These days, when you think of hip-hop music, the likes of Jay Z, Drake or Nicki Minaj immediately spring to mind. America has the monopoly on the genre, it seems, but Bahraini rapper Flipperachi (real name Hussam Aseem) is one of a number of talented regional artists who have been trying to change that for some time now.
Flipp, as he’s also known, started making up rhymes in his bedroom 13 years ago. That was before he met one of Bahrain’s most well-known stars, producer and DJ Outlaw (born Mohammed Hasan), back in 2008, and joined Outlaw Productions.
Since then, he’s featured on Outlaw’s History in the Making album and launched his own debut Straight Out of 2Seas. Now, he’s partnered up with Kuwaiti star Daffy (aka Nawaf Fahed) to drop 9arat, a brand-new album, featuring chart-topping Ee Laa, which got more than one million views on YouTube in three weeks.
“[The album is] a fusion of hip-hop, R&B and Arabic rhythm,” explains Daffy. “That’s the overall vibe, but each track has its own identity and style, too. There’s a mix of lyrical tracks, humorous tracks, club bangers and soulful R&B songs.”
Originally, Daffy and Flipp were working on two separate albums, but it was all taking too long, DJ Outlaw explains. “We all agreed that if we put all our focus into creating one album, we’d have a much stronger product,” he tells us. “Their styles complement each other, so it was a no-brainer.”
It’s not just the two of them, either, as 9arat also features the work of producers and songwriters such as Lil’ Eddie, who has written songs for the likes of Usher and Jessie J, and Mazen Murad, who has mastered albums for artists such as M.I.A, Björk, Muse and The Rolling Stones.
Unsurprisingly, with so many influences, the album incorporates a number of messages that listeners of all ages can relate to. “We put so much of ourselves into it so people get to know us better as artists,” Flipp tells us.
“I hope that when people listen to it, they can see that we, as artists from Bahrain and Kuwait, can deliver music that is up to an international level.” Move over, Kanye.
Available for BD6 at Virgin Megastore, City Centre Bahrain (17 172 300).
Don'tmiss Four tracks on the new album
In three weeks, the brand-new single racked up more than one million YouTube views and topped the iTunes MENA charts. The video features familiar faces, including Radio Bahrain’s Imran Al Aradi and DJ Outlaw Jr.
Although Flipp tells us all the tracks are special to him, he names this tune as his favourite. “I love the switches in the beat and the intensity of the lyrics,” he tells Time Out. “Daffy was on a whole other level on this track!”
One of Daffy’s favourite’s on the album, this song was written by US singer-songwriter Lil’ Eddie. “He did an incredible job on the lyrics and I felt like the song challenged me a little, which is great,” says the 30-year-old Kuwaiti.
This catchy tune created a stir online when it dropped in 2015. No, the song is not a lyrical tribute to the region’s favourite pastry, but a nickname for a stranger, Daffy explained to the Gulf Daily News at the time.