Kebab rapper stuns France -Kebab rapper mit lustigem konzept
By Kerstin Gehmlich in Paris
FOR months, kebab vendor Lil’Maaz amused clients with an improvised rap on the merits of his greasy snack.
Now, the 27-year-old has a contract with record label EMI and thousands in France know his „Kebab rap“.
Slicing chunks of meat from a giant spit, Lil’Maaz, whose real name is Yilmaz Karaman, says his rapid ascent from a snack bar in northern Paris into French record stores and internet stardom started off with a joke.
„I just did it for a laugh,“ he said from behind a counter displaying salads, tomatoes, onions and hot sauce.
He explained how he would break into spontaneous song when clients ordered a kebab, but then the employees of a small recording studio next door heard Lil’Maaz rapping while having their lunch.
They invited the singer, who only came to France from Turkey three years ago, into their studio and helped him put together a video for the Internet.
„We did the clip with people who worked here in the kebab shop and Lil’Maaz just asked some customers to star in it,“ said Matt Delavego from the studio.
Lil’Maaz’s kebap rap follows the internet success of Marly Gomont, a cheerful rap on life in the only black family in a small French village that made a star of former amateur Kamini.
Mange du Kebab (Eat kebab), which features Lil’Maaz rapping behind his counter, proved an instant hit with some 200,000 people watching it on the internet during the first weekend, the singer says.
„Everyday, it’s kebab party!“ Lil’Maaz sings in the clip while dancing in front of the juicy spit. „We’re turning the spit. Oh, how we’re sweating! The girls are loving it, we’re drawing them in.“
The clip attracted the attention of music label EMI, which produced a single with Lil’Maaz that came out this week.
Lil’Maaz, who came to France after working in tourism in Turkey, did not know how many discs had already been sold, but said he found his success overwhelming.
But he said he was not sure that his career would serve as a model for other rap hopefuls.
„I’m not sure I’m really an example,“ he said, grinning broadly beneath a red cap. „I was selling kebab and just had a lot of luck.“
Changement de vie le 28 novembre 2003. Lil Maaz poussé par l’amour débarque à Roissy. La langue française bien que difficile n’aura plus de secret pour lui après seulement quelques temps. Les premiers mois ne sont pas faciles et parfois même ponctués de désespoir, mais c’est à force de courage et de questionnements que Lil Maaz arrive à s’intégrer dans son nouveau pays sans jamais oublier son histoire, ses origines et sa culture.
Toujours souriant c’est en 2006 qu’il ouvre son premier restaurant Turc. Il y chantonne toute la journée des mélodies inventées, entre mayo, ketchup et harissa. Il invente même un début de chanson : « Mange des kebabs, mange des kebabs mon ami ! » qu’il s’amuse à chanter de temps en temps, poussant parfois même les habitués à fredonner en chœur ce certain refrain…