From taxi driver to celebrity rapper, 35-year-old rapper Big Zulu has truly done well for himself. For most celebrities, their success story usually resonates more than who they were before they became famous. And for some, they never had to face the downsides of life first.
However, for others like Big Zulu, they first had to try their hands on other things before finally settling for music. Since his rise to fame, he has collaborated with some of the big names in the industry like Cassper Nyovest, Emtee, Kwesta, and the multi-talented, Sjava. The one-time taxi driver has become one of South Africa’s top rappers, and his success story is one that any true fan would love to learn about.
Quick Profile Summary Of Big Zulu
- Full name: Siyabonga Nene
- Stage name: Big Zulu
- Date of birth: April 7, 1987
- Age: 35 Years Old
- Place of birth: Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- Nationality: South African
- Occupation: Actor, songwriter, and rapper
The 35-Year-Old Rapper Has Always Been Interested In Music Since Childhood
Siyabonga Nene, who is popularly known as Big Zulu, the king of rap, was born on the 7th of April in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal, and was raised in the same neighborhood. Details about his educational background are not so clear, but he is believed to have had his basic education.
Big Zulu has always been a lover of music right from a tender age. At the time, Maskandi and Scathamiya played a major role in driving his passion for music. Zulu also drew inspiration from Phuzekhemisi, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Imithente.
The exact kind of upbringing Big Zulu had is unknown. Who his parents are and information about his siblings are also unknown. There is ongoing speculation that rapper Sjava and Big Zulu are siblings, but on the contrary, they are not related in any way. This belief may have arisen from the fact that they speak the same language and grow up in the same province. They are of the same tribe but are not related by blood, neither as cousins nor brothers.
Big Zulu Started As A Taxi Driver But Decided To Do Music At The Age Of 21
Big Zulu didn’t have life all figured out at the start of adulthood, and music was not his first choice. The Ugogo rapper started off fending for himself as a taxi driver. The number of years he spent doing this job is unknown; I bet those who boarded his taxi at that time did not know that South Africa’s next big thing was their driver.
In 2008, when he was 21, he decided to quit being a taxi driver and ventured into music. In 2009, he started writing, organizing, and performing his own music. Big Zulu spent six years performing as an independent artist without being signed under any record label. Still, his consistency paid off as he started getting recognized by big names in the industry like Ntokozo Sithole. And such recognition did him a lot of good, as he soon got signed in with the Universal record label.
He Released His Debut Album Under Universal Record Label
Getting signed in with Universal record label was a huge breakthrough for Big Zulu as he has been opportune to collaborate with big names in the industry under the label. In 2018, still under Universal records, Big Zulu released his debut album, which was well-loved and appreciated by South African music lovers. Songs in this album told stories of his life and experiences.
Big Zulu’s collaboration with famous artists like Zakwe, Maraza, Sjava, PRO, Emtee, Kwesta Dakar, and Damien Marley contributed to making him as famous as he is now.
Here are some of Big Zulu’s most popular songs:
- 100 Bars
- Ang’Mazi Umama
- As’Dlali Ney’Ngane
- Intombi Zama Wololo
- Nam’Angaz Nje
- Ongena Dosi
- On My Mind
- Ungqongqoshe Wongqongqoshe
- Vuma Dlozi
- Wena Wedwa
- Wema Dlamini
Big Zulu Is Now Successfully Rapping In His Style – Inkabi Pantsula
Big Zulu, who used to be a taxi driver, seems to gained inspiration from his former job while making his music. Previously, when you hear the word “inkabi,” what comes to your mind is hired guns and assassins that hardly miss their target. It is also associated with how taxi owners are violently killed – in fact, it is not a word that brings about joy.
However, Big Zulu is changing that narrative. Now, when “inkabi pantsula” is heard, rather than bringing fear into the mind, what comes to your mind is Big Zulu’s style of hip-hop music.
Being a former taxi driver didn’t just influence Big Zulu’s music style but also his dress sense, as he still wears omega sandals, pointer leather jackets, and Brentwood pants. When asked why Big Zulu said he didn’t want to be one of the regular rappers. He wants to stay real and original, and you can tell that he is doing just that.
Aside From Rapping, Big Zulu Is Also An Actor And Brand Ambassador
Big Zulu’s success spans beyond the country’s music industry as he has also played roles in some of Mzansi’s popular soap operas like Isithembiso, Isibaya, and Uzalo. He has also caught the attention of fashion brands, and he is a brand ambassador to a good number of them. He is a brand ambassador for Brentwood, History Rich, and more recently, he landed another gig as brand ambassador for ‘Carvela,’ an Italian clothing brand.
Big Zulu has experienced success in all his career endeavors. Who would have thought that a taxi driver would become one of the most celebrated South African rappers? Big Zulu has proven that nothing is possible, and from any background, anyone who is determined can become successful.
Big Zulu’s Private Life Has Not Been As Good As His Music Career
Big Zulu has had a successful career over the years, but he has not always been in the news for his career success as he has had some open scandals in his private life. He is currently in a relationship with Lebogang Makenete, and they live together in his home in New Town. Their relationship is blessed with a child, but it has not been all rosy.
In 2018, the Sunday Sun reported that he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his baby mama. According to Lebogang, they had had a heated argument which ended up with him laying his hands on her for the first time – even though she also admitted to being aggressive herself.
Outside his relationship with Lebogang Makenete, Big Zulu had a child with Bulelwa Nazo. However, despite all of these, he and his girlfriend are still together.