Ceza Poster

Biography

Bilgin Özçalkan (born Üsküdar, Istanbul), also known by his stage name Ceza (pronounced je-ZAH, Turkish for 'punishment'), is a Turkish rapper and songwriter. Özçalkan's interest to rap music blossomed around his primary school years, where he borrowed rap cassettes from his school mates. His love for rap really started to roll after watching the movies Break Dance 1 and 2.

In 1995, Özçalkan started a group called U.C.S, and performed with this group until about 1998. His group Nefret got signed under Hammer Music in 2000, and the album Meclis Ala - Istanbul was released. In 2001, Özçalkan proceeded to release the album Anahtar. The title track on this album that holds the same name as the album itself was the first one that came with a music video. The album was a great success, and Özçalkan got to give many concerts with it.

Özçalkan's big breakthrough came in 2004, however. He was invited to one of the biggest rock festivals in Turkey, namely Rock Istanbul, and was asked to perform on stage here. He was able to showcase his rap music in an environment that held the largest Turkish popular music acts.

Turkish singer Burcu Günes was very interested in Ceza, and released the song Sahilden with a featuring of Özçalkan, and another Turkish singer, Candan Erçetin, gave him the chance to make a song with her. He featured on the song "Sehir" from the album Melek.

In 2005, at the Turkish rock music festival Rock'n Coke, Ceza let out a profanity laden freestyle rap directed at the singer Kiraç, who had made comments about rap not being real music.

In 2005, Özçalkan played a role in two films of Turkish director Fatih Akin, namely Istanbul Hatirasi: Köprüyü Geçmek and Kebab Connection, the latter being a film that Fatih Akin participated in by being a writer.

After these two projects, Özçalkan had a featuring with artist Mercan Dede, in his album Su (water). In his 2006 album Yerli Plaka, he had a featuring of Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, and he also participated in her song Sinanay.

In late 2008, various songs of Yerli Plaka were used as OST for the Turkish drama series Adanali. After this, Özçalkan participated in American rapper Tech N9ne's song, namely Worldwide Choppers, on his album All 6's and 7's. This was the first time that Özçalkan worked with a non-Turkish artist.

In an interview with the magazine Esquire, Özçalkan expressed that he writes his lyrics after finishing the beat for the track, and that he goes through this process in a short amount of time. Özçalkan also critiqued the fact that people often mistake hip-hop and rap to be the same thing. He compared hip-hop to a tree, with rap being one of its branches.

In 2007, Özçalkan had a featuring in Mercan Dede's 800 album, where he rapped together with singer Yildiz Tilbe. He then released the song Bomba Plak in 2009. With fellow rapper Killa Hakan, Özçalkan proceeded to release two albums, one of them being released in Turkey, and the other in Germany.

In Killa Hakan's solo album, being Volume Maximum, Özçalkan participated in a total of 10 songs. For two of these songs, being Alles Tamam and Allerbesten Rapper, were music videos released.

In 2010, Özçalkan released the album Onuncu Köy. He released a music video for the title track Bir Minik Mikrofon. In the same year, Özçalkan released a track for the Istanbul Boxing Team. He then proceeded to shoot a music video for one of the songs on his 2010 album, together with Killa Hakan. He also released a rap songs with the beat of Mozart's Turkish Marsh, a comeback after not releasing music for a while.

Özçalkan's last album, namely Suspus, was released on 26 May 2015, after a long hiatus. He filmed a music video for the title track Suspus, and he expressed interest in releasing more music videos for his other songs on the album as well.