Wilfried Zaha may be good with his feet in the Premier League, but his skills don’t extend to his music.
The Crystal Palace flyer is a lifelong hip-hop fan. And as a boy he tried emulating his heroes such as Eminem.
But in an exclusive video interview with Dressing Room DJ, Zaha admitted that he soon had to give up his own rapping. “I was mainly into hip-hop when I was growing up,” said the Ivory Coast international. “That was what I loved the most. It was the beats and the different ways they used to rap. The way Eminem could rap without breathing, literally, that used to fascinate me.”
As a kid growing up in Thornton Heath near Palace’s Selhurst Park ground, Zaha tried copying Slim Shady. But he admitted: “There’s no way of keeping up with how fast Eminem used to rap, but I used to try now and then. I could never rap. I attempted to, but I thought: ‘No, this ain’t for me’. I just left the artists to it.”
Zaha is such a hip-hop and grime lover that he’s friends with several UK musicians including Yungen, who name-checked Zaha in the lyrics of his song Versace in a verse written during Zaha’s spell at Manchester United. Yungen raps: “In a hotel in Manny, might holler at Zaha to come get some nanni.”
And Zaha, one of eight children, revealed his elder brothers were responsible for his induction into hip-hop. He explained: “I listened to old-school songs like Tupac most of the time, because my brothers listened to him. They played 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Snoop, Dr Dre… there were so many different vibes. There were artists from Ivory Coast too, but I didn’t know their names.
“The first single I bought was probably Tupac’s Changes.”