JEDDAH — Hip-hop music is becoming increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia with the rise of young artists who are mainly influenced by American hip-hop culture.
To enhance mutual understanding through cultural exchange, the US Embassy held a workshop by two American hip-hop artists Edan and Paten at the US Consulate General here recently. Both have received international attention and critical acclaim.
Hip-hop music lovers at the workshop get an insight into America’s culture and its people when they interacted with the artists, learned about the history of hip-hop, and enjoyed the creative music that keeps people on their feet from all over the world.
Edan is known for his unlikely take on hip-hop culture, where traditional rap songs are often modified by adding musical themes from 60’s rock, audio distortions, and phrases from foreign languages in the choruses. Paten is experienced at deejaying, rhyming, beat production, and live performances.
Edan and Paten, both solo artists, have been good friends for years. This was their first visit to Jeddah. Earlier, the duo visited Bahrain and other regions in the Kingdom.
“We heard a little about the Arab hip-hop culture so we really can’t judge,” said Edan who is based in New York City.
Inspired by artists such as James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, Edan and Paten appreciate old school hip-hop. “It’s not the golden era for hip-hop anymore, so it’s harder to get by,” said Paten.
With roots in the urban cities of the US, hip-hop has developed a musical genre and a culture that is enjoyed around the globe. Many fans and performers of hip-hop see this musical form as an ultimate form of expression and storytelling and even compare it to poetry. Hip-hop artists often use the art form to tell their own stories of where they have come from, the challenges they face and the dreams they possess.
The two artists gave a presentation on the history of hip-hop and its origins, explaining how the rhythm and beats of hip-hop are as equally important as the words. These rhythms harken back to the traditions of jazz and blues music, while incorporating more modern elements from rock ‘n’ roll and electronic music.
As a modern and living music form, hip-hop continues to evolve and with each performance it reflects the current state in which the artist finds himself. Electronic and technological components have allowed hip-hop artists to create new sounds and styles that are a delight to the ear while their energetic stage presence creates a visual spectacle for the eye to behold.
Big Hass, Founder of Re-Volt Radio Blog and host the Hip Hop FM Radio Show “Laish Hip-Hop” on Mix FM, were also among the audience. “It was great to host and MC an event where local art is promoted and supported. Most of the audience where shocked of the potential that is available here. All these artists need is a platform and they is what they got that at the US Consulate.”
“Moreover having an authentic Hip Hop Group from the US is huge because Hip Hop is a genre that is misrepresented by what the mass media — TV, radios, video clips — are offering. Edan and Paten offered the true essence of how hip hop was created and personally I was very delighted with the dialogue that was created between the local artists and them. Indeed it was a bridging culture event and I hope we see more of that in the future,” Hass added.