From the Bronx to the World: Babak Rabiee Is Aiming for the Sky

HHW Staff
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Babak Rabiee

Music transcends borders and cultures. Its power to heal, inspire, and empower is undeniable, making it a powerful tool for social change. With increasing global connectedness and the rise of social platforms like YouTube, music has never been more accessible or readily available to connect people with their dreams. Rising star Babak Rabiee is proof that your socioeconomic background doesn’t matter if you know what you want. The artist uses his voice to fight for social justice for Asian minorities in the United States through music.

Babak was born in the Bronx, NY. Growing up, his parents expected him to be a good student and encouraged him to pursue an education that would allow him to get a good job one day. As first-generation immigrants, they had struggled to establish themselves, and that’s not something they wanted for Babak or his younger brother. Though he knew their story, Babak had different ideas: he wanted to do what he loved and make money doing it. His dream was to play music professionally one day, and he would do anything to actualize it.

Babak begged his parents to pay for music lessons, but they were having none of it. They arrived at a compromise when he was in 8th grade: he’d get one hour of guitar lessons if his grades improved. That was the opening Babak needed. He maintained an exemplary performance throughout high school and graduated as the class valedictorian. Instead of applying to medical school as his parents wanted, he applied to a performing arts college in NYC and was accepted.

However, after one semester, the pandemic happened and brought everything to a screeching halt—except Babak’s mission. At the young age of 19, Babak wrote “Take Me Away,” addressing the racial injustices his community was facing in the wake of the pandemic, and posted it on social media. His unique sound and deep reflections garnered the attention of fans and critics from all over the world. Within 2 weeks, the song had gained 300K+ views and thousands of comments. Finally, the Bronx was home to a new international music sensation unafraid of expressing his opinion.

Babak’s fame increased with his subsequent release “Bleeding on the Sidewalk.” The track is an ode to people who have pushed through their own challenges and reminds us that our dreams are worth fighting for, sometimes to the death. Babak is relentless in the pursuit of his dream. “Asian music will be mainstream in America one day,” he said, “and I’m gonna be the one who does it.”

The 22-year-old is now an emerging rapper with a global audience. He recently achieved what many will never achieve in their lifetimes when he became the first Chinese-American artist to be signed to a major label. Next month, Babak is set to release his highly anticipated debut album entitled Chinatown. The album will feature some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Missy Elliot and Pusha T.

Despite growing up in one of New York City’s roughest neighborhoods, Babak dreams of more than just making money. He hopes to touch more hearts through his music and to create a world where everyone feels safe.

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