Released on August 22, 2000, Young World: The Future was Zane's debut and was set to soar him to new heights. That is, until you open the project and break it down.
The intro begins with a fake Ruff Ryders-meets-Dipset production called "Top Down." From this, I'm already regretting my decision. For starters, every other word in the intro seems to be some variation "nigga," "motherfucker," and "fucking." You shouldn't be a legit "lyricist" if you can't go a bar without cursing. That's elitist of me, but fuck it. If you can't think of a way to get your point across in one bar, without cursing, hang up the mic.
Additionally, Cam'ron should've sued for gimmick infringement because his flow is straight Cam'ron, even down to rhyming the same words five times in a row mixed with Pac mannerisms out the ass. Oh, Drag-On should get a couple bucks, too because of the straight jacked flow from him at the end of the track. I'm in tears over this chorus though.
"Let's get this cash, niggas/shake that ass, ho/And where my thug niggas at? There they go, there they go."
Profound-ass lyrics from one of the greats in the game. Man, the fuck was I doing with my rap career? Instead of using K.R.I.T. and Cole and 'em as influences, I should've went to the GAWD MC Lil' Zane. I would've gone platinum using his methods of rhyming "niggas" with "niggas" and "ho" with "go." I would've been working with 112, too, if I ripped my flow from Cam'ron and Tupac. Damn, I played the game all wrong.
Ah well. Let's continue.
"M.O.N.E.Y." sounds like something Pac would've made as a joke song that still went ahead and did numbers. But, Zane is serious. This asshole is serious. Down to the sing-song chorus ("I don't care how hard they try/get my M.O.N.E.Y.") and his ripped Pac flow, this asshole got in the booth and thought this was a good idea. Now, again, I'm sure Zane Copeland is an okay person. I don't have beef with him as a person. But, as an artist? Ugh. If I had a quarter for every eye roll I've done so far, I'd have enough to treat myself to some Olive Garden.
And, yes, I'm aware of the fact that it's not "real" Italian. Fuck you, it's tasty.
"Callin' Me" keeps the fake Pac flow going, down to the intro of the song. I guess he was supposed to be the next Pac in someone's eyes. The 112 chorus is, somehow, also comedy. I think it's because of the salsa-esque hip-hop instrumental. Well, that and the fact Slim and Q keep ad libbing throughout the song. They damn near take the song away from Zane. On your debut album, you get bodied by some singing niggas. That's a problem, Mr. Copeland.
On top of that, the video is a walking, talking cliche. Beach scenes, yachts, blowing money fast, niggas in planes smoking (what?), slow-mo, sexy women awkwardly dancing and poor attempts at comedy. It's all here. If you wanted a video that encapsulated late 90s/early 2000s videos, you need not look any further than this pile.
"What Must I Do" features Akon. And again, Akon's chorus is great (and not Auto-Tuned), but Zane's verses leave a lot to be desired. It's like he walked in the studio, said "let's make a song about 'The One,'" and just left the idea there. The Akon production on this was pretty solid, though. It almost makes me forgive Zane for this track. Almost. The whisper verse on this is hilarious. "That's why she came to Z, 'cause I treat her like a lady" my ass. You just said in the second verse that you're about to just fuck the shit out of her in the back of a car and "put [her] lights out" on the chorus. "I got platinum and I ain't even gold yet," was a chuckle-worthy punchline, especially considering the album's sales.
"What must I do, baby, to grab you" kind of worries me a bit. If you're treating her like a lady, do you need to fuck her like a savage random and grab her? I don't think so, but hey...I'm not Lil' Zane.
"Die Famous" is Zane trying to be conscious, but then he creeps in his "thug" persona. One minute, he's talking about racism in the workplace. The next, he's talking about "cutthroat niggas that'll cut yo' niggas." Make up your mind!
That's my main gripe with this album. I don't even know if I really need to continue. My brain can only take so much fake Pac bullshit. It doesn't know what it wants to be. Does it want to be bubblegum pop rap that'll get Zane in Dr. Dolittle 2 or does it want to be fake Pac bars for "the real niggas" who probably still wouldn't recognize this as real. Add that in with beats that sound like something I would've produced in the early 2000s on proto-Fruity Loops or something and Zane's fake Pac-meets-Cam'ron flow and you've got a stinker.
I'm being nice...the fuck is this?
This album must be what the United States used to torture terrorists. If I had to choose between this and participating in the Pain Olympics (remember that?), I think I'd drive a nail through my dick head. I'd rather watch College Road Trip on a loop than listen to this album again. I'd rather shoot myself in the left nut with a shotgun than say "hey, this album is great." I'd rather meet Raven-Symone after going in on her and have her try to Chick Kick me. I'd rather clean up the bear shit from Dr. Dolittle 2 than listen to this again.
Again, I'm sure that Zane is an okay person, but he should've never touched a mic. With lines like "and it don't stop with the freaky hoes/I wanna see you in the club walking up to me with no clothes" in "Partners Come Along Too," "run up in your spot like Columbine" in "Too Hot to Stop," or "Niggas gonna bleed tonight...plus I'm high on weed tonight" from "Ride On Em," you can see that Zane was destined to be a garbage bin artist. There's no substance, no feeling, no "reality" to his lyrics. It's just him doing bling bling rap mixed with a plethora of fake Pac bullshit.
Pac should sue your ass. From beyond the grave.
They say that Ja Rule wanted to be Pac 2.0. But people forget Zane did the same thing, but infinitely worse. Down to his beats, this assclown was a Pac clone. But, at least Ja had memorable moments.
I think that's why people usually use Lil' Zane as Rap Jeopardy answers versus ever considering him a legit artist these days. He was forgettable. That's worse than just being bad at what you do. Seriously. We remember William Hung and his "She Bangs" bullshit off American Idol, but who remembers Taylor Hicks? Lil' Zane is the rap game's Taylor Hicks. He had a couple hits (for whatever reason), some folks liked his look, but he was ultimately a forgettable artist that many wouldn't remember aside from his appearance on Atlanta and maybe "Callin Me" or his verse on 112's "Anywhere." His verse on "Anything" was the pinnacle of his career. That's sad.