Hull's blind rapper Lawrence 'Dragg' Sibanda is a YouTube inspiration
HE WAS misdiagnosed with malaria, which resulted in partial hearing loss and left him blind in both eyes.
Now, Hull performer Lawrence Sibanda is storming the hip hop scene after his mix tapes became internet hits.
Lawrence, who has taken on the stage name Dragg, moved to Hull from Johannesburg in South Africa six years ago.
While still in his home town, he was struck down by a serious illness, which was mistaken for malaria due to similar symptoms.
This Friday Mexican night at The Black Bull, Burton Pidsea, Two...View details
Indulge with our delicious range of specially selected Mexican dishes available from 5pm to 8:30pm this Friday 21st June. Traditional evening menu also available.
Terms: Terms: Friday the 21st June only, from 5pm to 8:30pm. Offer includes two main Mexican courses. Minimum 2 people dining.
Contact: 01964 770402
Valid until: Saturday, June 22 2013
The wrong medication was prescribed and when doctors discovered he had meningitis, it was too late.
"It was a life-changing situation," he said. "Not only was I in a new country but I had to adapt without my sight.
"I followed my family over to Hull and I just had to be strong and stay positive."
The north Hull lad, 19, texts his friends and uses Facebook like most teenagers, despite being blind in both eyes.
Lawrence said: "I've done pretty well learning how to use talking software, which tells me what's on the screen.
"I began writing rap music when I was 12 and started promoting it on the internet using various music sites.
"My YouTube videos have now had about half a million hits and my latest mixtape has really taken off."
Lawrence says he is inspired by both modern rappers such as The Game and old school artists like the Wu-Tang Clan, who were at the height of fame in the 1990s.
"As an artist, my dream is to secure a record deal and become one of the county's best rappers," Lawrence said.
"But I also like writing for other people. Working with the likes of Rihanna and big stars would be amazing."
The teenager has already self-funded trips to London to spend time in the studio and has worked with producers and artists in the US who are linked to the likes of 50 Cent.
Lawrence says he writes about people who inspire him and everyday events as well as being imaginative.
He has performed at a number of local events including Freedom Festival, as well as supporting Black History Month.
Lawrence is studying a diploma in music at Hull College and plans to continues to write for other artists.
"People don't always know online that I have any disabilities and they just hear my voice," he said.
"I don't think they should see it as a disadvantage, anyone who has lost their sight or hearing should just push on.
"You just need to be focused, have a vision and work hard to achieve what you want out of life."
Visit Lawrence's Retwedia pageto listen to his music.