We celebrate the difference
Zoom on the rising Tunisian rapper, ZDEFF
5 min read — Jan 08, 2023
While everyone was preparing for the new year celebration, we at Maft magazine were checking in on some of our favorite artists and designers to see how they were closing off their calendars.
Friday, 23rd of December 2022.
It’s six thirty in the evening, at the heart of the lively streets of Manar City, we enter the main street to find our latest Artist to interview at the Amilcar Cinema, the rapper Zdeff finishing off rehearsals for RUPTURE, his last concert of the year.
We had the opportunity to witness the behind-the-scenes of the concert and stayed for the sound check, the lights switch and visual transitions between each song to make the best experience for the spectators that were already lined up early before the show started at eight-thirty.
The artist was rehearsing till the last minute and checked every detail to make sure the show goes on perfectly. We finally sat down at a nearby table in front of the stage, to talk about his musical journey and the merch that’s being released on January 4th.
Zoom on Zdeff, the rapper
Who is Zdeff, and how was it created ?
Before being Zdeff I am Yassine. I am 24 years old, currently finishing my MBA in Strategic Communication in France, and have been making music for two years now as Zdeff since covid first hit back in 2020.
Zdeff started as a childhood nickname, a joke like SDF in French ‘Sans Domicile Fixe’, which means homeless. With time, it became more literal and closer to home because I didn’t want to be controlled or limited by a music genre. I am still experimenting with different styles of music and want to continue mixing, trying different sounds, and making music.
When did you discover your passion to create music?
I've always been interested in music and loved it, but I never thought to start creating until I did an internship at Dream City Festival the year before covid hit. That experience was really enlightening for me as it brought together many artists and talents from different places and genres in the industry alongside art in Medina. Being surrounded by music and arts, triggered the creative side in me that was subdued by my corporate career choice.
What was your first musical project Palette EP about, and how was it received?
Palette was my first creation as an artist, and it came from being confined by a pandemic going on in the world, so I had the time to write and experiment with music and find my voice. That was Palette for me, my letter to the world as a way to criticize our reality.
Tell us about "Words of Weakness" and "Basta" the albums.
Words of Weakness is a really special and emotional album for me that was created in a darker period of time. Music helped me channel it and put it out there in the world. And then there’s Basta, the newest album, and the name of the song that represents a necessary closure for that period of my life. in fact, his concert is also gonna be my last for a while, that’s why I want to leave my supporters and fans with something spectacular.
What's next for Zdeff the musician? Is There a new album cooking?
I have music prepared, but a new album, I don't think so. I have a lot going on already, and I’ve done so much this year, so I think it would be best for me to rest, take a moment to re-evaluate and reconstruct. Furthermore, I want to disappear for a while and wonder whats Zdeff is preparing ext. I want people to anticipate and wait for my return.
Zdeff x Fashion
When did you Discover your interest in fashion?
I’ve always been interested in the fashion industry and world, especially how the messages portrayed are really thorough with a lot of research and creativity. A few years ago, I wanted to do a collaboration with Maft Magazine to organize a fashion event completely student-led from design students, fashion students, marketing and art.
What is your fashion style and inspirations ?
I am really minimalistic in my choice of clothing. People always relate rappers and singers to fashion and assume that we’re all stylish and should be showing off all the bling and glam, but that’s not me. I don’t want to be portrayed in that way. I mostly dress in casual and streetwear in somber colors like a black shirt and jeans.
Tell us more about your merchandising project
I believe that each artist should have its own merch that speaks for its identity that is accessible to the fans in order to create a community and earn some funds with it too, especially since it's difficult here in Tunisia.
What's next for Zdeff in Fashion?
I like sports hats, so I might drop a merch in that direction. I want every merch to be created through a clear vision and theme, something with a purpose for the sake of music with the best quality and not for the sake of just dropping a brand for sale. The message conveyed in each product should be with a clear purpose.
We closed off the interview on that note, then we separated for Zdeff to get up on the stage to perform his 7th and last concert of the year, and me to find the best spot in front of the crowds to capture some moments and enjoy the show.
Zdeff concert and I have to say it was a very intimate and wholesome gig for me, with the singer’s sharp words and killer beats along with the talented Gal3y roaring through the fully packed Cinema’s walls and through the crowds who were singing along to every track by heart.
A truly pure and amazing community and experience Zdeff has created, and I’m thankful to have witnessed it as a closing for 2022.
We’ll be looking forward to what Zdeff has to offer in 2023, and we’ll be keeping our readers in the loop as usual, but for now, you can order the new merch pack that’s dropped here.