Saudis discover hip-hop scene

Saudi artists Moayed Al-Nofie, Badar Al-Mograbi and Slow Moe in Yalolo music video. (AN photo)
Updated 22 January 2018
0

Saudis discover hip-hop scene

JEDDAH: Saudi and Arab hip-hop artists have been making great strides in the past couple of years and proving themselves through their lyrics and fan base.
From Morocco to Sudan, from Palestine to Syria and to the Arabian Gulf, listeners’ acceptance of the genre is evident. Through visuals, YouTube and other mediums, it has gained momentum in the past few years, especially in the Kingdom.
Separating themselves from Western performers, Arab hip-hop artists have their own agendas to sing about — whether it be war, love, acceptance, equality and inequality, or great-fun rap.
However, some artists are using profanity in their lyrics. Even more curious is their use of the “n-word.” Is this the new hype?
The question was raised late last year on Twitter by the Saudi hip-hop guru Big Hass. The MC, founder of the online Re-Volt Magazine and radio host of the popular Laish Hip-hop, is one of the loudest voices in the region supporting local Arab and Saudi artists.
“Our culture will not allow profanity in the music we listen to. We will shut it down. It doesn’t sum up Arab hip-hop, it’s the power of the word that makes it important. The n-word is not for us to use and, frankly speaking, we haven’t struggled to use it,” Big Hass said.
Many Saudi artists such as Klash, Slow Moe, Moe Flow, Majeed and Qusai have worked very hard to bring forth their music, making a household name for themselves by rapping in Arabic or English, talking about issues that matter, keeping the true essence of hip-hop alive.
They are influencers for those who seek to follow that path, but controversy still arises as some choose explicit lyrics.
“If you’re smart enough, you’ll listen carefully to the lyrics,” says Yousef Ammar A, a freshman at the University of Miami. “I listen to both American and Saudi artists and I’m a fan of hip-hop. I am a fan of the direction many artists are headed to.
“But I do see that my friends are using the n-word more often every time I go to Saudi. I don’t really understand why they do it. Maybe it sounds cool, but it really isn’t. If we as young men and women don’t realize the difference between lyrics and language we use on a daily basis early on, then we’re going to become a pariah in a society that doesn’t accept profanity in any way.” Wise words, Yousef.
Having been in the game for some time, Big Hass believes there has been a lot of “copy-pasting” without understanding the true essence of the word. The n-word is a hideous pejorative that should be removed from common use.
“It’s our duty as writers, bloggers, radio hosts, journalists to point that out,” he says. “The use of profanity and the n-word, for example, is not allowed in our society. We’re better than that.”


Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

Updated 44 min 55 sec ago
0

Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

  • High-quality education will make students ‘valuable assets’ in transformation of the region
JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for Al-Ula has launched the second phase of its overseas scholarship program, giving students the chance to study at universities in the US, UK, France and Australia.
The program is intended to broaden the horizons of Saudi students, creating more rounded graduates with wider experiences of foreign cultures and practices.
The students will also learn the languages of their host countries, which will aid them in later life depending on what path they choose, and encouraging interaction and exchanges between the Al-Ula region and the rest of the world.
Rami Al-Sakran, capabilities development manager for the commission, said the Al-Ula scholarship program was one of four strands in a community development plan.
“We have four different units, sector planning and business licensing so that covers economic development, with community engagement and human capability under the social development plan,” he told Arab News.
The second phase of the scholarship program will run for five years following the positive response to the first phase, which was launched last year. The second phase has been expanded to accommodate 300 students and is open to all genders.
Last September, 165 students were sent to the US, UK and France with Australia to focus on fields such as hospitality, tourism, agriculture, archaeology and heritage.
Many residents from the area had migrated to larger cities because of the lack of job opportunities, he said, so it was important to engage and employ locals first.
“We’ll flood the equation. We’ll see people coming in and our priority is the local community and to provide them with jobs. We want these jobs that we’ll create to be filled by the locals first.
“We’ve currently provided jobs, whether directly or indirectly, some of them temporary and others permanent. At Winter in Tantora, we have volunteers, ushers, drivers as this is seasonal but we’ve established a database and some jobs are permanent, whether they’re directly employed by our CEO or some contract.”
Al-Sakran said locals were key to the success of turning Al-Ula into a major tourist destination.
“Locals, locals, locals. Without the locals, we can’t succeed. We have a very transparent relationship, it’s a two-way street with them. We cooperate with them and communicate with them on every basis. We have a strong relationship with the governor of Al-Ula and we listen to the locals.
“Whether it was our social or economical development, as you can see Winter in Tantora has a major socio-economic impact on the area and ... the locals are working everywhere here and that’s what we want. It’s theirs. We’ll unveil it to the Kingdom ... that’s the idea, to make it a strong and significant destination for all.”