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
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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.”


Saudi minister endorses Arab News-Facebook cooperation for Hajj coverage

Updated 28 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi minister endorses Arab News-Facebook cooperation for Hajj coverage

  • Banten said the ministry is pleased to endorse the Arab News-Facebook cooperation as it enables news about the Hajj to reach a wider audience
  • Millions of people worldwide will be able to follow the pilgrimage via the official Arab News Facebook page

MAKKAH: The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah has endorsed efforts between Arab News and Facebook to cooperate in covering the annual Muslim pilgrimage this year.

As almost 2 million people gather in Makkah for Hajj, this newspaper and the social media network will cooperate in the transmission of live broadcasts of the pilgrimage using 360-degree video technology.

This will allow millions of people worldwide to follow the pilgrimage via the official Arab News Facebook page.

Mohammed Saleh Banten, minister of Hajj and Umrah, was briefed on Arab News’ preparations to cover the pilgrimage, and met with members of its reporting team on Tuesday.

Banten said the ministry is pleased to endorse the Arab News-Facebook cooperation as it enables news about the Hajj to reach a wider audience.

People around the world will be able to see how Hajj is being performed, and the “array of services” provided by the Saudi government under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he added.

“Our endorsement of this cooperation comes out of our ministry’s belief in the importance of utilizing new technology … enabling us to show the world the blessed efforts (in serving pilgrims),” Banten said.

The minister was presented with an official Arab News press jacket, and saw the complementary umbrellas the newspaper is distributing to pilgrims as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts.

Faisal J. Abbas, Arab News Editor in Chief, briefed the minister, his deputy Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, and other members of the ministry about the newspaper’s ongoing plan for digital transformation.

“We thank the minister for receiving our delegation and his understanding of the role of both local and international media,” said Abbas.

“Our coverage will focus particularly on the humanitarian aspects of Hajj and follow the touching stories of hundreds of nationalities coming from around the world in this unparalleled gathering. 

“Our cooperation with Facebook will ensure that we are able to broadcast these stories to previously unattainable audiences thanks to new technology.”

Fares Akkad, head of regional media partnerships at Facebook, said that the collaboration follows the success of the live broadcasts of Taraweeh prayers on Arab News’ Facebook page during Ramadan, which he said was “very popular.”

“Hajj is a unique event, and we are aware of its importance to millions around the world. Therefore, we are delighted with this collaboration, which enables more people to participate in this blessed event. These efforts are part of our commitment to regional communication, particularly in Saudi Arabia,” Akkad said.

Starting today, Arab News publishes a series of special reports from the Kingdom and around the world on Hajj rituals, as well as offering 24-hour coverage through its digital platforms and Pakistan-focused website.