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German rapper Eko Fresh vaulted to fame on the heels of his mentor, hip-hop superstar Kool Savas. Born Ekrem Bora in Mönchengladbach, Germany, on September 3, 1983, the Turkish native quit school in his teens to pursue a career in music, working in a shoe store to make ends meet. While working his retail gig, Bora met Kool Savas, who agreed to produce his 2001 Royal Bunker debut EP, Jetzt Kommen Wir auf die Sachen. Together with singer Valezka, Eko Fresh and Kool Savas also co-founded the Optik Records imprint, which issued his sophomore effort, König von Deutschland. When Eko Fresh and Valezka became romantically involved, Kool Savas severed ties with both, inaugurating a long-running feud between mentor and protégé. Eko Fresh soon founded his own label, German Dream, signing a distribution deal with Sony BMG to release the 2003 full-length Ich Bin Jung und Brauche das Geld. In the meantime, Kool Savas teamed with American rap superstar 50 Cent for "Das Urteil," highlighted by Fitty's potshot at Eko Fresh: "You are now tuned in to my man Kool Savas/Optik boom/Destroy the German Dream, ya heard?" Eko Fresh responded with a pair of 2004 releases, L.O.V.E. and Dünya Dönüyor: Die Welt Dreht Sich. 2006 saw the release of Hart(z) IV followed a year later by the Tupac-referencing Ekaveli. Beginning in 2010, Eko Fresh began an extremely prolific run, releasing four new albums over a three year span. In 2013, he delivered the wildly successful Eksodus which topped the charts in Germany and reached the top ten in Austria and Switzerland as well. ~ Jason Ankeny