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Zuluboy - conducted by Phayde  


June 2006

MVRemix: How would you describe your own music?

Zuluboy: My music, it’s basically telling people what they don’t want to hear but need to hear.

MVRemix: Like what?

Zuluboy: I like educating and reminding people and stating laws. It’s basically rebel music. Conscious, rebel dance music. I’m trying to make you dance at the same time as that. There’s a huge message behind it.

MVRemix: Yeah, intelligent hip-hop doesn’t have to be boring. Some “intelligent” emcees make the mistake of using 30-syllable words…

Zuluboy: Yeah, and you need a dictionary. [Laughs] That’s what I’m also trying to fight against at home. I use the simplest words to tell you shit. I basically represent the Zulu nation in the way that I come through. I represent, because there are tribes at home, like you have your west coast, east coast [in America]. I try and represent my tribe. I try putting my tribe out there, because it’s basically those people that are in the minds of the whole of South Africa. Like “Yo, you’re Zulu. You must a fighter.” There are so many war stories about the Zulu. I try to educate people about our tradition and our culture, you know, and try and convince them to accept it and really learn from it, because you can learn from whatever that you open your mind to. I learn from the Rastafarians, the Chinese, the Indians…

MVRemix: My culture can kick your culture’s ass.

Zuluboy: You know what I’m saying? That’s what it ends up being all about at home. I’m basically trying to represent the dream of the king. King Shaka, his dream was to turn Africa into a country. But I’m trying to do it through music.

MVRemix: What kind of issues are closest to your heart?

Zuluboy: At home? In music?

MVRemix: That you express through your music.

Zuluboy: Okay. HIV and AIDS. Issues that are really close to my heart are ignorance—I think our greatest war is ignorance, throughout the world—problems creating solutions. Because without solutions, you’d never have business. Say I needed to get to the outside of Vancouver quicker, so the man who invented the car was brilliant and he’s got the best business. He created a solution for a certain problem. Issues that are close to my heart: The way that we live our lives now. Now, you’re not cool and don’t fit in if you’re a good boy, when you don’t take groupies to the hotel, you know? Society has really conditioned us to really go with the flow and become vultures, and become irresponsible for the actions that we do. [Another issue is] drugs. People die from drugs at home.

MVRemix: Why do you think hip-hop is as effective as it is in getting through to the youth?

Zuluboy: I think it’s effective because— I’m still a youth in my time right now, but when I was younger, hip-hop was a father to me. It told me stuff that my mom couldn’t tell me, because I was raised by a single parent, you know. It told me stuff my mom couldn’t tell me. That’s how I think it can be powerful, because it actually dominates between the educated and non-educated, in terms of the music, mood and feeling. I just write something on my notepad and go perform it there, and then I can actually school people, from drop-outs to post-grads.

MVRemix: Haha, the Mos Def line there.

Zuluboy: Yeah, that’s a Mos Def line. [Laughs] You’re educating people, you know? It’s a huge thing. It’s not a stuck up sense of music, like classical. You basically are what you listen to. Like when you listen to hip-hop, you have the Timberlands and sagged pants. And when you listen to house, around where I come from, I see you with the tight pants, the trends, the Gucci, trying to look fresh for the ladies. So think hip-hop communicates more to the youth because it’s the underdog of this whole industry. That’s why I think people are messing up the game by blinging it out.

MVRemix: What projects are you working on now?

Zuluboy: I’m working on my debut album. I haven’t even got an album out. I’m working with Native Rhythms; that’s my company. It’s basically a company of afrocentric soul and hip-hop soul.

MVRemix: When did you start working on the album?

Zuluboy: I started working on the album last year, in October, and it’s gonna hit the shelves at the end of July. Almost done.

MVRemix: Do you know how the distribution will be yet?

Zuluboy: Yeah, people should be able to get it all over the world, because we’re working with major labels like EMI. Distribution is EMI. We like having that independence of having our own company, and yet be signed to a major. That’s when you get creativity and freedom.

MVRemix: If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?

Zuluboy: Yo, she’d have beauty and brains.

MVRemix: You think that hip-hop, even today, would be beautiful and smart? Considering everything that hip-hop has—

Zuluboy: Been through? I think, right now, hip-hop would be a prostitute, but beautiful looking. But she will sell herself to get what she wants.

MVRemix: So she’s not that smart anymore.

Zuluboy: Yeah, she’s lost that intelligent, but sometimes it kicks in. When she’s standing at the corner of the street, that intelligence kicks in sometimes and she doesn’t sell herself cheap. [Laughs]

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"They told me that if you're not doing this thing called kwaito--kwaito is this genre of local music that's from the South African ghetto--you will not sell. Labels will not be interested in you. They're like, "Yo, you American wannabes..."