“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, 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 after producing and featuring on his friend's single "How Many MC's", which spent 3 consecutive weeks on YFM's Hot 99 chart, along with another single "Trouble", which also managed to top 5FM's Power Night's chart. Shortly after, ZULO signed to rapper Blayze's record label Blayze Entertainment and released his star-studded single "Red, Black & White". He 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 and Jamali's Mariechan, and has made appearances on MTV Base's cyphers, Channel O, BET Africa, VUZU and SABC 1, 2 and 3.
ZULO released his self-titled debut EP in 2017 along with the single "Fun", with its self-directed and edited music video shot entirely with an iPhone, which saw the rapper dressed up as a clown at a kid's birthday party. The 2019 follow-up project titled Don't Take Me for a P! saw a complete departure from ZULO's signature sound and contained almost entirely singing, highlighting his journey through an emotional break-up.
Using his favourite film franchise Star Wars as a façade, ZULO bases his logo type on the original 1977 movie's logo, as well as further sporting a "Padawan braid" symbolizing his desire to continue learning the in-and-outs of the industry.
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 continue to evolve as a creative while investing in his craft, eager to globalize his musical palette.