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Shaya was born in California's Bay Area, and his no-nonsense approach and thought-provoking rhymes are deeply informed by his tumultuous upbringing. Because his father abused the entire family, he spent much of his youth in various foster care systems. When he began building his rap career, Shaya (his name is Arabic for "Worthy") started from the ground up, dishing out mixtapes at shows, swap meets, and wherever he could sell them in the Bay Area. Scoring a deal with Interdependent Media, Shaya released his first single, "Industry Life," and debut album, Fallen Awake, in 2008. ~ Cyril Cordor