In a Javanan Magazine exclusive interview, Prynce P talks to Persian Rapper, Erfan about what Persian Rap really means, his dream of performing in Iran someday, and what khoreshthe prefers
Prynce P: Erf, for those who don’t know you,can you introduce yourself?
Erfan:My name is Erfan and I’ve been blessed with living my dream of music through rapping, singing and songwriting for the past 10 years. As one of the pioneers of Iranian Hip Hop, I have released two albums, several singles and music videos and I hope to continue making music my generation can relate to.
Prynce P: I’ve known you for over a decade now. I remember you telling me at a 13 Bedar in Mason Park about how you were thinking about recording your poetry. What made you start recording? I know that you read a lot and are an amazing lyricist, but what made you decide to get inside of a booth and have your poems form into songs?
Erfan:Well, I was always passionate about music and literature growing up. I even recorded a few mixtapes at my house when I was 10-11 years old, but my parents were very educated with the typical Iranian mentality that music should only be a hobby and cannot be pursued as a career. I started living on my own when I turned 18 and decided to give it my all. I found a producer and recorded my first few tracks which jumpstarted everything for me and motivated me more and more everyday.
Prynce P: In your opinion, what are some obstacles about rapping in Farsi or Persian rap as a whole?
Erfan: well, rapping in Farsi has a lot of obstacles, but in my opinion one of the biggest obstacles is the fact that we don’t have an industry set up. We cannot legally sell our music or even set up concerts in Iran where pretty much all of our fans live. This eliminates the possibility of making money in comparison to our counterparts from other countries.
Also, since Iranian hip-hop is relatively new, a lot of fans don’t know the roots and history of it and have made up their minds about what hip-hop is or should be without having the knowledge to support it. For example, I always see fans criticizing different rappers saying that rap should be about what their favorite rappers rap about, whether it’s social issues, partying, politics, and personal issues. In my opinion, rap can and should be about anything the rapper is feeling and wants to express, asit’sunderstood amongst American hip hop fans. People listen to Nas and J-Cole if they want lyrical hip hop, and they listen to Snoop and Wiz if they want to you know what, and they listen to Jay[-Z] and Kanye if they want semi mainstream-classy hip hop. They are all respected on their own levels, but we don’t have that yet, it’s very black and white with our fans.
Prynce P: Financially, are you getting the support from your fans? I know that most Persian musicians complain about fellow Iranians leaking their music for free or not supporting their albums by purchasing it. Most don’t understand how much work is put into one single. From finding the right beat to writing to it, recording it, perfecting it, mixing it, mastering it and marketing it. A simple song can take months to develop, not to mention the amount of money that goes into engineering and production, yet, most complain about paying 99 cents to support!
Erfan: The financial support we get from our fans is not anywhere near where it should and can be if you consider all the things you mentioned above. In addition to the lack of support we get from fans outside of Iran. My fans in Iran can’t buy my album in stores or online which is something they always complain about. I remember how exciting it was to buy my favorite artists album and take it home and listen to it and check out the artwork and booklet and it’s frustrating to know my fans can’t do that. Maybe I’m crazy, but I still believe one day I’ll be able to distribute my albums and set up live shows In Iran.
Prynce P: Out of all the songs that you have recorded, what is your favorite and why?
Erfan: I really don’t have a favorite in that sense, but one song that really gives me the chills every time I hear it is “Shosteshoo”. It was the first song I ever recorded and released professionally and I pretty much had no recording experience and no fans so I pretty much didn’t know what reaction I would get from people. When it came out, the response was overwhelming and I got to reunite with my good friend and producer Amir A-plus who I hadn’t seen or talked to in many years, through MySpace, which took my music to new heights.
Prynce P: Summer is around the corner. Do you have any shows planned out? Are you finally going to come and visit us Persian Cowboys down South?
Erfan: I’m actually working on organizing my North American and European tours this summer after the release of my new album and music videos and Dallas is definitely on the list. I’ve never had the chance to visit the south, so I’m definitely excited, especially since I have you to show me around.
Prynce P: We are boys and I will make sure that you have a good time in my city. Do you have an official website or a place where fans can support your music?
Erfan: My website is being worked on at the moment, so the best place to get updates and connect with me are Facebook.com/erfanmusic, Twitter.com/erfanmusic and my instagram account which is ErfanPaydar.
Prynce P: Who are some musicians that you grew up listening to?
Erfan: I grew up listening to a wide variety of music, which might sound weird to some people. Some of my favorite artists and bands are Tupac, Nas, Nirvana, Tool, Metallica, Googooosh, Notorious B.I.G, Alice in Chains, The Beatles, Queen, Ice Cube and many more…
Prynce P: What is your future goal in regards to your music?
Erfan: I want to be able to tap more and more into my real self and consciousness while I’m writing so that my songs are always honest and pure.
Prynce P: What is your favorite Persian food?
Erfan: (laughs). This is probably the toughest question of the interview becauseI’m so big on food. I’m actually quite a good cook myself, but in general I love beef so I have to say Kabab and I also like Gheimeh a lot. I can’t wait to try some of that Texas steak I’ve been hearing about all these years.
Prynce P: hahah… You will love the steaks here and I promise that you will gain a good 10 pounds when you leave. Any last words?
Erfan: I want to thank you, JavananMagazine and the readers for giving me the opportunity to share my world with you. I have been blessed with the best fans and I hope I can carry on making music for them as long as I am alive.
Prynce P: Erf, I watched you grow to be one of the greatest Persian rappers of all time. Just like your fans, I will always have at least 2-3 of your songs on my playlist. I want to thank you for your time and as always, wish you the best my brother. Hope to see you on stage soon.