Victor Gurrola, Jr. better known by his stage name Zilla (formerly VG Skillz and then V-Zilla), is an underground rapper and producer from Houston, Texas. He is known for his unique style of rap which combines East Coast hip hop with his Native Southern Hip Hop. In 2010, Zilla became a member of hip hop supergroup; Army of the Pharaohs founded by Jedi Mind Tricks frontman Vinnie Paz.
Coming out of Houston, V-Zilla got his start posting music online. He was discovered by Swedish producer Moonshine, leading to his successful 2001 debut album, E.X.H.A.L.E., which stands for Everyone Xpects Hate and Love Emerges. Lockdown Sessions followed in 2004, and 3 years later he joined forces with Houston locals S.W.A.T. Music Project, switching up his style to the more traditional Southern-Hip Hop style with his collaboration album Empty Bottles and Full Ashtrays in 2008.
Returning to his more lyrical, East Coast-influenced roots, he mounts a comeback with Interview with a Monster, letting it be known that his previous style was a "gross miscalculation" and that he is going to make music the way he feels and marks an official return. Many of the tracks on this album were self-produced, the album release comes with the tracks Most Incredible, The Rain, Duck Down with Reef the Lost Cauze, and Flatline featuring Vinnie Paz and Blacastan. On 4 January 2013, Zilla released his debut EP titled The A.D.D.I.C.T. It contained self-produced tracks and production from Swedish producer and long time friend Moonshine. V-Zilla makes his first appearance with Army of the Pharaohs on their fourth studio album; In Death Reborn released on 22 April 2014.
Early Career (1997-1999):
Victor Gurrola, Jr started off rapping with his initials VG Skillz. He used to participate in numerous rap battles in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Zilla stated that he had Houston was the city with whom he has a love-hate relationship as many people from Houston didn't recognize him and showed him hate for his unique style of rapping.
W.I.S.D.O.M. and E.X.H.A.L.E. (2000-2002):
In 2002, Zilla, who was known as VG Skillz at the time, followed up his 2000 debut LP W.I.S.D.O.M. with E.X.H.A.L.E. Although W.I.S.D.O.M. was Skillz first album; E.X.H.A.L.E is considered to be his debut solo album. It was over the internet that VG hooked up with the Swedish group The Narcs (now known as The Narcissists). Checking out each other's tracks online lead to Skillz appearing on their debut "Temporarily Forever". In return, Narcs producer Moonshine offered to furnish some beats for the Texan rapper's second joint. They ended up with a total of 11 tracks, VG recording his vocals in Houston and Moonshine mixing and mastering the tracks in Stockholm. The track Lethal contained a guest appearance from Ebomb.
The album was recognized as an "intercontinental collaboration that definitely makes sense". The album samples tracks from Excaliber's gloomy "Realize" to Surgeon General's physical "Hot Rhymes". Somewhere on "E.X.H.A.L.E.", Skillz says that he'd "never ever sacrifice substance for the flow." The self-described "Blue Collared MC" gained recognition for his flow. It was released via Ill Dyalect Records.
Lockdown Sessions (2003-2005):
In 2003, VG Skills name changed to V-Zilla. Zilla describes himself "as the underdog." With his track record, though, it'd seem like now is his time to shine. After having two albums under the name VG Skillz, and two years of opening for or performing with underground mainstays like Atmosphere and Jedi Mind Tricks, it wasn't long that the V-Zilla would eventually get his own time in the underground spotlight. This time around though, Zilla wasn't taking any chances; claiming he's revamped everything in his camp, V-Zilla comes new name in to town with his third album, The Lockdown Sessions. Though the album's intro is somewhat clichéd (V-Zilla is sentenced to life in prison for "attempted musical murder").
"I don't got money for that Neptunes production, yo I'm not a gimmick rapper, not how I function yo See I don't wanna be that cat that fades in the dark I'm not a follower, I wanna be state-of-the-art"
- Zilla describes his experience with the music industry.
In 2004, Zilla collaborated with Swedish producer; Astma, on his compilation album Astma Presents on the track I'm back. Zilla was also credited on the track Soul by underground rapper Bucc from The Narcissist, this single was later featured on the EP The Soul EP and the album Independent Perfekshun. Zilla was also featured on the song Remain Cautious by K-Otix on the album Ethos.
Empty Bottles and Full Ashtray (2006-2008):
Several years later he joined forces with H-Town locals S.W.A.T. (South West Alief Texas) Music Project, switching up his style to the more traditional Southern-Hip Hop style of music with a collaborative album titled Empty Bottles and Full Ashtrays in 2008. What Houston blog press said about this part of his career is that "When his city finally knew him, the world took notice because he was spitting the worst rap of his career. He'll tell you himself the reason he wants to be alone is because what went wrong in his career would've gone right, if he did it on his own." Zilla himself said that this set himself four years back as a "backup singer in Rob G's boy band."
Interview With a Monster, Name Change & Joining Army of the Pharaohs (2009-2013):
Returning to his more lyrical, East Coast-influenced roots, Zilla mounts a comeback with Interview with a Monster, letting it be known that his previous style was a "gross miscalculation" and that he is going to make music the way he feels and marks an official return. Many of the tracks on this album were self-produced, the album release comes with the tracks Most Incredible, The Rain, Duck Season with Reef the Lost Cauze, and Flatline featuring Vinnie Paz and Blacastan.
Vinnie Paz proposed an offer to V-Zilla to join Army of the Pharaohs in 2011, but it wasn't official until 2012 when it was announced he and Connecticut's Blacastan were added to the group. On 4 January 2013, Zilla released his debut EP titled The A.D.D.I.C.T. It contained self-produced tracks and production from Swedish producer and long time friend Moonshine. In late 2013 V-Zilla changed his name to a more simplified "Zilla", where he first showed off his name performing with Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon.
In Death Reborn and Martyr Musick (2014-present):
On 8 April, 2014, in an interview with The Undeground Vault, Zilla announced he was working on his fourth studio album titled Martyr Musick. The album is set to be released sometime June 2014.