Euphoria star Zendaya got her first taste of performing at a young age when she joined the hip-hop dance troupe Future Shock Oak as an eight-year-old, and it’s here where she caught the bug for show business.
While she’s never made hip-hop music, it’s always been a passion, and this is reflected in her favourite albums of all time. Zendaya’s route to superstardom has been an unconventional one, and she’s faced her fair share of setbacks along the way, especially in her music career.
She first gained prominence in the Disney channel’s Shake It Up, which aired in 2010, and this gave Zendaya a chance to make the transition into music, with her first single getting a release the following year. However, unlike many child stars such as Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande, Zendaya didn’t become a superstar from her pop career with her eponymous debut in 2013, not even managing to land within the top 50 of the Billboard 200.
Her experience as a recording artist was a scarring one, and in 2019, the actor made the revelation that she couldn’t foresee herself returning to the area in a hurry. She said on Issa Rae’s podcast, “I stepped away from music on purpose because of bad contracts, to be honest with you.”
Despite her deep resentment for the political side of the industry, Zendaya still turns to music when she needs a pick me up, and she once revealed the albums which have soundtracked her life. Posting on her official website, she wrote: “We all have albums that taught us lessons, channelled our love and heartbreak or had us singing along and dancing…for me, that’s the albums below.”
In the past, she’s even likened herself to Tupac, and unsurprisingly hip-hop is a mainstay on her list. She once said: “I think it’s a responsibility, but like Tupac Shakur, I’m a real model. Which means: I’m not pretending to be something that I’m not, because like he said, people are going to be disappointed when they find out who you are, because it’s not going to be what you presented to the world. So just keep it real. I’m a good kid and that’s all.”
The first record she named is Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and this won’t come as a surprise to her hardcore fans. In 2013, she shared a spellbinding cover of ‘Nothing Even Matters’, which appeared on the classic album. Meanwhile, she also gave props to Jay-Z’s 444, Nas’ Illmatic, Me and My Gang by Rascal Flatts’, as well as Brandy’s Never Say Never.
The final inclusion on her list is every album by Michael Jackson, which is a fitting choice considering that Zendays performed a cover of ‘Leave Me Alone by ‘The King of Pop’ for her audition in Shake It Up, which started everything for her.
Additionally, in 2012, she posted on social media: “Thank you Michael Jackson for inspiring me to do what I truly love to do, thank you for making beautiful music.”
Listen to a playlist of her favourite albums below.
Zendaya’s favourite hip-hop albums
- Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
- Jay-Z – 444
- Nas – Illmatic
- Rascal Flatts – Me and My Gang
- Brandy – Never Say Never
- And every album by Michael Jackson