe like yin and yang. Read more..
It was in 2015 when they met – and it’s been lit ever since. Aside from their turnt up energy 24/7, it’s their viral dance moves and natural bangers that keep the fans coming back for more. Most recently, ZaeHD & CEO unleashed their debut album, HighDefGang Vol. 1, which hails standout single “All In.”

For those who don’t know, who is ZaeHD & CEO?
Zae: I’m a good person and funny. 
CEO: I’m laid back. I like to have fun.

What’s the dynamic between you guys?
Zae: We bring the same thing, but both of us have different strengths. CEO can sing. I can sing a little bit but he can really sing that shit. I can scream. I can get real hype, he could do it too. We balanced out.
Ceo: Just the perfect duo. The best duo of all time. [laughs]

That might be Outkast.
CEO: I look up to Outkast. Can’t argue with that, they’re the greatest though. But we’re gonna strive to better than them.

How would you guys describe your sound?
CEO: High def.
Zae: We’ve got multiple sounds. We got crazy, we got laidback chillin’. If we had to say one sound, it’s our own sound. It’s a lot… it’s a sound that’s crazy.

Talk about being from Little Rock. How does that play into your life and career?
CEO: Little Rock is home sweet home, but it’s hard to make it out of Little Rock. Not many people make it out. When people do make it out, it’s a big thing. 
Zae: Being from Little Rock showed us how to get out, because it’s so many people that do the same thing. Everybody raps the same, does the same thing. They wanna play basketball, whoopity scoop. That showed us “alright since everybody’s doing the same thing and it’s not working, let’s go over here and be in our own lane.” See if this works. I guess it did.
CEO: It forces you to be different.

Where are you guys at now?
Zae: Still in Little Rock.

I thought you guys were in Atlanta.
Zae: [laughs] Everybody thinks we’re in Atlanta because we’re always out there. We out there once a month. I don’t know why everyone thinks we’re out there every day or something.
CEO: They think we live there.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist? 
Zae: Whew! We just found out it’s very important to be in LA today. You have to come to LA because the market, there’s more stuff to do here.
CEO: It’s more people to meet, better connects. If you come to LA, you’re bound to see somebody you need to see. You’re bound to connect with people you need to connect with. LA’s an important thing to do as a recording artist.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Zae: In October! We’re like “aww shit.” When we dropped our song “All In” and that bitch start going all the way nuts, we’re like “oh hold on now, hold on.” Shit going off for real. We’re like “alright bet. Since that’s going off, we’re gonna keep going.” We had songs before. They did a little something, but that one really went up.

CEO: When we dropped the second song “Robotics,” that’s when we knew. That put the icing on the cake.

Did dance or music come first?
CEO: Dancing. We’ve always been dancing. We were taking dancing seriously, but we felt like we had reached a peak of dancing. We couldn’t succeed anymore. We had viral videos, made people’s songs go viral, we did everything. We were told to start making music, so we just chose that route and started.

What was the best memory on tour with Future?
CEO: Probably Hawaii. I was 18, just turned 19. Being that young and being from Little Rock, I was in Hawaii for my birthday. I’m like “this lit!” First of all, I had a show on my birthday. We had off days in Hawaii, so I got to walk around. They bought me my first bottle of Ace of Spades for my birthday. We had a club that night, I was on the mic for my birthday. It was a whole bunch of shit, it was crazy. That was fire.

Are you even legal to drink?
CEO: I know. [laughs] The thing is they bought it, I held it, and literally the manager’s like “how old did you turn?” I’m like “19.” He’s like “oh no,“ and took that shit back.

What was the inspiration behind your names?
CEO: I’m definitely a boss. About 2 years ago, I had a little company in the city. I was doing my thing. I was getting money. Hustling, that’s a good word for it. I was hustling. I had people working for me. They were bringing me money I had back, so I chose the name CEO.

What about Zae?
Zae: Shit, that’s my nickname. When I was born, my cousin gave me the nickname ZaeZae. When I was 11, I took ZaeZae off because two Zae’s made me like a little ass kid. I took one Zae off, then one of my homeboy’s name was SeanHQ, like High Quality. I’m like “aww shit, fuck it then. Zae HD.”
High Definition?
Zae: Yup. It was Lil Zae, like Lil Bow Wow. I was Lil ZaeHD. At the time, I took the Lil off and shit. I’m big Zae now.

Did ya’ll think the “Shoot” video would blow up or go viral?
CEO: No.
Zae: Hell nah.
CEO: Matter of fact, we kind of did. Because after we did the video, we’re like “bruh.” We never snapped like that. We watched the video 20 times in the car, but not like that! That shit was crazy. It’s probably at 50 million views, wtf?

Can you give us a little preview of the “Shoot” dance?
CEO: I’m gonna rip my shit, I haven’t danced in so long. [laughs] Focused on the music.

Blocboy JB started the dance. What’s your relationship with him?
CEO: We had a show back in a city in our state. He had a show, we linked with him. He invited us backstage. We talked, kicked it with him, chilled with him. We were roasting each other, he’s a real cool dude.

Debut album, HighDefGang Vol. 1. How’s fan reception been?
Both: Really good.
Zae: We anticipated the fuck out of that shit. Like “fuck that, this shit finna go nuts.” But on a serious note, we knew it was gonna go crazy. Before we dropped “All In,” the way the fans were acting for that was the same way they were acting for this. With “All In,” they were in our DMs like “drop the song bitch!” 
Ceo: That’s the thing about our fans. When they want something, they’re really in our DMs like “drop it bitch.”
Zae: They want that shit. “Hurry up dumbass!”
Ceo: I be like “what the fuck?” It’s funny.

How would you describe your fanbase?
Ceo: They real funny. We got a funny ass fanbase, they’re real supportive.
Zae: We got a good fanbase now. I could say we got a small core. We know our fans will like this shit. If we don’t get no more fans, we know our fans gonna fuck with this shit.
CEO: We know this certain amount of fans right here will fuck with it.

How does your fanbase at home compare to elsewhere?
CEO: We Chris Brown and Lil Bow Wow at home. 
Zae: [laughs] Young Thug and Future.

You just released the “Smash” visual. Best memory from the shoot?
CEO: Shit, when we went to the rooftop. We shot that rooftop scene, that shit was fire.
Zae: Oh yeah, we were on top of this fat ass roof. That shit was high as fuck. 
CEO: You could see the whole Atlanta.
Zae: You could literally see the whole thing.

Talk about getting the co-sign from Drake.
Zae: That shit was crazy. N*ggas like “damn, wtf?” It was on Instagram. First, he had followed me. Shit one day, he had posted our song on his story: “Robotics.” We’re like “damn, this shit crazy.” We had the city going up.
How’d that convo go?
Zae: Just a regular old convo on DM.

What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
CEO: One of my main goals is to get a Grammy.
Zae: If I had to say a goal, it’d be to get more fans. Get more people to hear us. We can get a whole bunch of fans and still not get a goddamn Grammy. I just want people to hear us, fuck everything else.

How do y’all keep your energy up at all times?
CEO: I got ADHD. 
Zae: I think I got ADHD. I don’t know what I got. We were already like that before the rapping. Even the dancing, that shit’s tiring as fuck. You gotta have some energy with that shit. Dancing for 4 minutes straight, and then on tour? Boy, that’s dancing for 2 hours straight.

Are you guys going to go on your own tour?
CEO: Hell yeah.
Zae: Yup coming to a city near you. Be ready.

How important is social media for your career?
Zae: Very important. Without social media… what the fuck? 
CEO: Where would anybody be?
Zae: That’s a good question because hold on. I don’t even know what we’d be doing really.
CEO: I’d be in college, because I was in college.

What were you studying?
CEO: I was Business Marketing, but I was gonna change my major to Dentistry. I dropped out of that shit. [chuckles] I had to drop out. 
Zae: I went to school for a semester, then they called me to go on tour. Literally the day they called me, I never went back. I didn’t even go anywhere until a month later. I never went back to school. I’m like “I’m straight, I ain’t doing this shit anymore.”

What did your parents think?
Zae: My mom’s nonchalant, she don’t be caring about shit. I could be like “I made mil today!” She’ll be like “aight, are you gonna save it or what?”
CEO: “Did you take that trash out Isaiah?” [laughs] 
Zae: Yeah that’s all she’s gonna say. She doesn’t give a fuck about nothing. 
Ceo: My mom’s cool with it. She’s very proud of us, she tells us that every day.

Fav person to follow on IG?
CEO: Desi Banks. He’s a comedian, he’s hilarious. This other person named Mk.Slatt. They comedians. I like funny shit. I can watch funny shit all day. 
Zae: I don’t follow a whole lot of people. I don’t follow famous people because they don’t follow back. I only follow my friends. I follow Mk.Slatt. But I don’t be following nobody ‘cause they ain’t gonna follow me. Fuck ‘em.

3 things you need in the studio?
Both: A vibe, a mic, and a beat that’s all I need.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Zae: Gunna.
CEO: I be having phases. Mine, Travis Scott.
Drip or Drown 2 is my shit. What’s your favorite song?
Zae: “Baby Birkin.”

Dream collab?
CEO: Travis Scott and Young Thug. Hell yeah, those are my favorite artists.
Zae: Shit, I was gonna say Migos or something.

Ya’ll know the Migos? 
Zae: They were on tour with us: Future, Migos, Tory Lanez. I used to hoop with them before the shows, but I don’t like know them like “wassup bro?”

Are they good at hoops?
Zae: Hell yeah. I ain’t gonna lie, all of ‘em. It’s Quavo, their manager Rel Money, and then Offset could play a little bit. They got a team. If they wanna hoop, they’re gonna hoop.

Is there anything else you wanna let us know?
Zae: Be on the lookout new music dropping! Be ready because we’re finna blow up.
CEO: Yessir, it’s not gonna take long.

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