DJ Outlaw is one of Bahrain’s brightest musical talents. We meet him
Time Out Bahrain staff
What stands out on History in the Making is the compilation of rappers that are showcased, representing countries from across the globe? Well it’s been the product of three year’s work with lyrics by regional rappers such as Flipp, Army of One, Kaz Money, Desert Heat and collaborators from the US, Canada and the UK. I spend a lot of time travelling and working with these artists. My aim was to make it universal, like a bridge between the East and West. You’ll hear one track from Lebanon featuring a girl from New York and then a rapper from Dubai talking about the same theme of unity. People here think that because we are doing Hip Hop that we’re trying to be American, but to me it’s what influences you have; fashion is influenced by many cultures and adopted by designers who create their own style. We need to get out of that framework and accept it as a universal genre of music.
It’s certainly a mixture of styles that range from jumpy gangsta rap to R&B with verse that explores experiences in the Middle East and those in the West. Yeah, the CD has attitude and defiance as there were skeptics that implied we couldn’t do it. Well we have and it’s like no one can stop us now. The lyrics also explore the views of the rappers from East to West about struggle, poverty and what is wrong with the world. There is a track called FTS with rappers from Washington DC, Mississippi, Mexico and Bahrain. There are references to unemployment and people faking who they are instead of just being themselves. It’s about time people started talking about what is going on here and music is a perfect vehicle to express these things freely. A few tracks are about war and corruption in the world but with a theme of peace and unity, as we want to create peace through music. There are also plenty of happy, upbeat tracks to enjoy.
It’s rap with a Middle Eastern signature as you’ve looped Arabic instruments in with keyboards and guitar. It’s an exciting sound. I’ve created beats that offer a varied base for the rhymes and verses, blending Arabic sounds with synthesised effects. This interacts with the rhythm really well, creating an interesting flow. I mix it up so people can relate to the music. If you’re into love songs or club music we have it, so it should appeal to a wide group of listeners. Some of the collaboration was done on the internet with artists coming to Bahrain to work on the recording. The lyrics were written and submitted to create the beats so it was an expansive project.
The CD has been released under the Urfilez label which is a new digital distribution company and record label based in Bahrain. How does this work? Urfilez has been set up to legally sell music online in the vein of itunes. It will have many dimensions to its operation: scouting for new talent, producing and distributing new releases and providing video clips. They have a state of the art recording studio in Bahrain and will soon be opening a studio in Abu Dhabi. Urfilez has collaborated with the top record labels in the world to provide a library with the full catalogues from these companies so you can purchase all genres of music, big name artists including an extensive range of Indian, Arabic, Persian and Western music. An important goal is to seek talent from this region and provide professional producers and engineers to enable potential artists to reach a wider audience. So if you think you have talent, contact Urfilez online and the artist and repertoire panel will review your work.
How much does online music cost? An average price to buy and download a track is about 300 fils. The price varies slightly depending on whether the track is a new release etc. The site is powered by Zain and you can buy music online using your Zain phone account. The cost of the track will be deducted from your phone credit. Alternatively, you can just use a credit card.
So we can buy your CD at Urfilez? Yes. The next step will be hard copies that Urfilez will distribute through Virgin and Euphoria in this region. History in the Making is out now at www.urfilez.com.