Yas – Iranian hip hop

It’s hard to compete with a bio like this.  Despite the fact that hip hop is replete with heart wrenching stories of growth and struggle, gritty determination and oddball success, it’s somehow even more persuasive when it comes from a place like Iran.  Perhaps it’s the stereotype of it being “exotic”, or perhaps it’s because I feel like I understand the North American experience more than I do growing up there.  No matter what, Yas has a story that is bound to tug on you a little bit.

Born In 1982 – Tehran, YAS first began to listen to rap music at the age of 16, when his father would return from his business trips in Germany and bring him the latest Tupac CD and other hip hop music. After the sudden and untimely death of his father, YAS was faced with the responsibility of becoming the primary care taker of his household. With his father’s debts mounting and barely being able to make ends meet to live and feed the family, YAS at the age of 18 was forced to leave his college ambitions behind and begin to work and support his entire family (his mother, younger brother and triplet sisters). It was at this time that he began to write poetry which soon turned into text lyrics for his music. It was also his way of staying close to his father’s memory.

Now it’s a bit tougher to appreciate for the mere fact that it’s not done in English.  But that hasn’t stopped us before and it’s not going to start now.  In fact, Yas doesn’t even speak English, at least not yet.  And sadly, this is one of the few times I’ll openly cite the Huffington Post, because their World Music Corner is actually a decent read.  I mean, it still comes from a fairly liberal viewpoint, but it’s not overtly partisan or anything of the sort.

In fact, HuffPo did a pretty admirable job on the article, though I guess it originally came from Modiba.  It’s interesting how they draw an ancient example, saying that Persian culture has a long history of esteemed poets.  They almost seem to suggest that Persians (or I guess Iranians, in this context) are somehow predisposed to rapping because of this.


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