There’s a real buzz around the local music scene in Saudi Arabia right now, as we count down the days till music mega-festival, Soundstorm, which is set to kick off on Thursday 16th of December. While most eyes have been gazing at the international names set to take to the stage as part of the four-day event in Riyadh, there are plenty of local names on the line-up and the feastival has a critical role to play in spotlighting a local music scene that has been attracting more and more ears regionally.
One particular sector of the music scene has been particularly buzzing - rap - and two of its most unique voices have come together for a special collaboration. Usually seen alongside frequent collaborator, Ahmedoo Biggie, Saud G has teamed up with a man who made a mark this year with exceptional August-released album, Dawda2, the enigma that is BLVXB.
Melancholic keys open ‘Blame’ and though they subside pretty soon into the track, they set the tone for a piece that has a ethereal quality to it. A hip-hop/R&B beat carries proceedings along, alongside a songic ensemble that creates a distinct soundscape - but one that isn’t so intrusive that it gets in the way of the vocals, allowing for the two rappers to reflect and express.One thing of note is the use of auto-tune, something that has come to be a defining part of Egyptian rap. Both rappers’ vocal delivery actually seem to be influenced by Egyptian rap’s melange with shaabi music and how the latter has come to shape many Egyptian rappers’ flow in the venn diagram of singing/rapping.
All these elements come together to create a slow burner of a track, one that pulls you deeper on every listen. It’s also a meeting of two minds that stand amongst the very best in Saudi’s rap scene - and that in itself is something to shout about.