Back in 2016, ‘Kaleidoscope’ secured West London rapper Big Zuu’s place on the grime scene. His mastery, often controlled through a captivating voice and exploding wordplay, has since cultivated a phenomenal discography, and added new definition to his name. Now, ‘Navigate’ instigates an interesting position for the MC – placing him on a new, personal level while unsettling the balance between himself and other UK artists.
Listening to the album on a surface level, ‘Navigate’ is only under forty minutes long. Yet, beneath the surface its origin can be found throughout the 26-year-olds life. Speaking on this Big Zuu commented that “I’ve put almost three years into 'Navigate' but it comes with all the hard work I’ve done throughout my life in loving music. I’ve done EPs, I’ve done mixtapes, I’ve done projects but this is my first album”.
Big Zuu doesn’t shy away from fully utilising the new platform that ‘Navigate’ offers. The album showcases an impressive feature list – AJ Tracey, Mae Muller, Kojey Radical, JME, Novelist, Unknown T and more. Collectively, their smooth cohesion provides the album with a notable weight. Their influence is also sure to set each track in circulation for the foreseeable future. When discussing the first-class content on the album Big Zuu explained that “this is me having fun with music and doing what makes me happy. I think you’ll be surprised with the content on there, the selection of beats, the variation of music, the producers went absolutely crazy. Joker who mixed and mastered it is a wizard.”
Empowering, positive messages are filtered through the 12-tracks of the album as Big Zuu’s fierce flow navigates listeners from ‘Navigate’ through to ‘Concrete Rose’. Crucial reminders underline ‘Concrete Rose’ featuring Kojey Radical, which insulate the final track as well as instigating a provocative sting to the entire album. The single manifests the notion that bad circumstances are always subject to change into positive directions - because “life ain’t set in stone”. Cohesively, the tracks mirror Big Zuu’s own navigation throughout the industry and its effects. This unique approach to Grime is a quality reminiscent of the wildly supported ‘Kaleidoscope’.
Recent years have demonstrated that Big Zuu’s talents are not limited to the music world. His new ventures have added dimensions to his public image – a culinary wizard, a presenter, and a rapper. Each element, such as receiving a TV BAFTA nomination for his debut series Big Zuu’s Big Eats, have added momentum to his launch into success.
‘Navigate’ hosts a variation of messages which ease mental restrictions and inspire listeners to gain control of the wheels that direct their lives. All the while, the album remains in line with Big Zuu’s grime-rooted word-play and his own humility.
Words: Amelia Kelly
- - -
- - -