US hip hop group rocks Riyadh

Updated 16 February 2013
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US hip hop group rocks Riyadh

It was a cold night in Riyadh but hip hop group LEL Brothas warmed it up considerably with a scorching performance at the US ambassador’s residence.
There were Saudis, Filipinos, Indians, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshi nationals present at the event last week, who gamely danced to a number of tunes from the talented artists.
This is the second time that LEL Brothas has performed in Saudi Arabia as part of the cultural exchange program between the United States and the Kingdom. The group first performed in Riyadh during its Middle East tour in 2011.
The group was invited by US Ambassador James B. Smith and his wife Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith. “In mid-2011, LEL Brothas made history by performing in the Kingdom and many other countries in the Middle East,” said Smith.
The group is known for the song “Hatas” released on Dec. 21, 2011 off their album “The Epidemic.”
In 2012, LEL Brothas toured the United States and were again asked to return to the Middle East for a follow-up tour in 2013.
The LEL Brothas are working on their new album “The Pandemic” slated for release in 2013.
The group also performed separately for the Filipino Athletes and Performers Society (FAPS) headed by its president, Charlotte Villones, in cooperation with TFC’s Balitang Middle East (BME). FAPS, an accredited community organization in Riyadh, was the official production partner of the group in Saudi Arabia.
LEL Brothas also performed at a venue in Exit 9 with FAPS talents Christelle Marie Aliasas, Rhyan Jay Carpio, Teo Maglonzo, Rose Ann Ladra, Jean Gladys Vicente and Gene Juanich. The Filipinos caught the attention of DJ Unknown, known for discovering talent in the United States.
The group also performed at the American International School and the US Embassy.
LEL Brothas was formed in early 2006 in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The vision of DJ Clone, the group also includes member LBC AKA Nytmare. Although the group officially has two members, DJ Clone and LBC, it often performs with hype man CB5. A hype man is a backup rapper or singer who supports the primary rappers.
All three rappers are originally from California, but met each other and started LEL Brothas in Arizona.
While recording their debut album “Fresh out the Root” LEL Brothas were signed by producer Wade Martin to JWM Records. They topped the Internet and Southwest radio charts with the album. In 2010, LEL Brothas released their second album “The Epidemic,” which catapulted them on a world tour and gained them multiple events with top A-list celebrities.
The group has sought to bridge cultural differences between the two countries with their music. Their songs are a mixture of hip hop and rock.
The meaning of the acronym “LEL” has not been disclosed by the group. On the 2011 album “The Epidemic,” LBC references LEL by saying: “Quit asking what LEL means, it drives me insane/if I told you the secret, it would blow out your brain.” Although the meaning has not been released, DJ Clone often teases the media and fans by stating: “Come to a show and find out.”


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 5 min 5 sec ago
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.