Big Zuu appreciates some of the finer things in life: music, football and jollof rice.
Big Zuu is a grime MC, DJ and presenter, with his own food programme and cookbook. He’s also a massive Liverpool fan and went viral with his LFC-inspired track for BBC Sport during the 2018-19 season.
The 26-year-old London rapper appears as a guest judge in the latest episode of The Rap Game UK, alongside West Ham striker Michail Antonio. Both help to rate tracks written by the contestants, which have been inspired by sport.
We caught up with Big Zuu to talk about the relationship between rap and sport. Along the way, we found out which rapper is best at Fifa and what kind of food he would like to cook for the Liverpool squad.
Here are the big takeaways…
‘I like their energy, the way they step and spit up in your face!’ Oakzy B and Saidu impressed him in The Rap Game
Big Zuu told us that he was blown away by the calibre of all the artists he saw perform live on The Rap Game.
“Seeing all these young people step up, with the cameras around them and Michail Antonio’s there watching – they deal with the pressure so well,” he told us.
We wanted to know who most impressed him out of this year’s current crop of young rappers.
“Oakzy B had me emotional bro,” Big Zuu explained, “he was spitting about his unborn kid.”
He also went on to say that he liked Saidu too: “Them two impressed me the most – I like their energy, the way they step and spit in your face,” Big Zuu said.
‘Back in the day, you had John Barnes rapping and it was actually terrible’ – rap music about football is getting better
Big Zuu told us that he thinks rap and sport are coming together more and more.
“You see UK artists on the NBA2K soundtrack now, you’re seeing more and more artists on Fifa and boxers walking out to rap music,” he observed.
For him, we’ve moved away from the era of novelty rap music around sport.
“Back in the day, you had John Barnes rapping on World in Motion and it was actually terrible,” Big Zuu claimed, going on to say, “Now, you’ve got actual rappers doing their thing.”
He recently helped Krept and Konan write a song for England at the Euros.
It does seem that if one wants to be a credible UK rapper these days, one has to pen some clever lyrics about football.
Dave and AJ Tracey have made a career out of rapping about different players, but rappers like Yungen, Wretch 32 and Big Zuu himself have all turned to football for inspiration too.
In his track, Blatant Truth, Big Zuu has a line, “Run ’em in the field like Kimmich, old school, man ah clap man like Vidic.”
Joshua Kimmich may not be the most obvious reference point for a UK rapper. We wondered why Big Zuu rapped about him.
“It just rhymed bro!” he told us, quite candidly, going on to explain, “I had a line about Quidditch and I was thinking, ‘what rhymes with this?’ Then Kimmich came into my head.”
Big Zuu expanded that he was playing a lot of Fifa at the time and Kimmich was, “banging it,” for him.
‘AJ Tracey’s not that good at Fifa’
On the subject of Fifa, we wanted to know how good he was at the game.
“I’m disgusting,” Big Zuu claimed, by which we assume he meant that he was very accomplished.
When we asked him who was the best rapper he has competed against on the game, his answer was unequivocal.
“Avelino is so good! I hate him because he passes sideways, but he’s tekky,” Big Zuu told us.
Controversially, he also claimed that his cousin, rapper and Tottenham Hotspur fan AJ Tracey, is not so tekky.
“He thinks he’s good, but every time we play, I beat him,” Big Zuu told us.’
‘I remember the first time I got played in the Match of The Day montage – that’s the sickest feeling’
Unlike his cousin, AJ Tracey, Big Zuu is a massive Liverpool fan. He told us that he inherited that from his father.
He has written two freestyle raps on Liverpool for BBC Sport previously. He spoke to us a little about how much this meant to him.
“I remember when they used my song in the Match of The Day montage – that’s the sickest feeling,” Big Zuu told us.
Off the back of that track, Big Zuu even got to meet the team.
“That was a dream man,” he said.
We wanted to know if there was anything else on his bucket list.
“I’d like to cook for the Liverpool team,” he told us, “That would be lit!”
Big Zuu has his own cooking show, Big Zuu’s Big Eats, where he serves dishes for comedians. He also released a cookbook in June.
What kind of spread he would lay on for the Liverpool team?
“A lot of African food,” he told us, “Bare jollof rice.”
Watch The Rap Game UK on iPlayer now.