Man like West London MC, Big Zuu has come with a bold claim in the title of his new 10 track mixtape, ‘Content With Content’, and has absolutely delivered on it.
Taking aim at both those who rap about doing road and glamorise this choice, as though guaranteed success can be had from it, as well as broader issues such as institutional racism, poverty and violence, Big Zuu has also utilised some quality production for this project, with plenty of variation to match the tone and topic of each riddim.
The intro (Tension) is characterised by a rich, full vocal synth melody, sub bass, and lots of light computer synths floating over the top. With fully patterned, but light drums, Zuu comes hard with it, in his signature aggy flow, explaining he ain’t got time for the wastemen, he’s on his way to the bag, and his fam is his only motivation.
Track 2 ‘Don’t Brag’ comes with off kilter bass synth stabs and a light piano melody, Zuu both sings the wavey hook, and comes with that OG Grime shelling, letting man know he ain’t scared, because the mandem ain’t really bad like they claim, he’s coming for the bag either way, and they need to stop hating because his uniqueness pitched him further ahead than them man, telling them they all sound the same.
Track 3 ‘Fall Off’ Feat. JME, follows a similar style and pace., etc. With deep bass stabs, a light piano synth melody, and classic rolling hihats, Big Zuu comes in with a half sung hook, sharing that the snakes are always hating on his success, because he’s elevating, still. The main bars from both MCs point to the fakes in the industry claiming road, but with nothing to show for it. Some excellent tenets and wordplay, still. A Vibe for real.
Track 4 ‘B.I.G.’ has a slightly different style, with string synth melodies and a low low horn stabs for the bass, but the main interest is all in the drum patterns this time, which change up for the hook completely, and produce an almost rousing call to arms atmosphere, which makes you wanna go hard yourself. The bars are all about Big Zuu going as hard and as ‘B.I.G.’ as he can. A percy 100.
Track 5 ‘Elevation’ Feat. P Money, is far and away the most interesting track of the project, in both production style and vocal exploration. Built with a pulsing string synth sub bass, and a variety of lighter synths panned and floating in and out, shakers and percussive patterns, Zuu puts such a wavey melody into his flow, and I can honestly say, I never heard anything like it before. The hook ‘see me do music, can’t execute/and we do music that they can’t replicate’ replicates the title’s bold claim, and is a righteous one at that. P Money takes the closing bars to emulate the theme of being the cream of the crop, in his characteristic flawless delivery, and technically outstanding bars.
Track 6 ‘Vision’ is also outstanding in terms of production. Built from only vocal synths, a simple kick/snare pattern and continuous hi hats, your attention is captured immediately, as it isn’t like anything else you heard yet. In this riddim, Zuu addresses the fakes in the industry, telling a next man that he ain’t nuttin but a pill popping waster, he ain’t really doing road, he’s just trying to look like he’s on top, still, the half sung hook ‘Cah I’m tryna get a yard with a view/I ain’t tryna be part of a crew/Feels like I’m the last of the truth/From pirate now man are after the loot’ captures the sentiment perfectly.
Track 7 ‘Mine and Yours’ is a riddim for the gyaldem. Constructed with a funky, low bassline, fully patterned drums and varying synths, including both a vocal one, and a melody built from a synth that sounds like its battling interference, Zuu half sings this one. He sings it to a particular gyal, and we learn this gyal was a real one, who saw something she misunderstood. Zuu spends the track promising she’s the only one he wants, and he ain’t going nowhere, still. A wave.
Track 8 ‘No Breaks’ kicks off with a pitch bent, piano like synth melody, later patterned drums and a low bassline come in, along with secondary bass stabs, and varying synth accents. The riddim has a slightly calmer feel to it, but Zuu spits hard as he shares he ain’t being held back by institutional racism, he ain’t asking for any help, but he’s gonna make it still. A wavey track.
Track 9 ‘I Know’ Feat. Craig David follows a similar theme in production and topic. Using pitch bent guitar synths for the melody, light patterned drums and a lower synth bassline, Craig sings the hook, and Zuu spits to the yout that it don’t matter how rough a start you had, how much shit you seen, you can make it still. He tells them not to listen to the roadmen or society, and to follow their dreams and work hard for it. A solid message.
Track 10 ‘Outro (Change Things) closes the project with a simple muted synth bass, light patterned drums, and some haunting piano accents. Big Zuu spits this one for all the yout suffering at the hand of institutional racism, and tries to raise them up. He shares that blame and anger will ensure things never change, but that you can turn that pain and suffering into success, if you come at it from a positive standpoint. A well timed message, and a wavey outro.
This project is actually sick, the bold claim of the title is fit to be stamped all over the music scene, Content With Content, indeed! Bless up Big Zuu, a real bredda, through and through.