Words by Ryan Moss
Big Zuu made his name as part of the radio boom of 2016, where he and various other MCs took over the internet airwaves. Back then, his flow was raucous. His wrecking ball flow took apart instrumentals, earning plenty of reloads in the process. As he’s settled into crafting a discography, Zuu has sharpened his bow. The wrecking ball flow is still a key feature, but it sits alongside melody, and he pulls the trigger when needed. It gives his tracks a peak and trough, and when he goes full force, ears are forced to take notice.
There’s been an injection of the political into his artistry, too. Weaved in alongside clever punchlines, Zuu’s previous work – mix tapes, EP’s and freestyles – have carried an acute analysis of the state of Britain in recent years. ‘We Will Walk’ embraces this aspect fully, avoiding hamminess by going for the lived in approach.
The highlight of the EP is ‘The Struggle’, in which Zuu notes the way systems can trap people from an early age, pointing out the fact that a tough home life, a lack of options and no guidance in the world of education can ultimately lead to poor choices. Treating the powers that be like an opponent in a clash, he deftly highlights the inequalities in various systems and critiques them with an insight that can only come with first hand experience. There are shades of optimism among the vitriol, too. Zuu puts forth the idea that teachers can be the ones to inspire young people to defy societal expectations, and argues that by transcending what is expected of them, peers can uplift each other and clap back against stereotypes put on them from an early age.
Title track ‘We Will Walk’ features SOULS, who crafts a plush instrumental with a rolling percussion line. Here, Zuu contemplates getting further in life, acknowledging how tough it can be living on an estate. He laments the view that the ends is simply full of aggression, also giving thanks for simply being alive. At times, you can hear the strain in his sung vocal, but it’s the result of an artist pushing his own boundaries. ‘We Will Walk’ is an empowerment anthem, positive and uplifting, but executed in a way that isn’t corny.
Overall, ‘We Will Walk’ is another solid entry from Zuu. The EP is a testament to his progression over the years, and shows an artist willing to expand the parameters of grime. The delivery is quick tongued and direct, but the instrumentals match the subject matter. When Zuu slows down his flow, the music tends to plod on a little, but don’t let that take away from a bright record from a young spitter with his head firmly screwed on.
Stream ‘We Will Walk’ here