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One of small handful of women to infiltrate the male-dominated world of French hip-hop, "rappeuse" Diam's nevertheless enjoyed significant commercial and critical success culminating with 2003's award-winning Brut de Femme. Born Mélanie Georgiades in Nicosia, Cyprus, on July 27, 1980, she spent the majority of her adolescence in the Parisian suburb of Orsay and gravitated to hip-hop as a teen. By 14, she began writing her own songs, adopting the alias Diam's from a dictionary entry defining diamonds in terms of both their opulence and their impenetrability. By 1995 Georgiades was a fixture of the Paris rap circuit, often collaborating with the Instances Glauques collective. In 1997, she befriended rapper Yannick from the Mafia Trece posse, guesting on two tracks on their LP Cosa Nostra and performing on the anti-racism tour "Sachons Dire Non." While working a series of odd jobs, Diam's teamed with composer and producer Black Mozart to record her 1999 debut solo LP, Premier Mandat, issued on the independent label Reel Up. The album earned little attention, but two years later she turned heads with "Suzy," a standout contribution to the compilation Original Bombattack. Diam's signed to major label EMI in the spring of 2002, but her sophomore LP, Brut de Femme, was shelved due to corporate reshuffling. When the album finally hit retail on the Hostile imprint in mid-2003, it proved a surprise hit, launching the chart-topping single "DJ" and winning the award for Best Rap/Hip Hop Album at the annual Victoires de la Musique honors. Dans Ma Bulle followed in early 2006, topping the French charts within weeks, and eventually becoming the biggest selling French album of 2006. Its success landed Diam's her own MCM cable show, Télé Diam's, as well as an A&R gig with the legendary U.S. label Motown's French division. The pressure of fame took its toll on Diam's, and in October 2009 after a battle with depression, she found solace in Islam. That same year, Diam's third album, S.O.S. was released
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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