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Mahdyar has been a crucial figure in Iran’s underground music scene since he was a teenager. At just 16, he was producing much of the music of the emerging Persian hip-hop movement and became so relevant that the authorities started to worry about his influence over the nation’s youth. After being blacklisted by the Ministry of Culture, Mahdyar left Tehran for Europe in 2009 and is now a resident of Paris.

Combining his hip-hop roots with something much more dissonant and threatening, Mahdyar’s debut Seized matches the music to his social themes of war and greed. Digital artist Hirad Sab, who directed the video for single Money Money, says that “the film investigates how the current glamorization of poverty and violence can adversely affect assumptions about the self’s economic status in the future and lead to a culture of economic desensitization.” The full album is released today.



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Cover photo by Hirad Sab