The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday August 12th

UNC rapper "Bazanji" to perform at The Library Saturday

For senior Shad Albarazanji, rapping is more than just a hobby.

Albarazanji, or Bazanji as his fans know him, juggles both the demands of his biology major and the challenges of being a self-promoting artist. His days are filled with science; his nights and weekends, music. 

With any spare time, Albarazanji records new songs or sets up gigs. His meticulous attention to detail transfers effortlessly from his lab work to his music. He approaches his art and his coursework with equal intensity. And in both realms, his hopes are high.

For as long as he can remember, Albarazanji has wanted to be a dentist, and that goal drives his academic success. His interest in hip-hop music, though more recent than his dentistry dreams, is no less passionate. Albarazanji's career began when he was a first-year at UNC. 

Since then, he has invested his time, energy and all his profits into becoming the best artist he can be.

“If I’m not making music, I’m finding a way to improve my own music,” Albarazanji said.

To keep his costs low, Albarazanji manages every aspect of his music, from production to promotion to designing his own album cover. Over the past few years, Albarazanji has grown from a dorm-room project to a rapper with growing recognition. He has had the opportunity to perform in a Brooklyn gig as well as with well-known artists such as Shwayze. 

Albarazanji said listening to the music he produced in the beginning is a bit like looking at an old photo — cringe-worthy at times, but an encouraging reminder of progress nonetheless. 

When he started, Albarazanji found himself echoing the messages of other rappers. In his songs, Albarazanji, like many other rappers, explored what he would do if he were rich.

“At a point, it just gets old, and you realize that it’s nothing you can relate to, and it’s just kind of stupid, so I started writing about things that I was actually experiencing and things I was going through," Albarazanji said. 

Now, Albarazanji's own voice shines through his work. 

One of his projects, a group of songs collectively titled “Paradox,” focuses on the idea that being both a student and a rapper is a living contradiction. Each track in the album focuses on the moods and music of different hours of his day. Albarazanji said his music is continually evolving. 

And as his influences change, his music does too, like when he biked cross-country helping those with disabilities. From this experience, several songs were born. 

In the music industry, success is all about connections. For this reason, Albarazanji focuses on building and maintaining relationships. He keeps up with other artists with whom he’s performed, and he establishes contacts at local venues. 

Over the years, he’s gained trust. As a result, his network, along with his fan base, has gradually grown.

Dave Wylie, co-owner of The Library, said he was impressed by Bazanji and his work. After a packed show last year, Wylie invited him back for a second gig.

“He came in guns blazing in a sense with his professionalism, and everything was by the book,” said Wylie.

Wylie said he wanted more people to have the opportunity to experience Bazanji’s music. His next Library performance will take place Saturday, along with artists No Komment and June.

Evan Martinez, a fan of Bazanji and a member of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, said he’s excited to see this weekend's performance. Martinez and several other fraternity brothers will be there to support him.

“He’s actually getting really big, and we’re all really proud of him,” Martinez said.


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