When Sudanese rap is brought to the table, one typically thinks of the diversity of the burgeoning scene, but one particular personality stands out - and personality is a fitting word. With a diverse catalog to his back, speaking with the tone of the street, as ‘Nesr El Scene’ likes to say, resonating with the Sudanese people on an artistic and personal level.
When we speak about rap across the region, one scene doesn't get nearly enough credit or attention: Sudan. Arguably as eclectic as any scene, there seems to be a consistent production line of talent emerging, a whole host of voices reflecting the modern Sudanese experience, whether that’s at home or in the diaspora.
One personality, however, has consistently stood out: the man they call Soulja.
From the moment his official debut saw the light in 2020, the rapper instantly established himself as one of the most unique artists to come out of the country. That debut, ‘Marrakesh’, saw him teaming up with compatriots artists O’D and RoTation, serving up a heart taste of what was to come. Fast-forward two years, Soulja has become a household name within the MENA region, with releases such as ‘Charleston’ and, most recently, ‘Bringi’, racking up millions of views and listens.
Before his long-awaited debut performance in Cairo, presented by SceneNoise in collaboration with CairoJazzClub610, our own Ahmed Khalaf sat down with the Sudanese star to discuss his simple beginnings, how ‘Soulja’ came to be, his connection with MENA-based collective SVNBIRDS, and more.