He’s got the lingo, the beat and the bling down pat. But there’s more behind the shades of Imaan Faith than rap and hip hop.

“I have glaucoma (in both eyes), so there would be times when I was in the hospital thinking, ‘Man, when are we finally gonna release this?’” Faith says in discussing his debut album, Let The Truth Be Known, which scored an impressive No. 6 spot on the national Soundscan Charts two months ago.

Throughout the 11 years it took to make the album, Faith has undergone six surgeries and has come close to losing his sight on many occasions. Prayer to God, meditation and the recitation of Chinese mantras has helped the 24-year-old weather the dark days.

Those days also include a near fatal fall by his mother at the family’s restaurant in New York when he was 18. “I thought she was gone as she was in a coma for a couple hours, but then she came back,” shares Faith.

The family had initially relocated from Tehran to Toronto in 1986 during the Iran-Iraq war, but moved to New York in 1988 and back to Toronto in 2003.

Witnessing his passion for music, his brother Ali formed G.U.T.S. Records and set the gears in motion for a path in music. However, that, too, came with a price. The family cars were sold as were its homes and restaurants to finance the dream.

“If it wasn’t for the hard times then what would be the good times?” he adds.

The CD’s first video, Haven’t Seen You Smile, was one of the first rap videos chosen as a featured video by both YouTube Canada and the United States. More than 300,000 views have, so far, been logged.

Already, the “Hip Hop Prince of Persia” moniker has begun to percolate. “Back home my cousins tell me they hear my songs everywhere, so I do plan on doing some shows out there, but I don’t know if the government would allow me and Tupac’s Thug Life group across the border,” says Faith.

An award-winning and multi-faceted media personality, Lawrence's career spans journalism, television and public relations (event management, publicity). Log onto lawrence-chau.com for more buzz.

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