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News18 » Videos » News18 Shorts

Young Iran grooves to Persian rap

Mar 19, 2008 12:08 PM IST India India
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Tehran: One may not associate rap with Iran and may picture New York, Atlanta or Los Angeles as hot spots for the music genre. But surprisingly rap has huge takers in Iran. With its very own rappers Iran seems to be picking up the Persian beat. Just a few years ago rap was unheard of in Iran, but now Persian rap is dominating the underground music scene. And Yas Iranian is considered one of the pioneers. Yas’ rapping routes date back to when he was very young, as he says, "Rap for me started with Tupac he says. My dad at that time used to travel abroad and he used to bring me Tupac to listen to." When Yas was 18 his dad passed away, and he became the sole provider for his mom and four siblings overnight. But it wasn’t easy to be a breadwinner in a country where unemployment is high, especially where the young struggle to plan a future. Yas thought of only one place to turn to. "I didn't have a youth. So all these things that were built up in me, like the frustration — rap was the only outlet I had," he adds. An outlet that continues to grow, as Yas has travelled to London, Dubai and New York performing for crowds of mainly ex-pat Iranians. He mixes Persian pride with personal anecdotes about his struggles growing up. Within Iran he performs at parties almost every week, even though it's illegal for boys and girls to get together and dance. DJ Yas didn't want to be photographed, as he's once been detained overnight for attending a party. "Parties are a main recreation. There's nothing else to do, except driving around in the streets. So parties have become very popular," he says. There are thousands of underground rappers in Iran spreading their music over the Internet, and rapping to each other about the social and economic difficulties of being young in the Islamic republic. Yas truly belives Persian rap is going to be big in the coming years as he says, "Persian rap is very strong, very powerful. Rappers say whatever is in their heart through their music. It has a huge audience and I promise you within a year or two it will become the most popular music in Iran." In a country with a majority under 30 years of age Persian rap is quickly becoming its own cry for change.