German rapper Eko Fresh vaulted to fame on the heels of his mentor, hip-hop superstar Kool Savas. Born Ekrem Bora in Mönchengladbach, Germany, on September 3, 1983, the Turkish native quit school in his teens to pursue a career in music, working in a shoe store to make ends meet. While working his retail gig, Bora met Kool Savas, who agreed to produce his 2001 debut EP. Together with singer Valezka, Eko Fresh and Kool Savas also co-founded the Optik Records imprint, which issued his sophomore effort, König von Deutschland. When Eko Fresh and Valezka became romantically involved, Kool Savas severed ties with both, inaugurating a long-running feud between mentor and protégé.