"It is a rare discovery to find one who is so calculated with the art."—HYPE Magazine, The Freshman Edition 2017.
Through his extensive attention to fine detail and sonic versatility, rapper and music producer ZULO has since solidified his position as one of the most autonomous artists in South Africa.
Born Zunaid Lombard on September 9, 1994 and raised in the south of Johannesburg, ZULO has tampered with film making, video game design, graphic design, poetry and music at the early age of 11. Through mentor-ship from his older cousin, he began recording music under the alias Lil Trix using a Nintendo Wii microphone and later developed skills in areas he lacked as an artist including production, using an old kids keyboard his younger sister nearly got rid of, and directing and editing his own music videos. He would later craft his own website and album cover arts, which are frequently graced with his cartoon bunny mascot Tricky, the Bunny, often depicted in different poses. ZULO recorded 8 mixtapes in high school, all in which he entirely produced, mixed and packaged, and were sold solely to his peers.
The DIY rapper gained recognition in 2011 at age 16 after topping YFM's Hot 99 chart for 3 consecutive weeks with his friend, and scored another number 1 on 5FM's Power Nights chart months later. Shortly after, ZULO signed to rapper Blayze's record label Blayze Entertainment and released his star-studded single "Red, Black & White".
ZULO was a finalist on ShizNiz's King of the Mixtape competition and was named one of HYPE Magazine's Freshmen in 2017. He was also recognized as one of the 25 up-and-coming rappers under 25 you need to stop sleeping on by OkayAfrica. ZULO has since collaborated with popular acts including Slikour, Rouge, Priddy Ugly, Gigi LaMayne, Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu and Jamali's Mariechan.
Known for being vastly hands-on, ZULO's style is considered very flexible and experimental, from moody raps infused with old school drum breaks on his now eponymous debut EP in 2017, to the afro-pop influenced 2019 follow-up Don't Take Me for a P!, which saw a complete departure from his signature sound and contained almost entirely singing, highlighting his journey through an emotional break-up.
While each project adopts a unique sound, ZULO's sonic spectrum is typically described as synth-heavy with a fusion of boom bap and modern trap, while generally making use of distortion coupled with melodic raps and occasional singing, regularly making use of teams of vocalists to enhance the musical experience. ZULO's content is predominantly personal and uplifting, littered with South African coloured slang, humour and pop-culture references, while frequently addressing heartbreak.
In 2020, the prolific rapper would abandon the stage name of 14 years Lil Trix and adopt the new persona ZULO, extracting the first 2 letters of both his name and surname, and continues to evolve as a creative while investing in his craft, eager to globalize his musical palette.