DUBAI: From performing small gigs in Dubai to the dizzy heights of working with Marvel, DJ Kaboo is rapidly becoming the latest Arab success story.
The record producer — real name Mohammed Serour — is the man behind the Arabic tracks featured in Marvel’s latest hit show, “Moon Knight,” starring Oscar Issac, Ethan Hawke and Egyptian-Palestinian actor May Calamawy.
His songs “Arab Trap: Made in Egypt” and “Arab Trap: 4 Enta” appear in episodes one and three, respectively.
Kaboo, 37, told Arab News that when he first received an email from Christine Bergren Music Consulting, which handles music for Marvel Studios, he thought it was a scam.
“Being a fan of Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man and Iron Man since childhood, the shock of being featured in a Marvel TV series was unreal,” he said.
The studio initially only wanted “Arab Trap: Made in Egypt,” which samples veteran Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez’s “Khosara.” But it later asked for a second track, “Enta,” which samples “Batwanes Beek” by renowned Algerian singer Warda.
Kaboo, who moved to Dubai in 2011, said the feedback from his supporters after the episodes aired was beyond his expectations.
“Everyone from the region was so happy to see, for the very first time in history, Arabic music over the iconic Marvel logo with all the superheroes,” he said.
“Fans from everywhere across the globe were messaging and tagging me about how my music is so addictive and how happy they (are to) have discovered a new genre of music,” he added, referring to his distinctive brand of Arab trap, a subgenre of hip hop.
But the DJ said he had always been confident in himself and his talent.
“I always believed in what I am doing and definitely had the feeling that one day I will make it — and here I am.”
Kaboo, who started his music career at the age of 15, describes his music as “a connection between the old and new generations,” in that it typically fuses international beats with popular Arabic tunes.
“From the moment I started to produce music, I was driven by my passion of sampling old popular Arabic tracks in hopes of introducing Middle Eastern and Egyptian culture and music to a global audience,” he said.
After the third episode, featuring “Enta,” the DJ’s streams increased by 5,345 percent on Spotify, according to the global streaming giant.
“The track was not only used for both the intro and the credits of the episode, but it was added to Marvel’s official playlist, taking Egyptian music to a whole new level on the global stage,” Kaboo said.
“Spotify is the reason I was discovered by Marvel! They literally told me that they found my music on Spotify, so you can imagine how important Spotify is for me and for any artist.”
The record producer said also that he believed “Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt will be the new hub for the festival scene and these types of performances, especially for Middle Eastern DJs, artists and rappers.”