Zayion McCall is an American rapper who is part of a hip-hop duo alongside fellow rapper and dancer Zay Hilfigerrr. The duo is best known for their first song together, 'Juju on That Beat', which was originally posted on Zayion's YouTube channel on July 8, 2016 as a track from his album 'Why So Serious?'. The dance from the song's music video had become a viral challenge on social media and helped its music video amass over 364 million views on YouTube. The song charted at No.5 on the 'US Billboard Hot 100' and won the 2017 'Kids Choice Award' for 'Favorite Music Video'. Following the success of the track, the duo made guest appearances on television shows like 'Live with Kelly' and 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'. Zayion, who began his rap career at the age of 15, had released his debut mixtape 'Cold War' in April 2016, before collaborating with Zay Hilfigerrr.
Rise to Stardom
As a child, Zayion McCall loved to watch cartoons and various nickelodeon kids' shows and often sang along. Later, he watched the music video of Chris Brown's 'Run It!' at his aunt's place and was immediately a fan of the singer-songwriter. He began following Brown in every possible way and felt an urge to sing and dance like he does. However, after his voice changed during his adolescent years, he had to give up his dreams of a career as a singer, but his love for music made him interested in rhyming. Unfortunately, in his middle school and high school years, he found it very difficult to rhyme even four words, and was disappointed at not being able to participate in rap battles. One night around this time, he came across funny videos from YouTuber Bugatti Beez, which also included freestyle rap. Watching those videos renewed his interest in writing short rap verses and trying to freestyle.
Following a few disappointments, he got his sister to record him rapping to 'Ambition' by Wale in a car and uploaded the video on Facebook. The video managed to get over 10k views within a couple of hours and also got the attention of his producer father, who called him the next day when he was in school to talk about the video. Later that day, his father had arranged for him a chance to record his first song 'Party All Nite'. The music video of the song received over 15k views on YouTube within a day, which was quite an achievement for a newcomer. He achieved widespread success with his first mixtape 'Cold War', released on April 23, 2016, which gained more than 2 million streams. In the following years, he has drastically improved his lyrical mindset and the format of his songs, which has helped in establishing himself in the music industry.
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Collaboration with Zay Hilfigerrr
Zayion McCall met dancer and rapper Zay Hilfigerrr, also from Detroit, Michigan, in the summer of 2016 after Zay was approached by his father Timothy McCall. The two bonded over shared interest in hip-hop music. Soon after, Zay expressed his interest in coming over to his place and record music together. While Zayion was initially skeptical about the song 'Juju on That Beat', a freestyle on Crime Mob's 'Knuck If You Buck', it came out fine thanks to his lyrical prowess and Zay's electric energy. They uploaded the music video of the song on YouTube in August 2016. Despite early hiccups, the video picked up views in thousands after members of the dancing group 'Fresh the Clowns' began imitating the dance moves created by Zay Hilfigerrr and shared them on various social media sites. Later that year, the song was picked up for official distribution by Atlantic Records, following which it picked at No.5 on the 'Billboard Hot 100'. The song, originally only 2:02 minutes in length, became one of the shortest songs to make it into the list in the past 40 years. The music video of the song reached 150 million views by February 2017 and the song was nominated for a 'Kids' Choice Award' for 'Favorite Music Video'.
Zayion McCall was born as James McCall on July 16, 1999 in Detroit, Michigan to Timothy McCall and Lakisha Inman. His father is a local film producer. He is the oldest of his parents' seven children. During his early years, he would often split time between his parents' place and his aunt's place, and learned to sing and dance watching kids' shows on television. However, he had a hard time in high school due to personal problems and issues with social life. His studies were affected so much that he had to attend summer school in the 9th grade. Despite being a teenager, he has a son named Za'Khary McCall.