The Persian diaspora has had a global cultural impact.
A community with immense historical roots, those diasporic connections remain strong, bonds that traverse oceans and continents.
New Zealand based rapper CHAII draws on her Persian heritage, blending it with an awareness of club tropes, hip-hop culture, and stellar production.
Her incoming three track EP is an emphatically personal statement, with each song accompanied by a video directed by CHAII herself.
The backdrop to the EP is the legacy of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, and the scattering of progressive voices - musicians, actors and artists - as a result.
Many found their way to California, and the state remains the biggest Persian music community outside of Iran over forty years later.
We're able to share the video for 'Lightswitch', and it finds CHAII immersing herself in this community for a guerrilla style shoot.
“I feel a strong connection to it as I’m from the new generation of Iranian immigrants that are doing music outside of Iran. When I initially travelled to Los Angeles to visit family I felt like I was in the perfect blend of Western and Persian cultural influences. Coming from New Zealand, where there’s a very small Persian community that you barely see or hear from, it was a total shock.”
“For the ‘Lightswitch’ trilogy I just had to go to California to film the videos because of the strong connection musically and culturally I had with the area. My music is a fusion of American hip-hop and Persian music so it was the perfect place with the right mood for this project.”
The perfect primer for this rap artist's resolute creativity, you can watch the addictive video for 'Lightswitch' below.
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