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Meaning of ‘ZEZE’ by ‘Kodak Black’ feat. Offset, Travis Scott

Released: 2018

Features: Offset, Travis Scott

“ZEZE” is one of those hip-hop anthems that capture the paradoxes, aspirations, and contradictions of the “street life” experience — it’s a showy tune filled with bragging about luxury, wealth, and the risks of illegal hustle, yet at the same time, it hints at the deeply entrenched issues these rappers have faced, or are still battling in their own lives. The title of the song, “ZEZE”, is significant as it references the viral video snippet, often associated with fun and happy moments. Kodak Black, alongside Travis Scott and Offset, use this track as an opportunity to flex wealth and success, while also acknowledging their tumultuous pasts.

The song starts with Kodak Black turning “Ice water” into the Atlantic, a nod to his transformation from the “cold” realities of his past into the vast “ocean” of his present success. The lines “Nightcrawling in the Phantom” and “Took an island, flood the mansion” further emphasize his elevated lifestyle, replete with fancy cars and opulent mansions. The recurring phrase, “This that Z shit”, can be seen both as a celebratory declaration of the rapper’s journey from the streets to stardom, and a reminder of his enduring connection to his roots.

Offset’s verse is about his journey towards wealth and fame. He references multiple luxury brands and material possessions to illustrate how far he’s come from his tough beginnings. The line, “All my niggas locked up, for real / I’m tryna help ’em”, underlines Offset’s commitment to supporting his homies who are still trapped in the system.

Travis Scott, known for his subtle and metaphoric storytelling skills, also comes in strong with references to his opulent lifestyle. Lines like “I’m slidin’ in a coupe, ain’t got no key to start” and “I got the fire on me in BET Awards” are braggadocious nods to his success in the industry. He also mentions “I’m a project baby, now I stay in Calabasas” which highlights the stark contrast between his early life in a risky neighborhood and his current affluent lifestyle in one of the safest and most luxurious locales in the US—Calabasas.

Wrapped up in hard beats and infectious melodies, “ZEZE” is more than just a party song or a bragging anthem. It’s a testament to survival, transformation, and the uneasy struggle to reconcile the past with the present. It’s a celebration of the rappers’ journey from struggle to success while reminding the listeners of their roots— the raw, real-life experiences that ignited their ascent to stardom.

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