You might know UK rapper Big Zuu for his raps. He is a rapper, after all, and that's what rappers do. Coming up in 2010s grime crew MTP – which included his cousin, AJ Tracey – Zuu became known for his high energy appearances, often popping up on Enfield pirate radio station Mode FM, as well as Radar Radio.
He's collaborated with some of grime's biggest names, having linked up with JME, P Money and Craig David on 2018 album Content With Content. More recently, he released dynamic rap single "P2P" with fellow west Londoner Jelani Blackman. Now, he's added another bow to his arrow, with the release of Big Zuu's Big Eats – a cooking show coming to UK channel Dave on the 15th of May, and featuring guests including Jimmy Carr, Guz Khan and VICE Hate Thy Neighbour host Jamali Maddix.
I spoke to Big Zuu for our quickfire Q&A series Share Location, where we ask British artists about their experience growing up in the UK. Obviously we went straight in with a reference to food.
VICE: I heard you used to work at Nandos. What's the first job you remember having?
Big Zuu: I worked for a charity called City Year. You work with kids in schools, and I was a mentor for young children in a secondary school in Haggerston, in east London. It was very tough. Very different to what I’m used to. But it changed my life.
I bet it was really rewarding.
One million percent. It taught me a lot about what teachers were going through when I was a kid. It made me appreciate my teachers a lot more.
Do you remember your first kiss?
Ahhhhhh, mate. Do you know what? I was a bad kid. I got it cracking in nursery. I was like four. But my first proper kiss? It was terrible. I had no technique. I want to delete it from my memory.
Where would your classic date spot be?
I dunno, G. Where did we used to go? We used to go shisha quite a lot. It was a humble one.
Do you remember when you first smoked weed?
What a lovely question. Yes. I was in Sierra Leone. My uncle made me smoke some. But their weed is bush weed, not skunk. He made me smoke some on a cliff.
Have you thrown up anywhere in the UK?
I don’t throw up. I’ve got super drunk in my life and I don’t throw up, mate – it’s something I don’t do. It’s something I really hate doing. I hate throwing up. Obviously I throw up when I’ve had too much food or I’ve had a bad belly, but that’s always in my house. I’ve never been outside and been like bleeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuugh. Never.
If you're being serious and not joking, that’s a proper superpower.
Oi, listen. I’ve drank a lot of Courvoisier before and I’ve smoked a lot of weed and I’ve not vomited ever. It’s one of my proudest moments.
What’s the best night out you’ve had in the UK?
When I was younger, Drake came over and AJ Tracey told us to go to [UK nightclub] Tape with Drake. I was like, "Yeaaaah, let’s go Tape with Drake" – I don’t even go clubbing, I don’t own Louis Vuitton or any of that shit. I wear the same shit all the time. When I went it was crazy, bruv. Pogba was there. Eubank was there. It was surreal, bruv. I remember I didn’t have any weed so I asked Giggs for a spliff and he gave me one. I was like: this is life. This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
That’s a proper spread of people as well. Where’s your favourite place to perform?
Everywhere is bloody closing! All the places I grew up playing, they’re all closing now! But I definitely love my underground raves. Your Boiler Room, Keep Hush – those kind of things. That’s what really made me. One of my favourite places is the ICA on the Mall. Because, you know, you’re performing next to the Queen. It’s like… what did I do, to be performing near the Queen?
That road is mental. I cycled down there recently while in lockdown and it was eerie. Have you been out at all?
Nope. My mum has us on ultimate lockdown, so I’ve been in my house for five weeks. I’m getting on with it, though – I’m making it work. I pop my head out of the window a lot.
What’s the first thing you were given for free when you became famous?
I got a crate of KA.
I think it was the fruit punch. Bro, I was addicted to KA, so when I got that I was like, "I’ve fucking made it, don’t chat to me. I am a musician. I get free KA. What do you get?" Do you know what I’m saying. But now I get a lot of stuff for free! The free stuff in music is probably my favourite thing about it. I know about you guys, though. [VICE host] Alhan is my boy. He’s the king of stuff.
What’s the biggest mistake you feel you might have made in your teenage years?
I wasn't really that mad. For me, it was not really learning a musical instrument. I wish I really tapped into the fact I was good at music. I don’t want to sound like a fucking prick, but I’m a good writer. If I could have tapped into that as a young child I could have gone further in music. That’s one of my biggest regrets – not learning to play piano or guitar.
Big Zuu’s Big Eats airs on Friday the 15th May at 10PM on Dave.