Outing Iran: Persian Rappers

A reader writes:

I thought you might want to do a post on the Jadugaran ("magicians"), an Iranian rap crew. One of their members, Deev ("devil/bad spirit") is pretty well known individually.  I think his most famous track is "Dasta Balah (Hands in the Air)," which expresses frustration over life in Iran - Islamic rule, unemployment, rampant heroin addiction, etc - and encourages people to get together to question authority. Another track, "Tasavvor," has a really slick looking video. I think that most of the people involved in these projects are now based in California but grew up in Iran. I read somewhere that Deev's website was blocked in Iran, so he's on the radar - inside the country and out.

Another popular Persian rapper is Hichkas, who Jason Jones profiled in his "Behind The Veil" series for The Daily Show. (Check out one of his music videos here.) He was also featured in a BBC Persian piece on underground music in Iran - a country that officially banned Western music in 1979:

Even in Europe I have heard people listening to [Hichkas]. ... Recently, London-based Iranian rapper Reveal went to Iran and the two recorded a track together. ... At first [Persian] rapping was really bad - the Persian language does not really sit well on those beats. But in the last five years, lots of underground bands have started experimenting - they have really funny voices, and they try to copy the African-American style of voice.

What is also exciting is the emergence of female rappers - which will particularly upset Ahmedinajad. Two rappers, Salomi and Mani, have interestingly had their pictures put on the internet - without the hijab. That could be quite dangerous for them. ... I recently spoke to another female rapper, Nazila, who left home in Iran. She is looking for a group to help her write a song about why girls in Iran run away from home, and the violence and unfairness towards women.

Watch a recent interview with Nazila here. Another prominent female rapper, Farinaz, is featured in the clip embedded above. Iranian-American rapper Weapon X recently made a video tribute for the victims of the civil uprising. This viral video by another Iranian-American has 1.1 million views on YouTube. More popular rap videos here, here, here, and here. (Also, in case you missed it on Monday, we posted a Mental Health Break of a rapping Ahmadinejad.) Any other recommendations?

-- CB