Publication Date: 
Wed, 2011-04-20 04:06

Rappers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began to emerge around 2003. Among the earliest Saudi rappers were Satam, 2Mam and Abady.
Hip-hop has become a popular genre for young Arabs to express themselves across the Middle East. There are many groups that perform hip-hop in Saudi Arabia, including underground acts such as KSA Connection, West Coast G'z and Waker Alasfoor.
Signed to Dubai-based Platinum Records, the first professional to come out of Saudi Arabia is Qusai Kheder known by the stage names: Qusai and Qusai aka Don Legend the Kamelion. The singer/songwriter, record producer, television personality and DJ is also the co-host of MBC4’s Arabs’ Got Talent. In addition to his music career, Qusai has appeared on television as the co-host of Hip Hop Na on MTV Arabia with hip-hop producer Fredwreck.
Since the 1990s, Arab hip-hop has flourished into a phenomenon, allowing young people to express their views politically and socially. While many hip-hop groups are still underground, others are emerging out of the shadows as social media plays a powerful role in allowing rappers to perform their rhymes.
Traditionally, hip-hop has often been associated with the oppressed or marginalized, featuring offensive lyrics and often described as “gangsta” music. Today, however, it is a voice of choice for those long-suffering people outside the United States. In other Gulf Nations, such as the UAE, hip-hop remains one of the most popular genres, with aspiring artists such as Khalifa Al Rumaithi. The young Emirati rapper has been practicing for six years and turned his sentiments into lyrics about his country. The catchy hip-hop beats and smooth R&B vocals of “Ana Emirati” has been seen and shared by over 9,000 people on You Tube and has also been featured on MTV Arabia.
Desert Heat paved the way for artists such as Khalifa Al Rumaithi and remains one of the most recognized Emirati hip-hop groups. Brothers Salim Dahman, known as “Illmiyah,” and Abdullah Dahman, known as “Arableak,” make up Desert Heat. Formed in 2002, the duo performed for MTV Arabia in 2007 with artists such as Akon, Ludacris and Karl Wolf.
Arab rapper Danny Neville who has a show on Radio 1 in the UAE said: “Hip-hop in the Arab world is at a very early stage and has a long way to go. However, the hip-hop culture will definitely grow strong with all the enthusiasm and eager talent that is being nourished in this part of the world.”
Rony Jackson (Rone Jaxxx) echoes Neville’s thoughts saying: hip-hop (new jump/new movement) in the Middle East “is positively at its sponge state with a lot of room and artists learning, developing and creating new styles."
“Hip-hop in general is a way of life/culture, from its birthplace in New York south Bronx in the late 60's early 70’s. I believe that over many years, they (originators) have nothing left to prove, as you see a lot of collaborations with house music artists and alternative/rock artists now. We in the Middle East have so many nationalities and cultures mingling and fusing with a wider scope of international music, so the possibilities are endless for the amount of styles and creativity which can come out from this region all under the hip-hop lifestyle,” he added.
Hip-hop has also been an opportunity for young female Arabs to express their view. The path, however, has not been as easy as their male counterparts. The title of Queen of Arab hip-hop belongs to Lynn Fattouh aka “Malikah” and MC Lix, a role model for young Arab females who feared following in her footsteps due to social stereotypes. The Lebanese-Algerian rapper can rap fluently in Arabic, French and English, reaching out to many audiences around the world. Through her music, Malikah is hoping to unite Arabia and bring peace to the rest of the world. She has come a long way over the years and will be one of the Middle Eastern acts opening for the Grammy-award nominate rapper, Snoop Dogg. She is also recording a track with Snoop. Local hip-hop fans will also get to hear Desert Heat, The Narcycist, Dany Neville, RONE Jaxxx, Fredwreck, Khalifa and Abdullah, DJ Lobito, Might 4, Robin, Rone Jaxxx and The Recipe before Snoop rocks the stage at the Yas Arena.
Snoop has been one of the biggest influences internationally. He will perform for the first time in the Middle East at the Yas Arena, Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi on May 6, as part of the Yas Island Show Weekends, which is organized by FLASH Entertainment, the region’s premier live events company.
Snoop will perform hits from his 11th studio album “Doggumentary Music,” a series of lyrics based on his life, plus songs from his previous albums, including “Drop it like it’s hot,” which reached the top of the hip-hop charts in 2004.
To purchase tickets for the Snoop Dogg show, please visit:

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