Hood Illustrated

Hip Hop Isn't Dead... It Lives In The HOOD

Lawrence Sean Sibanda was born in Johannesburg in 1993 to Zimbabwean immigrants and raised in the heart of the City of Gold. While his parents migrated to England, Dragg returned to Zimbabwe during his teens and he quickly came to realise that Bulawayo and Johannesburg were culturally, linguistically and musically very interwoven.

Following a diagnosis with a severe case of meningitis at 12, Dragg’s eyesight and hearing deteriorated, later rendering him completely blind. Not letting his health complications become a hindrance, he set out to accomplish another vision with his remarkable ability to rhyme. Dragg delivers cleverly constructed wordplay with lyrical substance, as he narrates and brings to life tales surrounding his upbringing and environment.

Dragg joined his mother in the UK and practised his craft whilst finishing school. At 16, a collaboration with platinum producer OD Hunte on his first single “What You Need” caught the eye of BBC Look North and resulted in his first TV coverage. OD Hunte and Dragg continued to work together, gaining synchs for “True Champ” (Gillette World Sport, Coronation Street).

In 2011 Dragg met his writing & production partner GTBeats, and after working on several projects as a duo, they teamed up to provide their services to other artists. In South Africa, the duo produced King98’s single “Wacko” (featuring Def Jam artist Nasty C), which received heavy rotation in South Africa. They also co-produced “Sukuma” by DJ Jawz ft Aubrey Qwana and Balinde, which went on to chart in the top 10 on Metro FM. The team are currently working on Da L.E.S’ upcoming album, singles for DJ Speedsta, Buffalo Souljah (Channel O award winner) and Jamaican dancehall legend Beanieman.

In the UK, Dragg and GTBeats have worked with one of the most prominent female voices in Hip Hop and MOBO Award winner Lady Leshur on her single “Let The Beat Breathe.” Paigey Cakey, known for her role in popular British Soap Waterloo Road and her hits with Stormzy and Geko, enlisted the team to work on her single “Too Nice.”

Dragg has shared a stage with the likes of The Game, JLS, Wretch 32, Tim Westwood, DJ Ace and DJ Edu (the voice of Africa on BBC Radio 1xtra and known for his “Destination Africa” show). With his first release in five years, he now breaks out of his successful ghost-writing career to focus on his music with the release of his EP, L.I.T on 21 August.

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