Sheffield rapper bullied over his skin colour and ADHD says illness gives him ‘superpower’

Being bullied by his peers growing up, a Sheffield's up and coming rapper used to feel that he never belonged despite being born and bred in the city.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 12:46 pm
DanimaL. Picture by Message of A Nation Records
DanimaL. Picture by Message of A Nation Records

Daniel Williams-Hashemi or his stage name ‘DanimaL’ was picked on because of his skin colour and the fact that he acted differently due to ADHD - something that he is still dealing with since he was 12.

Now 26, the half-Iranian half-English musician chose to never look back as he turned his illness, which people may perceive as a weakness, into his strength.

He said: "It gave me a lot of motivation, a lot to write about. Whenever I go home, I could sit in my room, put on instruments, I could just write.

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"My ADHD sort of gave me some superpower - to be able to write about stuff and it just happens.

"In terms of bullying, it wasn't just in school. In my local estate, primarily an English estate and my father's Iranian and my mother's English so I always looked different, acted differently because of my ADHD.

"All the guys used to pick on me. They used to beat me up - it's horrible. I used to go home full of cuts and bruises but it gave me a lot of stuff to write about."

DanimaL. Picture by Message of A Nation Records

Daniel said music has given him an escape route to a place where he could be himself and get the ability to be creative.

And by releasing his latest single titled 'ADHD', Daniel said he wanted to share his experience dealing with the illness while struggling to be able to be accepted by the community.

"The song is completely about what I went through - being beaten up when I was a kid, and around the same time, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.

"He survived, but I was getting bullied at the same time so to have that happen, it was really hard - so that was one of the standout lyrics.

DanimaL - ADHD (Official Artwork).

"The other lyrics are about getting beaten up and the fact that I am Middle Eastern and I was in an area predominantly white and I was thought the outcast there.

"I want people to know that if you have ADHD, you have anything like a mental health problem, it doesn't mean you can't be successful.

"In some cases, you can be more successful than most people," he said.

Asked what DanimaL meant, he said: “I like to consider myself as an animal. I’m aggressive, like I’m a lion, sort of attacking the stage . So i thought animal and Daniel combined together and i make them DanimaL, that’s the

best way to put it.”

On his career prospect, he said he would, at some point, hope to try and break the international barrier.

"I am currently predominantly UK-based. It’s important to get to know my audience here first especially the UK. Plus, I’m a local boy,” he said.

Daniel, whose music is urban hip hop and rap, has garnered almost 15,000 views for his 'ADHD' video since it was released on Youtube on February 5.

He has also released several notable singles such as 'Homeless', Lost and 'Righteous' since he turned professional four years ago.

He is currently signed with a Sheffield-based independent record label, Message of A Nation.

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