Niroj-B is one of few Kurdish rap singers working to bring rap culture to other Kurds. Born in Germany and he studies English at college in Iraqi Kurdistan. Niroj-B is from a musical family. His father, uncles and cousins are all artists which inspired him to be involved in music.
- Why do you like to rap?
At first I wanted to become a video director like my father, but after a few years I fell in love with German rap and I wanted to rap in Germany. After a while I thought that there are no good rappers in Kurdistan, so why not to rap in Kurdish? So I did, and I am proud that I did it in Kurdish and not in German.
- How did Kurdish society react when you became a rapper?
At the beginning it was very hard for me. In 2008 when I first started to release some tracks, all I had was haters and people saying that this is not our style and that I should go back to Germany because I am ruining Kurdish folk music. I was young and it really hurt me to see that nobody was supporting me except my family. But I didn’t stop and worked harder and I turned all the haters into Kurdish rap fans in 2 years.
- What obstacles did you have to overcome to get this far?
Many obstacles. I saw hate, and pain, and many other things I don’t really want to talk about, but as they say “hard work pays off”.
- What are the things about being a rapper that you most enjoy?
Being a rapper, or being famous, there are many things that can make you hate the fame… but whenever I see a fan who comes to me like crazy and wants to take a picture or get my autograph, and tells me how much I changed their lives, I know that I have done something good. I really enjoy seeing my fans, and enjoy that moment when I just sit down and contemplate my fame and say “Niroj you had a dream and you made it happen”. It motivates me.
- Tell me about your school, were you a good student?
Ha ha no! I wasn’t good at all. I mean my behaviour was very very bad… I was good in the exams and passed every year, but had fights, problems with teachers, skipping lessons every day, but I don’t regret anything, they are all good and funny memories.
- I saw a picture of you online with tape on your mouth, is that a statement you want to make?And what is it?
Yes it is a statement. The Kurdish media doesn’t let me say what I want to say, there are so many things I want to say and show in my videos but I will get in big trouble. I am not free to say what I want to say. If a normal rapper says things it’s ok, but because I have a lot of fans and supporters, and some of those who are 14-18 years old want to be like me, the Kurdish media doesn’t want me to make trouble and influence the young people’s minds.
- Do you aspire to make it big in Hollywood or do you enjoy being a local rapper?
No, I don’t have Hollywood in my plan, but to make Kurdish rap international is my goal. I have connections with a lot of German rappers, and I was in the German news too, and I will work hard until the whole world hears Kurdish rap.
- What do you feel is the most important problem in Kurdish society now, and do you feel your art has aided or complicated your involvement in these issues?
There are many problems in our society now, and my art alone can’t help. I may help a few people with my songs and motivate them but that’s not enough, there are kids who are hungry and thirsty and all I can do is to fill up my car with food and drink and give it to those are in need. I have spent a lot to give food to those who are in need. I even buy toys for kids and give everyone a little gift just to see them smile again, I have worked very hard in the last 10 months to help just a little bit.
- What is the artist or celebrity’s responsibility for being a big part of social change?
I have met a lot of young people who say to me that I changed their life and showed them not to give up and fight for your dream… but to say that my music will change a lot, it’s difficult to say that, because the problems we have right now are much much bigger than my music.
- Right now, who would you look up to in the Kurdish music industry and why?
- How do you describe yourself as Niroj-B the person rather the rapper?
Niroj-B as a normal person loves respect and good friendship. He is not a joke maker, but a hard worker, a dreamer, a fighter, not a much of a talker but more a listener.