Yak Ballz

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Yak Ballz
Birth name Yashar Zadeh
Born (1982-04-13) 13 April 1982 (age 32)
Origin Flushing, Queens, New York, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper
Years active 1998 - present
Labels Fondle'em Records
Eastern Conference Records
Definitive Jux Records
FloSpot Records
Associated acts The Weathermen
Cardboard City
Website

YakBallz.net

Yak Ballz Myspace

Yak Ballz, born Yashar Zadeh is an American independent hip hop artist, who was brought up in Flushing, Queens, New York. He is one of the original members of The Weathermen. He is also a member of Cardboard City.

Early life[edit]

In his youth, Yak spent a lot of his time using his imagination and creativity to draw and paint. He became enamored with the rebel art of graffiti. He was inspired by Cost, Revs, Uend, and his TCK (True City Killers) brethren. Yak turned to writing as an outlet for expression and a form of therapy due to his mother being overprotective about their neighborhood in Queens at the time. Thanks to his best friend’s older brother, Vaz (of 89.9-FM WKCR’s legendary “Night Train” hip-hop show), while in high school Yak landed a gig interning at Bobbito Garcia’s Footwork store in downtown Manhattan where he saw a myriad of flyers promoting Hip Hop shows all over the city. At the age of 16 he entered the Braggin’ Rites MC battle; he took second place and was the youngest person in the competition. Yak would go on to achieve first runner-up honors two more times after that, but more importantly, the aspiring MC grabbed the attention of several interested people in attendance, including Armando “Mondee” Torres and Brett Scott, who approached Vaz about getting Yak to appear on their new mixtape.[1] At the urging of Vaz, the MC agreed to work with Mondee. This would lead to a lasting music relationship. He is of Persian heritage.

Breaking Out[edit]

Bobbito Garcia, world renown radio personality known for breaking records and introducing new talent in New York City during the Indie Hip Hop boom in the mid to late 90’s, liked Yak’s demo, Flossin’, so much that he put it in rotation on his CM Famalam show on 89.9-FM WKCR in New York. He later invited Yak to appear on the show in 1998. After a few impressive appearances on WKCR, and Flossin’ gaining regular rotation, Bobbito approached Yak about some new original music. Yak's lyrics caught the attention of Cage, who was impressed enough to reach out to him; making him an original member of The Weathermen.

Followup Releases[edit]

Soon after, Yak released his first 12-inch, Homepiss in 2000, courtesy of Bobbito and his Fondle’em label. His 4-song EP was released featuring Flossin', The Plague, Nasty or Nice, and Homepiss.[2]

The Freakshow[edit]

In 2001, Yak followed up the EP with a stand-out 3 song vinyl 12-inch, The Freakshow,[3] which was one of the first ever 12-inch releases by the indie Hip Hop label Definitive Jux.Vinyl specialty stores and Web sites quickly sold out of the three-song 12-inch that featured cover art by TCK brother Ewok One 5MH.[citation needed] El-P even included The Freak Show on 2002’s Definitive Jux Presents 2 compilation album.

While You Where Sleeping[edit]

In 2003, he released While You Were Sleeping b/w The Drill 12-inch with Traffic Entertainment. Once Eastern Conference Records, then home to fellow Weathermen; Cage and Tame One, heard of this single they moved to sign Yak to an album deal. After working on The Weathermen’s Conspiracy mixtape (2003)[4] Yak Ballz released his first album, My Claim[5] in 2004 with guest appearances from both Cage and Tame One. He worked with producer Mondee for production and engineer Joe Raia. His lyrical content on My Claim was fueled by his Queens life and college experiences. After leaving Eastern Conference, Yak put out a mixtape in 2005, The Missing Cassettes consisting of rare and unreleased material.

Scifentology[edit]

In 2006 he released Scifentology, a mixtape put out by Yak himself and Scifen clothing company which features cover art by Ewok One 5MH.[6] Yak’s lyrics became more introspective and the beats changed on Scifentology by relying more on rock and synthesized instrumentation[citation needed]. The mixtape started as an innocent idea and promotional tool to help cross-market Yak with the Scifen clothing brand, but it quickly became one of the most talked-about mixtapes of the year within the indie Hip Hop world in ‘06[citation needed].

Scifentology II[edit]

January 2008, Yak released his sophomore effort, Scifentology II[7] on FloSpot Records in conjunction with Scifen Clothing. Scifentology II features production from the likes of Aesop Rock, the late Camu Tao, Mondee, Chapter 7, Adept, and Chris Maestro TCK. It also has guest appearances from Cage, Tame One and Slow Suicide Stimulus. The album is packed tight with cathartic rhymes of grit, wit, shuddering images, and has received critical acclaim[citation needed]. Ewok One 5MH, premier urban artist and senior designer for Scifen clothing, also designed Scifentology II's full-color cover. Feb 2009, “Dirt Empire,” a song produced by Aesop Rock, won the MTVu Best Freshman Video with over 40,000 views.[8]

Current Work and education[edit]

Currently, Yak is working on an extended play called 'Gas Galaxy', due out on Definitive Jux sometime in fall of 2009. Yak has performed the title song in support of Cage's Depart From Me tour. Yak is a graduate from New Paltz State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.[1]

Selected discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

12 Inch Releases[edit]

  • "Homepiss" / "Nasty or Nice" b/w "The Plague" / "Flossin" (Fondle'em Records - 2000)
  • "The Freakshow" b/w "For the Critics"/ "Reign" (Definitive Jux Records - 2001)
  • "The Drill" b/w "While You Were Sleeping" (Jersey Roots Entertainment/Traffic - 2003)

Compilations[edit]

Appears On[edit]

Mix CD's[edit]

  • 2005: The Missing Cassettes
  • 2006: Scifentology: The Mixtape

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cusenza, M. (2007, 27 Dec). One of Flushing's Finest Drops Second CD. Queens Tribune
  2. ^ Piroli, M. (Vol. 5 Issue 56). "Yak Ballz". Elemental Magazine, 68-70
  3. ^ allmusic (((Freak Show)))
  4. ^ allmusic ((( The Conspiracy Overview)))
  5. ^ allmusic ((( My Claim Overview )))
  6. ^ Herman, M. (Vol. 7 Issue 79). "Team Scifen". Elemental Magazine, 50-51
  7. ^ allmusic ((( Scifentology II Overview)))
  8. ^ MTVu (((Dirt Empire)))

External links[edit]