Italian rap artist Amir Issa was born in Rome on December 10, 1978. Like many European rappers, Issa is of Middle Eastern heritage, born to an Italian mother and an Egyptian father. Issa followed in the b-boy tradition starting in 1992 alongside Crash Kid, a famous Italian b-boy and hip-hop figure. He started writing early and got involved with the Roman hip-hop scene in his teens. Issa stepped up to the mike, making his recording debut on the popular 1997 mixtape La Banda der Trucido. Soon he was invited to collaborate with more successful artists, most notably Masito of hot Italian rap act Colle der Fomento, which established him as an artist to watch. Amir would find his proving ground over the next few years to be in live performance and the collaboration scene, a common pattern for emerging rap artists. As his repertoire grew, he started opening for acts like Pharoahe Monch and Cappadonna. In 2004, alongside producer Mr. Phil, Amir completed his debut release, Amir & Mr. Phil: Naturale. Amir signed with fledgling label Prestigio Records to produce his second release as a solo artist, Uomo di Prestigio. The up-and-comer's sophomore release features guest spots by labelmate Santo Trafficante and producer DJ Kemo, among others. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez

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