This should have been reviewed during a UK month a few years back, but fuck it, better late than never. Big Zuu may be better known for his television appearances these days, but at the start he was just an aspiring West London rapper recording demos as The Rugby Club. Those who hear him for the first time may be reminded of Big Shaq, although that song’s viral success actually predated “Content With Content” by a year. I suppose it’s a credit to Michael Dappah that he was doing such a good parody of UK’s grime rap scene that he sounds interchangeable for one of its big stars. There’s certainly no shortage of “man” this and “man” that to Zuu’s flow.
I find some humour in fact that Zuu lists Tupac Shakur as an inspiration but recorded a song and video for a single called “B.I.G.” He probably considers Christopher Wallace an inspiration too though and I doubt anyone in London was taking sides in the East/West beef from the United States. In fact Zuu was born in 1995 so he wouldn’t even have been old enough to remember the assassination of either artist, so he only would have listened to them posthumously. Anyway as befitting the title of “Content With Content” Big Zuu has a “Vision” he wants to share with everyone.
“I’m trying to get a yard with a view” quips Zuu, illustrating that his rap career is just a small part of his goals (no wonder he ended up hosting a show on Dave). The energy of his delivery is undeniable and the very subdued instrumental allows you to focus solely on the drum beats and his rhymes. That’s a good thing too because Zuu flows VERY fast. Even on a crossover style song like “Mine and Yours” he just barely slows down enough for radio play, singing a hook to go along with the warm bass. “The love that we have is mine and yours, I know it I’m sure.”
I’m kind of perplexed why Zuu recorded so many videos for this album but didn’t make one for this song in particular. It has “smash hit” written all over it. The second closest to a crossover track did get one though and that’s “No Breaks.” The curse words would keep it from getting airplay in the U.S. but in the United Kingdom that’s not nearly as much of a problem.
“Content With Content” goes by pretty fast, clocking in at just barely over a half hour, but even on the “Outro (Change Things)” he’s still spitting at his trademark high speed flow. “We’re all just trying to make our dreams come true at the end of the day” says Zuu, and it’s fair to say that he did. I feel that there may be some inherent bias toward Zuu on my part, because I enjoy grime artists and UK accents. I think it’s in part because I grew up watching Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, and in part due to how reggae influenced the UK rap scene is, and in part just because it’s refreshing when you listen to so many American rappers to hear someone else’s style. Big Zuu is not just a novelty though. He’s got a serious flow and he’s a legit emcee, and I hope he doesn’t abandon his rap career now that he’s made it as a television star.