CHAII is a rising Persian-born, New Zealand emcee and producer. When she was eight, her family migrated to New Zealand — and as it turns out, she was first introduced to hip-hop through Eminem, who at the time had just released The Marshall Mathers LP. Fueled by a growing interest in his music, the rising Persian-Kiwi emcee and producer was rhyming along to his work before she really learned how to speak English. “Mr. Eminem was my English teacher, CHAII recalls in press notes.
When she was 11, she stated to write her own rhymes to express everything she was feeling at the time — from being a confused third culture kid to her troubles adapting toa new way of life. As a high schooler, the rising Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee started to make beats to accompany her rhymes. At that point, she realized a deep love for all aspects of creating and writing music from writing, producing, recording and mixing, And after several years of experimenting, CHAII developed her own sound, which feature elements of traditional Persian music, extra pop and hip-hip, eventually releasing material material that she says is “the closest music to me and who I am.”
As an adult, she developed an interest in film, and that has created a synergistic approach to her creative efforts, centered around a decidedly DIY ethos. With the release of her debut single “South” earlier this year, which was featured by FENDI, the Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee exploded into the international scene. Building upon a growing profile, CHAII recently released her latest single, the urgent and defiant “Digebasse,” the second single off her debut effort Safar (Journey). Interestingly, the track features tweeter and woofer rocking beats inspired by a Southern Iranian drum patterns, skittering hi-hats, buzzing synths and a rousing hook — and while being a propulsive club friendly banger, the track which features a guest spot from Australian emcee B Wise sees CHAII delivering an uplifting and defiant commentary on millennial social pressures in English and Farsi that CHAII says “is a positive and uplifting song to say ‘enough’ and to stand up for your rights.”
B Wise’s guest verse highlights the need to be unified for a single purpose and the desire to be free, adding that “The song hit me from the first listen. It had an anti-establishment vibe to it, yet uplifting and uniting with a great message. The song is a major culture clash, so i had to jump on it!”
The recently released video was directed by the rising Persian-Kiwi artist and was shot guerrilla-style in Oman with a cast of close friends and locals as extras. Featuring a vibrant and explosive color palette within a slick and modern production, the video reveals an ambitious and talented young artist ready to take over the world — and an intimate view into the world and culture that influenced the rising artist so deeply. In a larger sense, the song and the video are a larger reminder of the fact that hip-hop is the linga franca of the contemporary world. In Frankfurt-am-Main I’ve heard vendors playing Biggie‘s “One More Chance.” In Amsterdam I went to the Sugar Factory and heard young Dutch DJs spinning NWA and A Tribe Called Quest. And in Montreal, I heard local rappers spitting fire in French. If that doesn’t convince you, this will. Hip hop ain’t dead y’all. It’s as vital as ever.