Hass Dennaoui, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2011-10-26 15:44

Run Junction is a multinational hip-hop group founded in Jeddah, toward the end of 2010. It consists of six MCs and four producers as well as designers, artists and photographers. On the mic, you got Anas Arabi, Kaffien, Majic, Moh Flow, Tim Granite and Vizion. As for the 1’s and 2’s you got Saif Saud, aka Unkle Saif; MindCircus; Uzi and Anas Arabi.
The group is trying to educate the people of Saudi Arabia about the culture of hip-hop as well as establishing a market for “real” hip-hop in the Kingdom. They just released their debut album, “J City Chronicles,” which has already gotten great feedback from legendary producer Fredwreck and some of the artists like Omar Offendum and Black Mccloud.
Arab News sat down with the group to ask them about hip-hop and about their beginnings and inspirations.

Run Junction is an amalgamation of talented multinationals that recognized that working together as a cohesive unit is better and has a greater impact than working separately. Really, it is us coming together to showcase our talents as a group and as individuals. Because our group is so large, it is hard to streamline what we’re putting forward as one message. I guess if we were to have a message beyond our music, it’s that we’re from various countries and hip-hop has brought us together in Saudi Arabia.
The message and vision we have, as a group, is to establish the hip-hop market in Saudi Arabia. It’s about time we take it to another level. Hip-hop isn’t about holding a mic and rapping. It’s beyond that. We are trying to raise the bar and motivate young MCs to go harder.
Personally, I started making music in 2000 while living in Miami but then stopped for about eight years. Last year, I got back into making music but only after witnessing the rise of the hip-hop scene in Saudi Arabia. This motivated us to start Run Junction.
Hip-hop is poetry, an art that has been part of the Saudi tradition for centuries. This acts as a magical link between hip-hop and our culture.
We make sure we portray each and every message that every member of the group has in mind. We make sure it’s positive and constructive, whether it’s about where we come from, how we came to be who we are and such.

Seeing that my father, Saud Salem, is a well-respected songwriter, I grew up in an environment where I was exposed to the literary arts and music with so many diverse sounds and flavors. He definitely plays a major role in what got me into hip-hop. It is also important to mention that growing up, the hip-hop scene was at a peak and taking over every other genre. I grew up listening to Guru, DJ Premier, Rakim, Eric B and Group Home. Soul music really inspired me to start making music. I’m a big fan of The Dramatics, The Stylistics, Barry White and the amazing Donald Byrd, even though he is a jazz musician.
The two people who got me into hip-hop and made me the MC I am today are Ayham Homsi and Anas Arabikatbi, but my passion for hip-hop is way beyond reason. It’s simply my way of expressing myself.

“J City Chronicles” is a full album produced by producers from Saudi Arabia for the first time, but it’s nothing less than what we hear from outside producers quality and music wise. It’s well structured and on point, Al-Hamdulilah. We have what it takes, and we’re halfway through the second album.
The feedback regarding the album has been much better than we expected. We’d like to thank our fans in France and Morocco for the unlimited support and the awesome feedback. We’d like to thank Mix FM for the support, and of course, you Big Hass and the whole Laish hip-hop team. Also, thanks to all the bloggers, producers, DJs and our fellow artists for their feedback.

Well, there are a variety of tracks to choose from, and I think we provided a unique blend of music from underground to music that’s more commercial. I think there’s something on it for everyone and Saudi Arabia can take pride in the fact that this album was made in Saudi Arabia. There are some issues that the public may find challenging, especially for the more conservative community, but we are just being real and often telling you how we feel, what we think, or what may be happening around us.

Laish hip-hop show is a breakthrough for the hip-hop scene in the Middle East. I believe it is going to be to play a main role for introducing the real meaning and essence of hip-hop to the region, which will complete our message in Run Junction. Big shout out to you Hass, the Laish hip-hop team and Mix FM for airing this amazing show.
The show is a landmark achievement for hip-hop in the region. I know Big Hass is a dedicated person and has the commitment necessary to do the important task of providing an outlet for conscious and different hip-hop not played in the mainstream. We give him our full support and wish him success. He’s the right man for the job, and EVERYONE should support him in this effort.
“Laish hip-hop?” is a question people in the Arab community ask us all the time. I think calling the show Laish hip-hop is basically addressing those people and giving them our answer as to why hip-hop is the type of music we choose. This show is supporting local talent, and that is what we have been in need of for years!

Hip-hop is poetry with a rhythm. That is what links it to the Arab culture. Poetry has a history in the Arabian Peninsula that dates back to days before the prophet (peace be upon him). This is what bridges the cultures and creates a common platform. Hip-hop is new to Saudi Arabia because people around here aren’t familiar with the true essence of it. This is what I am trying to achieve as a Saudi producer along with the Run Junction team: to create and share real hip-hop music and change its image in the region.
Hip-hop brings many different people from various cultural, social, and economic backgrounds together. We have, in our group, representation from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Indonesia, the Philippines, Eritrea, Canada, and the US. Our group is evidence that many different artists from various walks of life have come together because of hip-hop.
In Saudi Arabia, hip-hop is still in its infancy and is a relatively new market. Qusai continues to play an instrumental role for all of us in the country as a pioneer that opened the door for the rest of us. In the next five years, hopefully more quality acts will come out of Saudi Arabia. We have good things to look forward to, though, as Saudi Arabia is host to other talented artists people may or may not be aware of like our brothers at Black Banners and Ayzee. Not to mention that Don Substance is currently in Saudi Arabia and is, in my opinion, the most talented and versatile producer in the Eastern hemisphere.

Because this is our first real collaborative project done on this scale, I think people can expect to hear us getting to know each other. This is the case with any team that comes together. What cannot be denied is that they will hear great beats. We have been blessed with, what I feel, are some of the finest producers in the Middle East in MindCircus, Saif, Uzi, and Anas Arabi. Arabi is not only an excellent engineer and mixer, but he is also one of the brightest, most intelligent, hard-working young men I’ve been privileged to work with. He possesses so many skills. This project couldn’t have been done without him. Vizion played an instrumental role on this album and really anchored a ton of tracks. I want to thank him for stepping up and always bringing it. The guys all worked really hard on this, Moh Flow and Saif were from our harshest critics and we need them to bring more of that. Kaffien stepped up too and filled in a lot of tracks that needed it and Majic always brings it.

I write from the heart. I love being able to write from personal experience or about situations and subjects from my point of view, but most of the time, I can be a crowd pleaser, so I write what feels right.
I draw my inspiration from the world around me and from life experiences.

We may feature some Arabic rappers in the future. I know all of us have incorporated elements of Arabic language and culture into our music. Although I rap primarily in English, I have experimented with using Arabic phrases in my raps. I have even gone so far as to freestyle sometimes in Arabic.

The foundation for Vol. 2 has already begun. Some tracks have been recorded as well. We hope to do some shows, do more interviews, make merchandise available for our fans and make vol. 2 even better.
We have an upcoming project with our brother Qusai (Don Legend), which will be featured in his new album that is scheduled to be out soon, Inshallah. The track is produced by Mind Circus (of Run Junction) and features all the Run Junction Emcees. Also, we have individual projects by Anas Arabi, Moh Flow and Majic, which will see the light soon. Also, there is an R&B LP I’m working on with my brother Ayzee (Hamza Hawsawi) called “The UnderDose,” which features all the producers in Run Junction

I think you’ll begin to see more messages in our music as we go forward. I’d just like to thank everyone involved. Find us on Facebook and become fans.
Thank you Arab News. I’d like to give a big shout out to one of my close friends who works behind the scenes for Run Junction, Vince Ignacio. His effort and work is priceless and we are so lucky to have him as part of the team. Also, a shout out to Anas, Majic, Moh Flow, Uzi, Vizion, Mind Circus Vince, Mohammed Huraib, Kaffien and Tim. Finally, thanks to each and every fan and supporter of Run Junction
I’d like to thank Arab News for giving us this chance to let people know who we are and what we are trying to accomplish. I think this is one of the greatest means of support we can get on paper. To the readers of Arab News: you are who we make this music for, so we really hope you tune in.

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