Political Asylee. Opportunity. Perseverance. Drive. All of the above apply to Tafadzwa Gumbo, better known as Zulu Faz. The son of a pancreatic cancer survivor and a PhD who fled his country in search of knowledge and opportunity, Faz personifies determination.
Born in Zimbabwe, Zulu Faz moved to Worcester Massachusetts in elementary school. Fighting common stereotypes of being from Africa, classmates at school would ask him if he had lions running around in his backyard. Overstanding the ignorance, Faz found his creative outlet early in art creating graphics for him and his brother Kevin’s fledgling label Folcal Point Entertainment. Creating a niche in the city among hip-hop listeners, Faz and his brother began churning out mixtapes with local talent over their original beats. Selling beats here and there around Worcester was a start but they had aspirations to move to Atlanta and make a name for themselves. Moving to Atlanta in 2007, Faz got an internship at Stankonia Studios where his brother Kevin was working as a sound engineer.
Faz worked day and night at Stankonia he observed the recording of Big Boi’s solo album and continued to work at their own home producing for other area artists. Bad fortune would strike Faz when his apartment would burn down due to faulty wiring in the complex. All of the equipment that Faz and his brother used and recorded on was lost in the fire. They lived in a motel for a week. Within a year, Faz worked and saved up enough to regain all his equipment to get back to work. In the midst of change, Faz started to freestyle and write verses. The first song he wrote was “Chasing Dreams”. Admittedly he thought most of the songs were of poor quality, Faz took an athletic approach into improving his musical quality. Armed with a regimen of practice, Faz committed himself to iterating the process of how to write thorough, thought provoking songs. The result of the process was his debut mixtape, DJ Burn One & Zulu Faz Present: Rhode Scholar Vol. 1. Named after the prestigious scholarship awarded to exceptional academia, Faz embodies the spirit of a scholar studying and staying true to the DNA of hip hop music.