Born and raised in St. Louis Mo. Zeus Rebel Waters has been a staple in the St Louis music scene since the late 90s. Many St Louisans still know him today by his former rap name “Rukka Puff.”
When asked about how he would describe St. Louis as a city to people who have never been here? Zeus stated. “St. Louis is a big city with a small-town feel.” “Definitely ratchet and dangerous, but a good place. There’s a lot of love here and also a lot of hate.” “Overall. it’s a good city and we have some of the best food out of any city.”
“We got stagnant over the last few years, but we got some new people in place, so I feel like the city is going to grow.” When asked how he got into music Zeus said: “I have always had a love for music, my dad listened to rock music, country music, and NWA.”
“My mom listened to Anita Baker, so I always had it in me but what really got me into it is a guy named Marcus who is like my big brother. He use to come to my house and cut my hair.”
“He got me inspired to do music because he was one of the first people I knew who use to go to the studio.” “He motivated me to go to the studio and got me to start buying beats. I bought my first beats from “Richie Stacks” and “Bradd Young”.
When asked how he got the name Rukka Puff. Zeus said that it came from him taking his street name and combining it with his rap name and just putting it together. His street name was Ruckus and people around the neighborhood called him Puff because of his weight.
So he used the name Rukka Puff. Zeus started off as a battle rapper back in the days winning the once prominent Blaze Battle Championship.
I asked Zeus how he got a record deal with one of the Heavyhitters in the music industry at the time Mack 10? Zeus said that his business partner did a movie called “Apocalypse of the Beauty Queen” and the DP on the film named “Thomas Smugala” had done some work with Mack 10 ‘s wife at the time T- Boz on the “Fan Mail” album.
They met mack 10 through that. He agreed to do a movie. They brought Mack 10 to the establishment in St. Louis named “The African Palace where Zeus was performing.”Zeus stated “Mak 10 came to my show there and saw me perform. He heard some songs. “One thing led to another and I ended up selling him one of my songs from my album “Escaped off the Chains titled “Like This.” He redid the song, kept me on the bridge, and added Nate Dogg on the hook.”
Rumors have been circulating for years about the aftermath of his deal with Mack 10, So I asked Zeus was he blackballed from the industry? “Naw. I didn’t get blackballed from the industry. Mack 10 was going through a lot of health issues at the time the deal ended.”
“I just feel like the situation hit this bridge. Everything is about timing, a lot of things have changed. Social media is here now. “People want to go off numbers. Which doesn’t mean anything. you can have all those views in the world and people still not connect with you. “I have an intimate relationship with my fan base. They care about my brand. In this industry, it’s not on my time.it’s on God’s time. I was raising my kids for the last four years as a single dad. So I’m thankful to still be able to be here doing music.”
I asked Zeus what made him change his name from Rukka Puff to Zeus Rebel Waters? “I changed a lot mentally, spiritually, and personally. I wasn’t Rukka Puff anymore. Music has to be authentic. I have to be 100 percent me.” People who controlled the industry want you to be what they need you to be so they can sell it.” “I want to be in the space that’s me and do it the right way,” Zeus said Rukka puff was like that power running back that will run you over. Loud and in your face and Zeus is more finesse.” “Being Zeus helped me get to the point where i wasn’t afraid no more.”
“The music that I’m making and why it’s so authentic is because I’m being me. I went through everything to get to the point where I am now.” Even crossing over into films came naturally to him. it’s something that he always wanted to do.
I asked him how he classifies his style and the music that he makes? “I call it a Gumbo.” It’s a mixture of all elements and genres..I’m showing people you can be from our environment and still be who you want to be, whether I’m in the hood or in Clayton. I’m gonna be me and that’s what we need to promote to the youth because people are afraid to be themselves.”
Zeus’s top 5 artists that inspired him are Prince and Michael Jackson. He says they are both number one together. Busta Rhymes, Bruno Mars, Aerosmith, and Journey. His top artists from St. Louis are the St. lunatics as a collective, Pretty Willie, and Bigga Brown.
His advice that he would give his 20-year-old self is that it’s always about business, never personal. You want to have your business straight. Zeus’s advice to the youth that’s coming up trying to make it in the industry is “Make sure you have a great team around you. It’s always 10 percent talent and 90percent business.”
“Be fearless and don’t be afraid to travel. Zeus said that his greatest accomplishment is being recognized by his peers, knowing that they feel like he is an Icon icon and a part of the musical culture of St. Louis….
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