Did you always want to be a rapper? If not, at what point did you decide this was the path to go down?
As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to make music. i really got engulfed into it at a young age and the bug just never left. First I started by simply writing down words, a basic form of poetry really and as I grew older that evolved into rapping and ever since then music and rap in particular became my life.
Can you give us some backstory about your childhood and teenage years?
I’m Egyptian, but was born in Doha, Qatar, I then moved to Tokyo, Japan for around 5 years, and then returned back to Doha. Tokyo was my main introduction to music. I went to an American School while I was living there; I must’ve been the only Egyptian kid in that entire school. Being surrounded by hundreds of kids mainly from America and Japan meant I was surrounded by all types of music and Hip Hop being one of them. This was the prologue of my music relationship. I then continued most of my childhood and teen years in Doha, where I spent most of my time being involved in music somehow or someway.
When you did your first tracks, how did you get hold of your instrumentals? Did you know a producer or were you buying beats online?
At the beginning, I didn’t even know producers sold beats online. Most of the instrumentals I used to get were basically instrumental versions of actual songs by other artists. I think I was 13 or 14 at the time. That’s when I made my first songs — I remember one of my earliest ones was to the beat of Mos Def- ‘Travelling Man’ and Jay‑Z ‘Feeling It’. I was using a banged-up laptop, and a mad cheap mic, I used tissue paper as a pop filter and used audacity for a software. As time passed by I realized there’s 100s of producer selling beats online and started meeting producers but before that I just took it upon myself to learn how to make beats. I still do make beats but currently focus more on the rap side of things
On your Soundcloud information, you say that this is a time when Hip-Hop is reinventing itself, can you give your opinion on where hip-hop is going?
I think Hip Hop will always reinvent itself, I think it’s impossible to say where something this big is going, so many different streams and “sub-genres” diverging into their own space. But what I do know is that hip hop will continue to evolve and will be here to stay for a very long time. Hopefully forever.
If you could collaborate with any artist at the moment, who would it be?
Kendrick, J Cole, Eminem, Jay Z, Bryson Tiller, Pharrell, just off the top of my head and in no particular order — oh also Schoolboy Q , Ab-Soul, SZA and Jhene Aiko.
What is the hip-hop scene like in the middle east?
Like any other scene it’s growing, slowly but surely. But It still seems to be fragmented and disconnected. The area still seems to lack the basic infrastructure to grow and connect artists and producers and everyone in between . There’s still a huge lack in having different platforms to showcase talent and the amount of talent has increased in amount and quality. There are still minimum opportunities for these people to be able to sustain making music or even flourish In the region. Hopefully it gets better but I wouldn’t hold my breath and I don’t think I’d personally have the patience to wait for it.
Do you feel with current affairs at times you use your music as tool to express and highlight the issues we have in the world?
I try to keep my music as personal and honest as possible. I believe that’s the only way to make timeless music that people can relate to. As far as current affairs, I think I’d only address issues I’ve experienced or encountered first hand. And if I were to address other current affairs I’d address it through a personal perspective rather than a social orobjective one.
Tell us abit about the albums you have released - The leaf banger and Beating Red? What were the tones of these albums?
I’ve done a few mixtapes before but Beating Red was my first official album — the album revolved around the trials and tribulations of love, lust and broken relationships. It takes you through a journey from end to end — meeting a girl you’re interested in to the anger and rage of the heartbreak. There’s a few songs on there that still strike chords with me.
The leaf Banger album was fun — the concept was “how many club banger hit type tracks can we make” the purpose was to show range and get club performances since that’s the most common way to get shows around here. It’s a fun “jump up and down” and dance out album
What can we expect from you in the near future?
A Leaf Banger 2 album — that’s facts! Also a new album/project ‑as far as I’m concerned at the moment, the name of that album will “Golden Cages”.
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