BIG ZA is a big personality who is slowly taking over. Her energy will make you take notice, and her bars will keep you interested in what she’ll say next. This week, I had the opportunity to chat with BIG ZA about her leadership skills, how she views herself as a creative, how she’s amassed a HUGE catalog in a year’s time, and what she has up her sleeve for the future. Tap in and find out what all the buzz is about.
BIG ZA, Not the Lil’ One
BIG ZA: OMG! One, I am so excited about this interview! This is my very first one. THANK YOU for this opportunity. My name is BIG ZA, not the little one. I have always been a BIG personality. I was born and raised in New York City, and am the oldest of all my siblings, so I’m naturally THE BOSS.
I’ve always loved music. When I was younger, I used to create a lot of jingles and songs, just putting words together. I’ve always had music in me and a love for R&B. I grew up listening to anything from Anita Baker, Mary J Blige, and Lil Kim. Everyone in my family can sing, and I initially thought I would pursue a singing career. NOPE! I want to be like Lil Kim.
I started taking rapping more seriously around 2020 when I met my best friend. He is a rapper that introduced me to the studio. I wrote my first rap verse in less than 15 minutes on the spot, recorded it, and fell in love with my voice and cadence. Rapping makes me feel so confident and sexy. I LOVE IT!
BIG ZA: Yes, I’m the oldest of six brothers and one sister. May my brother Barry rest in peace. I’ve always felt like responsibility has always been instilled in me. Even before my siblings were born, I took initiative over the other kids around me. The BIG BOSS MOVES are applied to me now as an artist because I always see MY VISION and stick with it. As a Virgo (yes, I’m one of those people), I strive for perfection and for things to make sense logically. I’m a natural problem solver and move on my own time.
BIG ZA: Yes, I’m Mrs. Jackofalltrades. My first love has always been fashion, but I spell it with two I’s (e.g.: Fashiion). It just looks better to me. I love it so much that I got the word tatted on me when I was 16. Other talents include a freelance makeup artist and hairstylist, and I draw and decorate for events. I have always been good with my hands and expressing myself artistically. In addition to rap, I also sing. Maybe you’ll get some “oohs and aahs” from me one day.
BIG Release Strategy
BIG ZA: Yes. I started rapping in 2020 but didn’t release any of my music until this year. As an artist amongst my peers, I’ve noticed they hold back on releasing back-to-back. I figure that congesting people with my music will penetrate their minds more, especially if the music is good, fun, and authentic.
Not letting up on peoples’ necks is what I do. I don’t know what it is, but one thing I’m going to do is prove people wrong all the time. That is something that drives me in a way. I have doubters, from strangers to friends and family, so I assure myself if this is what I want to do, I’ll prove them wrong every time.
Plus, I’m sitting on a lot of songs. I can write all day. My strategy of releasing music is just a feeling based on what feels right at the time or what I know the ladies need right now. That’s who I make music for, women like me, and I know what I like to hear.
BIG ZA Breaks Down “VIRGOAT”
BIG ZA: We have so many greats, ie: Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Kobe, BIG ZA, the list goes on and on. Yes, I am a Virgo, and we succeed in being the best. It’s in us, not on us. Shoutout to all my Virgos. “VIRGOAT” exudes greatness. I put my best foot forward in each song I picked.
The order of the songs is always important to me when releasing a project. You want to make sure it makes sense and sounds good more than anything. The first song, “G.B.B,” is my absolute baby and one of my favorites. That song has been with me from the very beginning. It’s the first song that was all me, with no features, three verses, and straight bars. “G.B.B.” is also the first song I made a music video for. I am super proud of this record, and my favorite part is that men love this song equally, too.
The second song, “BAGZ,” is my first clean song. It’s a fun and catchy song that makes me feel like that 14-year-old girl who started her love for bars. I love that record. It’s so cute.
The third track, “Haterz,” is my first feature presented on the album with the sensational I’sh Bars. She’s amazing. I’ve known her since I was 16, and all I remember is us singing and free-styling in the hallway vibing. That’s my girl. That record is just me talking my shit. I love it.
“Eat Up” is me being my authentic New Yorkian self. I feel like, as a female, the term “SMD” is very distasteful, so I would rather tell someone to EAT UP instead. It just makes more sense. I have a vagina.
“The Blueprint” is a freestyle that is also so New York to me. It’s that old-school rap beat that I adore the most. My favorite era of hip hop is in the 90s and early 2000s. Jay Z is a big staple to New York sound for me, and I just wanted to conquer this beat to the best of my ability.
This 6th record is my all-time favorite on the whole album. “Thought It Was You” is a feature with MJ. I’m so grateful for her because I offered this track to three people before her. One thing about me is I work fast. If I ask you to hop on this and you play or take your time, I move on. I sent it to her, and she instantly sent it back to me and advanced the hook which I loved from the moment I heard it. This song is different, I’m tapping into my emotions, and it shows a vulnerable side of BIG ZA. Diversity is a big thing.
“No Barz Freestyle” is a hate-and-love thing. My best friend talked and begged me to do this freestyle. He was just like, “Za, I hear you on this. Please trust me.” For weeks, I avoided it until one day, I just vibed off the beat and took off. I was only supposed to do one verse but ended up riding the beat out.
“Freaky B” is a fun song. It’s all about being this sexually liberated woman playfully speaking on her fetishes. “You can come anywhere, but don’t cum in my eye.” That was pure jokes, but real shit.
The last track, “Queen Bitch” is a homage to Lil Kim and all the great female MC’s before me. Lil Kim is the first female MC who inspired me. I remember being five or six and knowing all her raps and choreography in her music videos. I was just like, I want to be like that when I’m older, real classy, but sexy and hella rich.
The album is overly me, showing my listeners the versatility of me. I can do clean, raunchy, gangster, and vulnerable music. I’m the greatest of all time! I do it all.
BIG ZA: The greatest lesson I’ve learned is…this shit is not easy. I am doing everything. I’m my PR, listening board, funder, stylist, and writer. You name it. I have great support from my family and friends, which I appreciate. Being independent also has its advantages. You get full control of your projects, which I love.
My biggest challenge is giving someone control of my choices. It will never sit right with me. Never! I do take advantage of the complete control that I have over my career right now.
Greatness, Collabs, and Future Plans
BIG ZA: Your perseverance is what I believe makes you a great artist. Being unapologetically you, being a person of substance and consistency, and being relatable on all levels so you can relate to your listeners makes you great. Without your listeners and fans, you are nothing. Perfecting your crafts as time passes and showing the different elements you bring as an artist is also important.
BIG ZA: My dream collaboration would definitely be Lil Kim or Remy Ma. We would have to put on for New York for real. Both of these ladies’ aesthetics are relatable to me, so it would be very comfortable for me to work with them. The sound of the record would be tapping in with each of these ladies’ prime. I love the 90s Kim sound, that authentic, raw, sexy sound. With Remy, she just has an aggressive cadence and is a gangster with it. Straight bars. These ladies will also challenge me to do my best in the booth. It would be a whole life-changing experience for me, to be honest, just for what both of these women did for hip-hop.
BIG ZA: I see myself living my best life next year, whether that’s the success of my music or finding peace and happiness finally for myself. My life can be hectic. I’m currently working on releasing a single in the next month or so. This single has a very catchy hook that I can’t wait for you guys to hear. It features my best friend Bizzy, so be on the lookout for that.
I also have a mixtape in the works. Its focal point is that there’s more to BIG ZA than her raunchy and explicit lyrics. I’m taking some of my favorite explicit records and freestyling to the instrumentals. I’m coming different on each one, and I’m excited about that. Make sure y’all check out my current babies, the EP “Queen Succubus” and album “VIRGOAT” for the time being. Remember, it’s BIG ZA, NOT THE LIL ONE!