Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yas: Iranian Hip-Hop


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 hardly being able to make ends meet, 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.

After the Bam earthquake in Iran, YAS was devastated at the number of lives lost (nearly 50,000 people) in the disaster, it was then, that he wrote his first song "Bam". This was the beginning of his singing career. He realized that through rap music he had the ability to reach people by telling full stories that he thought was not easy to do through other forms of music which only consisted of a few versus and a chorus. Realizing that through his music, he had the ability to inspire people and reach millions of other young people in Iran, he decided to present his songs to the government and request a permission to release an album. Many years of hearing "NO!" from the officials, and being ridiculed countless times for his singing style (rap) resembling that of "reading a newspaper", his efforts, finally paid off. To date, in an unprecedented move, six of his ten songs have been granted permission to be released, and soon, YAS will be the first rapper in Iran to legally release an album. "I don't use fowl language in my music or sing about sex and violence. I want to be able to proudly sing my music in front of my family. My music usually begins with a complaint -- but it ends with hope. It's important to inspire the younger generations to be their best potential." Indeed, in a short amount of time, YAS went from singing in front of small groups to now being one of Iran's most popular rap artists. His music is now being listened to and downloaded by hundreds of thousands across the world through various websites and Persian blogs.

YAS' latest song, "Hoviate Man" (My Identity) sings of his pride in his Persian heritage and a mention of the controversial movie "300". The song has become sort of a national anthem for the younger generations especially the Iranian Diaspora that are eager to connect to their rich culture and history. His music has set a new standard for Persian rap and has inspired many up and coming rappers to follow his lead and sing of more meaningful and positive messages in their own music and when he is not recording himself, you will find him collaborating with other musicians to help "introduce Persian rap to the world".

YAS is currently in the studio finishing his latest highly anticipated album -- covering social topics as he takes the listener through a journey of his personal life. His proudest moment was being able to enroll his triplet sisters (all honor students) through college -- a privilege he wasn't able to fulfill for himself.

[Source: Musician's MySpace Artist Page]

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