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

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.”

Jeddah has never been greener, but authorities say their work has just begun

These green spaces have become a recreational resource for residents in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 19 October 2018

Jeddah has never been greener, but authorities say their work has just begun

  • Jeddah mayor: The secretariat has signed partnership agreements with the private sector and institutions for initiatives to develop parks, buildings and pedestrian walkways
  • The city has organized a number of cultural and recreational events for visitors to the parks

RIYADH: Five hundred parks in Jeddah have contributed to softening the public face presented to the world and its visitors by the Bride of the Red Sea. 

These green breathing spaces have become a resource for Jeddah locals and visitors alike. They are vital pieces in the patchwork of green spaces that are estimated to cover 20 million square meters.

Jeddah municipality has a commitment to increasing green spaces in Jeddah through garden and reforestation projects throughout the province.

The mayor of Jeddah province, Saleh Ali Al-Turki, said that the Secretariat is in the process of improving and developing the parks and increasing green spaces. 

He added that the secretariat has signed partnership agreements with the private sector and institutions for initiatives to develop parks, buildings and pedestrian walkways.

Al-Turki stressed that public parks are important elements to improve the environment and the quality of life. As such it is important to foster partnerships between the public and private sectors to develop this environmental element.

These efforts are supported by the work of Friends of Jeddah Parks, within the framework of social responsibility and with a strong partnership with governmental bodies and donors to create and care for public gardens and open spaces and benefit from them while promoting recreational, cultural, sporting, health and intellectual activities and contributing to bond with members of society.

Park expansion

The province of Jeddah has managed to expand the establishment of such parks throughout the province’s neighborhoods, taking into account the geographical scope and urban sprawl, amid strengthening the role of the private sector and civil society institutions in supporting, caring for and establishing public parks in the context of social responsibility. 

It has also succeeded in organizing a number of cultural and recreational events for the parks’ visitors, and maintaining them as a social forum for a number of families and children.

There is ongoing work to establish short- and medium-term plans to improve the parks, in addition to expanding green spaces throughout the province through implementing additional projects so that these resources are able to cater for a large number of visitors and citizens. The parks need to be maintained as social, recreational, sporting and environmental outlets.

In addition to the parks, there are recreational clubs and centers, which provide children, young people and families with playgrounds, green spaces, playgrounds, and paved areas.

Dhaban Marine Park, which is located 40km north of Jeddah, is part of the government’s initiative to provide appropriate environmental and recreational places for Jeddah’s citizens and visitors. It covers an area of 110,000 square meters along the waterfront. It is equipped with recreational facilities and football fields for children, in addition to a mosque, pathways, a versatile football field, children’s games, sandy beaches and a fishing area that includes tools and sporting equipment on the pedestrian’s walkway.

Best in Jeddah

The park’s landscaping and green areas cover 38,000 square meters with 312 palm trees, 5,000 trees and bushes, children’s play areas for 25 different sports. 

As one of the best parks in Jeddah, this is a beautiful recreational area where all family members can spend a special day and young people can benefit in a space dedicated for them. It also offers a sandy beach equipped for fishing.

Jeddah’s landmark Al-Saif Beach covers an area of 500 square kilometers and stretches over three kilometers. It was created as part of the initiative to develop the southern corniche to serve a large segment of citizens. It is equipped with public utilities to attract tourists and become an outlet for families and visitors of Jeddah.

Al-Saif Beach is a maritime façade that attracts all segments of society with its infrastructure, recreational areas and green spaces, family areas and children’s play areas. Not only does it offer public facilities such as automated smart toilets, parking lots and specialized prayer areas it also has a sandy beach for beach ball games.