anees Never Fails to Wears His Heart On Sleeve

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From viral driver's seat freestyler to recording artist, Washington, D.C. native anees has taken the hip-hop world by storm with his mood-lifting, spirit-raising, soulful brand of deeply authentic, genre-spanning music. His painfully relatable stories of heartbreak, unrequited love, and growth have molded the hitmaker into a rising star in both pop and hip-hop, and he shows no sign of slowing down.

anees’ love for rapping and writing songs first stemmed from a love for words. “I grew up on word games. Smart Mouth, Scrabble, Boggle, crossword puzzles, you name it. Finding ways to play with words, letters, and syllables has always been a rush for me. When I’m crafting rhyme schemes and word-smithing, I am truly alive.” In an interview with his alma mater, George Mason University, the budding creative revealed he learned how to freestyle while attending summer camp doing “bombers,” which he described as coming with a four-bar rhyme on the fly back-and-forth with someone. “I learned then I had a knack for coming up with rhyme schemes in relatively short order. I always felt very alive doing it,” he tells Re-Volt.  

As a first-generation Arab, he grew up believing that he had to go to college and become a doctor or lawyer. anees followed through on this plan, attending undergraduate and law school and freestyling as a destresser. And after obtaining his law degree, he realized where his heart truly lied and began to practice making music and writing lyrics that would eventually be published on all music streaming platforms.

The indie singer-rapper first made his presence known in 2019, teasing an early version of “drunk on myself” On Instagram, showing off his impeccable flow and lyrical chops. A year later, anees made his way to TikTok, posting a teaser of his song “Slip,” more about that song later. He continued to carve out a space for himself, frequently doing driver's seat freestyles, teasing upcoming music, and engaging with his burgeoning audience.

anees kicked off his career on a vulnerable note in 2020 with the release of his debut single, “neverland fly.” The track sees anees open up about his battle with depression and the volatility of mental health. He shared with Genius, “I hope y'all can’t relate. But if you can, I hope this song brings you comfort and a source of healing.” He soon followed the success of his debut single with the release of the high-octane track “Brown Kid,” featuring fellow Arab artist and producer Thanks Joey and Puerto Rican producer El Bles. According to aness, “This is an anthem for people who have grown up as minorities in America. It’s not as easy as it seems.”

For the remainder of 2020, the Lebanese-Palestinian rapper released one more single, the good vibes filled banger “maybe,” and continued growing his audience and social media presence. He frequently engaged with fans by sharing positive affirmations, relatable advice, and of course, more catchy bars while drinking boba in a segment he calls “boba thoughts.”

In 2021, anees released the multifaceted and romantic single “slip.” The artist reveals to Genius that the song, which he wrote about his wife and was all recorded in his car, has many meanings, one of them being to not let things “slip” from your grasp. “Another one [meaning] is having a girl you are to treat her with the utmost respect. Another is having a perfect woman in your life, don’t let her slip away.” Then, during an Instagram live from his Ford Focus, the up-and-coming rapper sang “slip” and was surprised and elated when Justin Bieber joined the livestream to jam along to the summery track. The Grammy-winning pop star gave major props to his musical talent in front of an audience of more than 60,000 people, and it’s easy to see why. The vulnerable and groovy track showed off anees’ true colors and range as a singer and a rapper, leaving no doubt about how the song has earned over seven million streams on Spotify to date.

After the success of “slip,” anees put out two more love songs, “love is crazy” and “drunk on myself.” The latter serves as a self-love and self-care anthem full of smile-inducing lyrics like, “I searched deep (searched deep) and found everything I want in me,” and “It’s not cocky or self-centered to offer yourself grace. Offer yourself a place where no judgment awaits.”

anees took his first dive into R&B at the end of 2021 with the release of “too good to be true.” The song, featuring Buffalo-based R&B artist Kevin Spears, is a compelling mix of pop appeal and R&B aesthetics. “I wanted to tell a story of unrequited love. I know how it feels to have your heartbeat for someone who doesn’t love you back,” shares the artist. “It’s a beautiful sorrow, and I needed to express that emotion in song. I hope it connects with all my heartbroken homies and helps them feel less alone.”

2022 saw anees starting the year strong with the release of his most popular song to date, sitting with well over nine million streams at the time of this piece on Spotify, “sun and moon.” On the track, he gleefully strains his vocals to convey various emotions that flow into one another even in their seeming contradiction. Longing and regret, vengeance and satisfaction, selfishness and sacrifice, fortune and fate, all supposedly juxtaposing ideas that his distinctive vocal talents allow to exist in perfect harmony.

Every track and every music video that anees has released so far showcases his original creative vision and intoxicating charisma, a characteristic that leads listeners to quickly transform into not only fans of the music but the person behind it all. While the future is never certain, one thing we can count on is for anees to continue to tease and release new music, share life advice while drinking boba, and encourage people to always look forward to tomorrow and the happiness it can bring.  

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