American rapper and actor Zane, previously popular as Lil' Zane, came to fame as a guest performer on the 112 hit single “Anywhere” (1999) before enjoying success on his own with his single “Callin' Me” (featuring 112), which became a chart topper on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs and made the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was the first single from his hit debut album “Young World: The Future” (2000). He followed it up with the less successful albums “The Big Zane Theory” (2003) and “Tha Return” (2008). As an actor, Zane has appeared in many films, including “Finding Forrester” (2000), “Dr. Dolittle 2” (2002), “The Fighting Temptations” (2003), “After Autumn” (2007), “Skeletons in the Desert” (2008) and “A Day in the Life” (2009). He has also acted in episodes of the television series “One on One,” “The Parkers,” “All of Us,” “Cold Case” and “Moonlight.”
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Childhood and Family:
Named after his father, Zane R. Copeland Jr., who would later be popular as Lil' Zane, was born on July 11, 1982, in Yonkers, New York. His family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, when he was seven years old. Zane grew up listening to Whodini and L.L. Cool and began writing and rhyming when he was 10.
Zane attended St. Andrew's College.
Inspired by the Atlanta based groups Another Bad Creation (ABC) and Kris Krosss, a then 10 year old Lil' Zane began rehearsing with his cousin. A year later, he started participating in local Atlanta talent shows and was discovered by Worldwide Entertainment CEO Kevin Wales, the same man who discovered ABC, 112, and Monica. It was not long before Lil' Zane found himself touring with the Grammy winning 112 while working on his debut album.
Lil' Zane gained his first big break with 112's hit single “Anywhere,” from the group's 1998 album “Room 112.” Featuring Lil' Zane on a rap verse, the song charted at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks in 1999. In 1999, Lil' Zane also recorded the song “Money Stretch” for the soundtrack to the Ice Cube comedy “Next Friday” (2000). The album peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and No. 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Lil' Zane's debut album, “Young World: The Future,” was released on August 22, 2000, under the Priority Records label. It was produced by Akon, TrackBoyz, Jermaine Dupri and Jazze Pha. The first single, “Callin' Me,” (featuring 112) rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs, No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, “None Tonight,” went to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs and No. 68 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
In 2001, Lil' Zane collaborated with Bow Wow, Lil Wayne and Sammie on the song “Hardball,” which was included on the “Hardball” soundtrack from the 2001 motion picture of the same name. The album rose to No. 55 on the Billboard 200, No. 34 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 4 on the Top Soundtracks, while the single peaked at No.77 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
Lil' Zane made his television series debut on the UPN sitcom “The Parker,” which starred Mo'Nique as Nikki Parker. He appeared in the episode “It's a Spring Bling Thing” on April 10, 2000. He later returned for a 2002 episode called “Don't Believe the Hype.” He also appeared in an episode of “One on One” called “Fifteen Candles.”
Billed as Zane Copeland Jr., Lil' Zane made his feature acting debut as Damon in “Finding Forrester,” a drama directed by Gus Van Sant that was written by Mike Rich and starred Sean Connery and Rob Brown. Opening in December 2000, the film earned generally positive reviews. He then played the role of Eric Wilson, the boyfriend of Eddy Murphy's daughter, on the sequel “Dr. Dolittle 2” (2001). He also performed the song “Lookin' for Love,” with Next, on the soundtrack. In 2003, the studio album “The Big Zane Theory” was launched and charted at No. 39 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Lil' Zane returned to the big screen when he was cast as Derek in “The Fighting Temptations,” a 2003 movie produced by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. Starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles, the film received mixed reviews and enjoyed moderate success at the box office. Along with T-Bone and Montell Jordan, Lil' Zane performed the track “To da River” on the soundtrack, which gained positive reviews from music critics. 2003 also saw him appearing in the TV series “Soul Train” and “Player$.” In 2003, the performer changed his name from Lil' Zane to Zane.
In 2004, Zane was cast as M'Kai in the thriller “Motives,” directed by Craig Ross Jr. and starring Vivica A. Fox, Shemar Moore and Golden Brooks. Two years later, he worked with Miko DeFoor, Jevon Dewan and Nina Nicole on the romantic film “The Sun Will Rise” (2006), which was directed by the Horne Brothers and written by Rahiem Shabazz. Zane next appeared in an episode of “All of Us” called “It Was Fun While It Lasted” (2007) and played Jester in the episode “Wunderkind” (2007) of “Cold Case.” He also portrayed Derrick Parks in the 2007 dramatic film “After Autumn,” which was written and directed by Jamal Hill and starred Hasan Bivings, Sundy Carter and Melvin Jackson Jr.
Zane released his third studio album, “Tha Return,” on February 26, 2008, through Hollywood Fame Records. It spawned one single titled “Rollin.” On the acting front, he guest starred in an episode of “Moonlight” titled “Click” (2008). He also portrayed Patrick in “Cuttin Da Mustard” (2008), a comedy written and directed by Reed R. McCants, and Marcus Jackson in “Skeletons in the Desert” (2008), a thriller co-directed and written by Gregori J. Martin. In 2009, he appeared in the movie “A Day in the Life,” which was written, directed by and starred Sticky Fingaz.
In 2010, Zane made a special appearance at the ten year anniversary of 106 & Park in Los Angeles with Ray J. The same year, he also released the mixtape “The Missing Link” and the single “Put It In My Lap.” His new album is set to be released in 2011.