Saudi rapper dreams of a tolerant world

Saudi rapper dreams of a tolerant world
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Saudi rapper dreams of a tolerant world
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Saudi rapper dreams of a tolerant world
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Updated 15 September 2013

Saudi rapper dreams of a tolerant world

Saudi rapper dreams of a tolerant world

Lauy Jawad Alojan (or LJ as he likes to be known to his friends and acquaintances) is a 19-year-old Saudi student who graduated from high school this year. He is the fifth child in a family of six children. Alojan was an exchange student in Arkansas, US, for a year. He also lived in London for a year and a year in Argentina.
He loves listening to music, writing songs and performing in front of audiences. His other interests include photography, swimming and playing sports. Alojan intends finishing college to become a surgeon or lawyer. He then wants to devote himself to becoming a rapper.
His "passion is to change the world into a better place for future generations.”

Arab News: What does LJ stand for? And do you think the abbreviation is necessary for the whole rap icon image?
Lauy Jawad Alojan: LJ stands for Lauy Jawad. It’s my initials, but I like to look at it more as "Life Journey" because through what I’m doing I’m trying to tell the story of my life's journey and what I have learned from it. The abbreviation is not quite necessary, but it’s easier and more acceptable and it would give a piece of mastery to the image.

How did you get into rap music? Do you feel rap is the best method for self-expression?
When I was a kid, my eldest brother introduced me to the hip-hop world, and from that time onwards I wanted to be part of that world. I started rapping and recording songs in 2007.
And yes, I believe rap is the easiest way to deliver an idea or to express myself, and it’s the most effective type of music for people at this point in time. Most young people of the new generation have a new image of rap. The image of rap has changed over time; it’s not "gangster music" any more. People have started to understand what rappers are trying to say and what they are trying to deliver. And they have started taking rappers as idols and role models.

Which specific artists in the music industry had an impact on you while growing up?
The first artist I started listening to as far as I can remember, was Eminem. He is my idol and role model of all time because he started from nothing and made something of himself. I've always wanted to be like him.

What type of people here in Saudi Arabia appreciates your music. Is it the younger generation or more males than females?
It’s definitely the younger generation. And I think males and females. Both are interested in the "New Hype" type of music.

How much is the Saudi youth in general accepting rap music?
They started accepting rap music in a major way because the media started spreading it and showing that it’s a new cool type of music. It’s getting bigger and bigger every day.

Do you see yourself as a professional rapper?
I believe there is no such thing as a professional rapper, there is only good rap and rappers. And there are famous rappers who get paid for rapping and are not necessarily better than the non-famous ones. And I believe I’m a good rapper.

Are there many others like you here in Saudi Arabia?
There are rappers who are trying to make a change in society to make it better, but I don’t think we have the exact same idea. And that’s due to the experiences we've gone through.

Is there a particular theme/message you convey in your music? Do you feel the public can relate to this?

I want to spread the idea of equality and justice between people no matter what their beliefs are or where they come from. And I want to motivate and inspire people and give hope to the ones that are going through bad days or have a bad life and make them feel that there is always a sunny day after the darkest night. And hopefully teach them from what I learned in life in order for them to use it to make a better future.

How does your passion for rap affect your family in terms of their acceptance? Would they mind you taking this up as a full time profession?
My family and my parents are totally against me doing rap due to cultural beliefs. They don't want me to do rap instead of getting my education and becoming a doctor, but I'm going to get my education first then work on my rap career, I won’t do one without the other. And yes, I think they would mind me taking rap as a profession, but I think they don’t really believe that I will ever make it, or that I’m going to have that passion forever, and it’s just a phase and it’s going to fade when I grow up.

Finally, could you tell me, if you were given the chance to change one thing about Saudi Arabia to improve the life of future generations, what would it be?
I would change intolerance of others due to their beliefs, and make everyone equal no matter what they believe.

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