Nkabi rap originator Siyabonga “Big Zulu” Nene recently hit the shores of Port Elizabeth as part of a national tour to promote his latest single, Donsa Nkabi (let’s go work) which features Zulu rap heavyweights Zakwe and Mzulu.
The single, initially released earlier this year, on Itunes, is Nene’s first major offering since signing up with Universal Music late last year.
“I am here on a national radio tour to promote my latest single,” Nene said.
“I decided to make Port Elizabeth my first stop because the support I’ve been receiving here [in Eastern Cape] has been great. Umhlobo Wenene for instance is one of the first radio stations to have played my single.” Nene said.
He said the response from fans had been positive and assuring.
The tour marks his second appearance in PE as he also featured on stage at the Nelson Mandela Bay Music Festival.
Born in the small town of Bergville in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Nene has been active in music since 2008, drawing his inspiration from Maskhandi music.
He got his big break last year after catching the ear of Ntokozo Sithole, who is personal trainer to Universal Music affiliate Demor Sikhosana, while performing at Kwesta’s three-day birthday festival.
Sithole managed to lay his hands on some of Nene’s music and played it to Sikhosana, who was so impressed that he offered him a deal.
Nene has performed on some of African hip-hop music’s biggest platforms, such as Back to the City and the South African Hip- Hop Awards, where he delivered the opening performance.
His move to the predominantly Sotho speaking Vaal gained him his stage moniker.
Nene describes his brand of music as Nkabi rap with the word Nkabi being a reference to the name given to hit-men in the taxi industry.
He says that musically he demonstrated the tenacity of a hit-man when reaching for his target market.
This “hit-man-esque” approach is also evident in his stint as a battle rapper on the Yfm radio show Mulo’s Uncut, where he has won a string of rap battles.
Nene said they were planning to shoot the video for the single this month after which the tour would resume in KwaZulu Natal.