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Hailing from the Boulogne Billancourt district of Paris, French rap artist Salif cut his teeth in the tough Paris hip-hop scene while most of his peers were busy with piano lessons and video games. Hardly 13 years old, young Salif was developing his individual voice and flow, shaped and showcased in his group, Nysay. His unique approach and talent for hooks was quickly noticed by local scene celebs Zoxea and new wave pioneer Beat 2 Boul. Thanks to their reputation as an important emerging act, Nysay was taken under the wing of the Lunatic group, earning them spots on important compilations and mixtapes like C2 La Balle and Coup de Poing. As the group's popularity flourished, so did their credibility with the Parisian rap community and opportunities for collaboration. Thanks to Salif's solid connection with Zoxea, doors opened up to work with French hip-hop icon Kool Shen, as Salif ultimately joined his collective, IV My People, alongside Lord Kossity, Busta Flex, and Zoxea. Salif's performance on the single "Eenie Meenie Minny Mo" with Lord Kossity went on to sell better than 100,000 copies, earning him his first taste of celebrity. Over the course of the next several years Salif maintained a strong footing in the rap community as a member of both IV My People and Nysay, launching a number of successful records with both groups. His contributions can even be heard on world-famous Cuban hip-hop group Orishas' 2006 summer party theme "Paris Cuba." In addition to being a prolific collaborator, Salif embarked on a career as a solo artist with the 2007 release Boulogne Boy, tipping his hat to his neighborhood of origin.
© Evan C. Gutierrez /TiVo
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