The British-born, New Zealand-raised rapper of Nigerian descent, formally known as Hugh Ozumba and through his music has inherited Unchained XL, experienced a difficult time making sense of his complicated identities growing up.
The multi-talented musician took piano lessons as a kid, followed by a stint in a rock band before venturing into a genre of hip-hop that both tapped into his heritage and “confronted the confusion” he was feeling according to Okay Africa.
The name Unchained XL combines his love for the movie Django Unchained as well as the continuous affirmations he received growing up, being told that he’d excel at whatever he puts his mind to. Also, at 6’4″ and 115 kilos he’s a pretty big guy.
His new EP #The Migrant Mind is a poignant piece of protest art packed with profound messages meant to provoke critical thought.
The African community in New Zealand is relatively young, having only started to trickle in during the 70s whilst the Nigerian community in particular, established a presence from the mid-80s onwards.
“It was difficult for me to establish my Nigerian identity.” says Ozumba. in an exclusive interview with Okay Africa “Growing up I found it very difficult to fit in because I didn’t know where I was, even when my family would take our periodic trips back home to Nigeria. I wouldn’t fit in there for obvious reasons.
“The rapper goes on to speak about how the single My Only Home, has resonated with the migrants that are in New Zealand. “When I start to see and hear stories of people resonating, especially migrants, African migrants, that’s really something.” He continues, saying, “When I start hearing people saying that a song really spoke to them or that it put their feelings in a way that they couldn’t vocalize themselves previously, that’s success for me”.
By Ziyanda Yono
Original Source: Okay Africa