Music has always played a role in moulding society.
Artists have used their voices to tell the stories of their communities and Big Zulu is no different. His latest offering, Inhlupheko, paints the picture of hardship and pain.
It is far removed from his previous single and viral hit, Imali Eningi.
The song which features Mduduzi focuses on the social ills that a majority of South Africans are facing.
“After doing a song like Imali Eningi, I wanted to show a more musical and diverse side to my music. I wanted to touch on a subject that majority of South Africans face on a day-to-day basis, the biggest pandemic we are faced with which is poverty,” he said.
Big Zulu, whose real name is Siyabonga Nene, wants to bring to light the difficulties faced by many.
“Through music, I want to inspire people to support and help each other when one is in need. Poverty is such a huge part of our daily lives, with a lot of South Africans living below the poverty line. Inhlupheko is a song that acknowledges the reality of our situation, giving people comfort that they are not alone in their difficult times.”
Big Zulu is a storyteller by nature which has made it easy for him to enter a creative process with his music. “It is driven by real life stories that people live and share on a day-to-day basis. I am able to translate my personal stories and people’s stories into works of art that entertain, and in this case, it is through music”.
The rapper still feels overwhelmed by the viral success of Imali Eningi.
“I knew the song was going to be big, however, the response was above my expectation. For South Africans to carry the song as they did, that was special. Again, when you speak of things that people relate to, chances are, you are going to win.”
He knows that his voice can help make a change in society as both a rapper and an actor.
The song was inspired by a photo that captured his attention. It was a picture of a woman on her knees crying with a baby on her back. Big Zulu narrates the story as an emotional tale of a woman’s life experiences and difficulties she faces.
“With music, we can bring a lot of change. With Inhlupheko, I want to encourage all South Africans to take time to help people around them who are in need. I will start by leading by example and helping a few South Africans out of their tough situations. Be on the lookout for this.”
Big Zulu has kept his creative mental juices alive during the pandemic saying hunger and tough times forces people to be creative.
“I think the tougher the situation, the more one works hard to try to get ‘bread’ and get out of a bad situation. You really have to try your best to never give up.”
He hopes to one day work with some legends of the industry, including Zola and Thandiswa Mazwai.
The rapper’s journey to get to where he is today has been a challenging one. He started out as a truck and taxi driver with a dream.
“It’s been challenging as it took time to build to this point. But after getting a proper team behind me, things definitely got extremely better. I am an artist by nature, inspired by people’s stories. I am a vessel that carries the stories through my God-given ability. The art is not to undermine yourself and never give up on your dreams. Here we are today.”
While Big Zulu continues to work on a full album that should come out in May, fans can enjoy his latest single available on streaming platforms.