Ukrainian rapper T-Fest is a trendsetting star who’s made a name for himself well outside his home country. Born Cyril Nezboretsky in 1997 in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, he attended a music school and studied piano and percussion; by the age of 11 he’d fallen in love with hip-hop, thanks to Russian rapper Schokk. He released his first (largely unnoticed) tracks in 2010 with his older brother Maxim (a.k.a. iMax) out of their home studio; two years later, Schokk gave the young rapper a platform on the track “Play the Hater Box”. It was his first taste of fame, and for years after, T-Fest cast about in search of his own style, releasing the mixtape Burn Up in 2013. In 2016, he found it with the single “Reboot” and his first official album, 0372. The release introduced listeners to T-Fest’s versatility: though inspired by trap, T-Fest is also a densely lyrical rapper with a brooding sensibility that, for all its weight, can also start a party. He followed that album up with the narcotic swing of the hugely successful single “Lambada”, a collaboration with Kazakh rapper Scriptonite. In 2017 he signed with the influential Russian label Gazgolder. Hits like “Scandal” and “One Thing I Know” are notable for their dark poetry, but he’s no one-trick pony: T-Fest has ventured into bilingual territory on tracks like “Papi” with Ukrainian-Bolivian singer Michelle Andrade.