Turkish kebab seller has been signed by the EMI music label after his quirky song inviting Parisians to eat his greasy takeaways won him a huge internet following.
The success of Yilmaz Karaman, aka Lil'Maaz, and his rap Mange du Kebab ("Eat Kebab") is the latest sign of the web's growing influence on the music industry. Released this week, the track is a summer smash in France, and the video has had 600,000 hits online since June.
Lil'Maaz moved to France four years ago and went to work at -Restaurant Diyar, a fast-food outlet in the 18th arrondissement. He composed a good-natured song inviting potential customers to "come and eat kebabs, my friend!"
Luckily for him, they included employees from a nearby recording studio, who were amused by his attempts to rap. They recorded Lil'Maaz, while a friend shot an amateur film showing him rapping while slicing kebabs from a spit.
Lil'Maaz's lyrics hardly reach the poetic heights of Jacques Brel. "Here is the kingdom of grease," he sings. "Our place has Oriental odours that will stay on your clothes. We turn the spit, how we sweat. The girls love that - it attracts them…"
Lil'Maaz, 27, said his head was "spinning" as kebab fever grips France. He has already made a Turkish version, but wants to carry on part-time at his restaurant. "I love my kebabs," he said. "My goal was to make people laugh."
Last year, a YouTube performer called Kamini became a national phenomenon with a song about his life as the only black youth in a French village. At Marly-Gomont, he sang, there are "95 per cent cows and five per cent people".
Last Mod: 10 Ağustos 2007, 00:43
The Daily Telegraph