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Rapping with Germans and Saudis in Jeddah

German and Saudi rappers mix it up

More than 60 aspiring Saudi rappers packed out the German consulate general's home in Jeddah to learn about rap and hip hop.

Some of the more than 60 aspiring Saudi rappers who packed out the German consulate general’s home in Jeddah to learn more about rap and hip hop.

German Consul General Rolf Theodor Schuster held a “mind-blowing” concert put on by German and Saudi rappers at his residence here in Jeddah on Wednesday evening, January 30. This live performance was given ample coverage in the local Saudi Gazette. I went out to dinner with these rappers and hip hop artists later in the evening.

A “Jeddah Hip Hop Jam,” organized by the German Consulate General in cooperation with Universal Legends Entertainment, was a cross-cultural event which featured well-known German singer and producer Max Herre and Saudi rapper “Qusai.” Qusai has made quite a name for himself, having co-hosted MTV Arabia’s Hip Hop Na music competition back in 2007. Since then, he has hosted the two latest editions of Arab TV’s Arabs Got Talent, and he has won the epithet of “Middle East’s Hip-Hop Ambassador.” Qusai and Herre were accompanied by talented Jeddah hip hop crews “J-FAM” and “Run Junction.”

The Artists channeled a mixture of emotions through their music ranging from concern for the latest social developments in the region to a genuine respect for the traditional Arabic and Muslim culture.

The Saudi Gazette gave an excellent review of the the evening’s music, stating, “The concert showed a rare acknowledgement of Saudi artists’ level of maturity and their ability to portray their exact socio-cultural context without suggesting stereotypical hip-hop rhymes as well as allowing deeper understanding of the German hip-hop tradition which is somewhat influenced by the Middle East.”

Three-day workshop for aspiring Saudi rappers

Arabs Got Talent TV host  and rapper artist  Qusai Kheder.

Arabs Got Talent TV host and rapper artist Qusai Kheder.

The live performances were followed by a three-day workshop involving 60 young local aspiring rappers and producers. The workshop enabled the upcoming Saudi musicians a chance to personally meet and share experiences with Qusai, Herre and J-FAM, who recorded a song together, premiering their collaborative work at the event.

The concert was opened by the energetic and Saudi-based acts Run Junction and J-FAM. Both crews paid a musical tribute to Jeddah, creating a pleasant atmosphere, followed by German rapper Herre, who enthusiastically shared information about his 20 years of experience in the music industry.

Herre was greeted enthusiastically by the audience. Responding to his local devotees, he encouraged them to look around them for inspiration. He said, “I find inspiration in personal experiences and the society that surrounds me. The social consciousness demonstrated in these years by young Arab citizens who took action to defend their rights was a great stimulus for my own creativity.”

Herre said he was impressed by the local Saudi talent and encouraged the rappers to come out with their own original stories.

Life’s experiences are their inspiration

Herre was interviewed by The Saudi Gazette, and there he spoke about inspiration that comes from hard times and good times. He said Saudi rap must be about Saudi experiences. “I always tell young talents to talk about their lives and experiences exploiting the lyrical potentialities of their native language instead of imitating American rappers.”

Herre also said networking with other artists was crucial.  “Before competing, it’s important to be united through a common networking platform. It’s fundamental to go on the internet, search for other rap crews from the region, country or town and exploit any networking occasion.”

Qusai entertained the enthusiastic Jeddah crowd with some of his popular hits in both English and Arabic.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Qusai explained the concept behind his latest album, “I believe the millennium is the true change that started in 2011 when Arabs woke up and started to express themselves. And change is certain; it happened, it’s happening, and it will happen. It’s inevitable.”

A big “Hats off!” to the German consulate for their support of these artists!

Here’s one of Qusai’s songs from his album Yalla:

February 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments