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Y@K Ballz

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A cocksure yet unconventional MC, Yashar Zadeh, better known as Yak Ballz, was born to Iranian immigrants in Manhattan, NY, though he was raised by his mother in Queens. Zadeh fully began to write rhymes at age 15 and later obtained a high school internship at a hip-hop record and paraphernalia store owned by underground hip-hop tastemaker Bobbito Garcia. With successful runs at several battle-rap ciphers under his belt, Yak found a couple of DJs who were prepared to release a mixtape featuring his rhyming skills, which led to the making of his first song, "Flossin'," produced by future, long-term collaborator Mondee. Of course, the track found its way into the hands of his boss Garcia, who loved its quirkiness and played it on his famed underground radio show. Garcia's stamp of approval entered the young MC among the ranks of artists affiliated with the independent hip-hop boom of the late ‘90s and, more specifically, Garcia's ground-breaking Fondle ‘Em imprint. With some mentorship from New York indie rapper Cage, who sought out to work with the up-and-coming MC, Yak delivered his debut 12" "Home Piss" b/w "The Plague" in 1999 via the Fondle ‘Em label. He continued to cut more 12"s for various labels, including "Freak Show" for ex-Company Flow frontman El-P's Definitive Jux, but signed an album deal with Eastern Conference Records. Produced mostly by Mondee, My Claim appeared in 2004. After a long hiatus, the second full-length, Scifentology II, arrived four years later on FloSpot Records. ~ Cyril Cordor