Posts Tagged ‘Rap

Horns Up Podcast: Episode 12

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Hacktivist hacked the music industry in 2011 with their Rap meets Djent sound. There was a polarizing response to the band but they kept going and have performed around the world including in Mumbai, India at the Big69 festival in 2015 where Animesh and I caught them live.

We spoke to vocalist J Hurley about their meteoric rise to success, their latest single Reprogram  and also their upcoming plans

We also discuss the Indian band Bloodywood and their addition to the Wacken Open Air line up. Hit the Play button and raise those Horns Up!

Written by trendcrusher

April 30, 2019 at 11:00 am

DJ Solo

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A throwback interview from when I used to write for Mid East Dynasty.

Neil Andrew aka DJ Solo is a turntablist and producer. Originally from High Wycombe and London, U.K., he now lives in Dubai, UAE. Read on to find out more about his EP “Who is Wriggly Scott?”, how Neil got the “DJ Solo” moniker and more.

Hi Neil, hows it going? Congrats on the release of your “Who Is Wriggly Scott” EP. How has the response to it been so far?

The response so far has been amazing both here and abroad. It’s been featured on various blogs and radio shows in the US and Europe, and one of the tracks is currently no.21 in the US College/Internet Radio Chart.

When did you start working on the EP? What was the writing and recording process like?

I didn’t specifically start working on an EP, and was just working on separate tracks. After a few of them came together and I did the track ‘Tangible Dream’ with Orifice Vulgatron, I think it was his encouragement which made me decide to try and release something. So from then on I would write beats, and then contact MCs that I knew and thought would suit specific tracks. The only MCs that recorded their verses in my studio were Feras, Jibberish and Orifice, all of the others sent their verses from abroad. It was actually a pretty smooth process all in all.

How did you choose which MCs to work with? How did you get J Live to feature on your EP?

The guys that I worked with were all friends that I’d known or worked with before, and it really was more of a case of suiting certain beats to certain MCs – obviously it depends on which beats they’re feeling also, or the verses would lack energy. In the back of my mind however I did have the inkling that I wanted it to have broad spectrum of nationalities on it. I met J-Live a few years ago when he performed here. Myself and Solphonic always said that we could retire from producing if we ever worked with him, – he’s really been one of my favourite MCs for a long time. Anyway, I managed to get in touch with him via Ben McDonald (Mach 4), who was originally involved in bringing him to perform here, luckily J liked the track and we took it from there, it reminded me of one of the beats off his second LP which is why I felt it would suit him.

“Who Is Wriggly Scott” EP will be released digitally by Dented Records, how did the deal come about?

Honestly it just kind of came up in conversation. I remember when I recorded Orifice’s verse (he’s a co-founder of Dented Records) for ‘Tangible Dream’ he said “you’d better do something with it”, or something like that. I think later on he just asked me if I’d like to release it on the label, to which of course I said yes. It’s been a real learning curve so far, and I’m lucky to have landed on a label that’s professional, and is already established with such great contacts in the industry. As a producer, especially in this region, it’s hard to guage the quality of your work and we always look to producer such as J Dilla or Madlib, as opposed to someone in London who probably knows a producer who lives on his street corner with a string of releases under his belt – I mean it’s great that we do that because that’s a very high standard to set yourself, but it can also make you question the level of your production.

When did you start DJing using turntables?

Well I started collecting records when I was 13 or 14 as it seemed that I could only buy the hip hop I liked on vinyl at the time. I bought my first turntable I think when I was 14 or 15, it was a belt-driven JB Systems Disco 2000 – I bought it from my friend who also threw in loads of old Jungle records. I used to call friends and scratch down the phone on my one turntable – my first DJ name was ‘The Deck Destroyer’.By the time I was 16 some of my friends were DJing, but they were all playing Jungle, Garage or Happy Hardcore and as none of them were playing Hip Hop I felt like it was kind of my duty as my home town (High Wycombe) once had a thriving hip hop scene which nobody seemed to be catering for anymore, so for my birthday I asked for another turntable – this time a belt-driven Soundlab – so my set-up didn’t even match. I also got a Kam GM25 mixer whish was particularly bad. I then changed my name to ‘The Drunken Master’, but it turned out there already was one in Wycombe, so I called myself ‘Peter Parker’ and later ‘Hash Solo’ (which stuck and became shortened once I moved to the U.A.E.) When I was 18 I visited New York with my Art College, and actually saved my money so that upon my return I could buy some Vestax turntables, the rest is history.

Do you play any musical instruments ?

I used to pay the piano growing up, then the guitar but unfortunately put them down when I started DJing. I still like to play the keys when I’m producing and also record a lot of percussion to give it a more ‘live’ feel. My mother and sister were both piano teachers, and I definitely feel that having even a small background in music theory helps me to structure things more musically when producing or scratching. I did take the piano up again a few years back, but due to a heavy workload had to drop it again.

When did you move to UAE? How did you get involved in the music scene?

Around 7 years ago. At first I played at a few MIS parties, and those guys later opened ibo, where I used to play quite regularly. I also played at some of the Global Funk parties. I actually gained a lot of exposure by just handing out mixtapes wherever I went. After meeting Dany Neville, he offered me guest spots on his show so that also helped a lot. Just meeting like-minded people leads you to meet more such people and before you know it you have a good circle of contacts.

The hip hop scene has been slowly developing in the UAE and the Middle East in the past few years, where do you see it going in the future?

Hip Hop and music as a whole has always been an extremely powerful tool to get your message across, but it’s a shame that many of the artists that I revere in this region seemingly don’t get enough exposure. Not only are record companies or club promoters generally more interested in the more commercially-viable artists, but individuals often get held back from traveling or studying abroad due to which passport they hold. Honestly I cannot predict where it will be in the future in the same way you cannot predict where this region as a whole will be next year, but I do see it growing and hope that the scene continues to develop in diverse ways.

You have a weekly online radio show “Another music” and also run a weekly club night “Freshly Laced”, any other ventures that we should know of?

Hmm, well I’m already working on my follow-up release which will be the first official release under the guise of ‘Wriggly Scott’ – it will be a lot more diverse in terms of the production, and will feature a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks. I’m also working on a release for one of my other aliases ‘Ductchild’ which is much more moody, electronic stuff. I have another few ideas kicking around my head for collaborations but I have to keep them secret for the time being.

What are your plans for the rest of 2011?

Mainly to continue working on my production. I think that after my second or third release I will start looking into performing abroad more but am in no rush right now.

Written by trendcrusher

March 15, 2018 at 10:00 am

The Recipe

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The Recipe started out as a hip hop collective in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to record a compilation album and help promote the culture. In the past 8 years, the group has gone on to release multiple mixtapes and support international artists ranging from  Snoop Dogg, Fat Boy Slim to Foreign Beggars and Pendulum.

The Recipe is currently 3 MC’s, Swerte, Kaz Money and Perfect Storm and their first studio album Funerals & Purgatory releases today. Check out the first single, Uma Thurman. 


Here is a throwback to an interview I did with Swerte and Jabbar when they first started out in 2009.


What is “The Recipe”?Who is cooking it?

Swerte: The recipe is a collection of hip hop artists in the UAE, who are trying to push the scene here by doing gigs and putting out a mixtape  which is currently being produced. The Two people behind it are Jabbar and myself (swerte)

Why the name “The Recipe”?

Swerte: Cus the people involved are the main “ingredients” in the hip hop culture here. Hehe. plus we wrestled with a name for so long and we always referred to the studio as the kitchen. it’s cliché in a way to say that we ‘cook up’ tracks in the studio but, we were just having fun and joking around. Hip hop has this serious, gangsta bling bling appearance.. we wanted it to be fun and more about the music and talent.

Where did the idea/inspiration for “The Recipe” come from?

Swerte: It came about from just watching people try things and fail. I think artists here were just going about things the wrong way. They had this idea that in order to be a star you had to act like one already. So they were reaching for goals they couldn’t reach. We wanted to bring it back down to pure talent and entertainment. Focus more on us and what we were doing instead of trying to impress record labels.

What differentiates “The Recipe” from Hip-hop/Rap that is normally heard on radio or seen on TV?

Swerte: Its local talent for one. And the artists are talking about issues that people herein the uae face and deal with.

What is “Dead-Ears Productions”?

Swerte: Hahahahaha.. a joke. Jabbar has this production house called “deaf ears” and  mine is called “dead end”… so it was either  gonna be “deaf end” or “dead ears” when we worked together.. again.. we just having fun

Since both of you have lived in other countries, do you notice any difference in the Hip-hop/Rap artists and fans in the UAE?

Swerte: All in all I think the culture here is still very young.. its just getting past the mimicking stage.. all hip hop cultures start off by mimicking what they see on tv. it takes awhile before they start developing their own styles and incorporate their own native culture to build a hip hop scene they can call their own.

Jabbar: also at the same time, very few people in the media actually support the local talent which has been discouraging for a lot of artists. you have to look at the UAE population, a lot of people see the country as a pit stop, so they don’t take time to listen to the local talent and would rather listen to international artists they are familiar with. this dictates radio and club playlists…in most of the other major cities, they support their local talent…but we have a feeling things are about to change.

Tell me a bit about your musical background.

Swerte: Check out my myspace.

Jabbar: I don’t have a musical background really..never had training in music…just love making it tho

What have you been listening to lately?

Swerte: A lot of british hip hop.. it goes well with the rain that’s been happening.

Jabbar: Most of the stuff being put out is crap, so I’ve been listening a lot Lupe, The Roots, and some JayZ here and there.

27th of March was the first live gig for “The Recipe”, how was it performing live for the first time? What was the response from the audience?

Swerte: It was amazing. I don’t think anyone, especially us, expected it to be so successful and enjoyable. The crowd was absolutely amazing.

Jabbar: What was encouraging was the crowd’s feedback considering they haven’t heard most of the music.  Not only did the crowd enjoyed but everyone on stage was so psyched up about it that we wanted to keep performing.

Do you any more live gigs planned in the coming months?

Swerte: We’re looking at doing as many as we can. Maybe even going on tour around the region. But we’ll see.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2009?

Swerte: Make music and travel.

Jabbar: Continue making music…and try to make it my primary source of income!


Written by trendcrusher

September 28, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Interviews

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Mideast Dynasty Press Release

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I’ve been writing for Mideast Dynasty for a few months now and its going great so far. Through the site I’ve been exposed to a different music scene.  Check out the press release below for more information about the site and the people behind it. enters the Hip-Hop blogosphere as a bridge to fuse to American and Middle Eastern music

New York, NY – June 13, 2011 – reveals their highly anticipated website with hopes of bridging the sound barrier that exists between the Middle East and America.

Founded and owned by Los Angeles/Dubai-based rapper, Deen and business partners, Joe Park & Sekander Bekeran. features artists based out of the Middle East region, as well as, artists from all over the world with a Middle Eastern, North African or South Asian background.

“As an artist, who is based out of L.A. & the Middle East, I’ve seen the struggles and limitations artists experience trying to get themselves heard through media outlets relevant to the Middle East region.  I felt it was necessary to create a place where Middle Eastern artists could be found and recognized for their work.  With our goal is to not only provide artists a place to have their music showcased, but we also hope to create celebrity around them and help break them into the regional & international markets,” says founder, Deen.

With a focus on primarily anything hip-hop related relevant to the Middle East, the artists featured have a Middle Eastern background or Muslim faith as artists are based and viewed by the population in the region.  Also featured are artists that have worked with Middle Eastern artists and those who have created content around topics that effect the region.  Keeping up with the trends and co-branding exclusive bloggers like “Danny Good News” introduces content from the States & around the Western world and seeks to familiarize people with the overall goal of bridging the gap between the West & and the Middle East.  Over 50 artists from all over the world have been featured on the site, so far.  Artists such as:  Deen (Dubai/LA), Arabian Knightz, Ghost, DJ Warrior, Fredwreck, Belly, Bishop Lamont, Lowkey, Malikah, Shadia Mansour, DJ Lethal Skillz, and the list goes on.

“I think this is a dope concept, just seeing music from another country that still fuses America in their brand is a step in the right direction for music as a whole,” says New York DJ Self and blog owner of

Using as a tool to break mainstream artists into the Middle East region and vice versa, the site will have spotlight and contributors from major labels to assist with scouting efforts and placements.

About MIDEASTDYNASTY.COM is a hip hop news website founded in 2011. Using all things relevant to the Middle East, hip-hop encouragement and using music to uplift the community, features artists nationally and internationally and provides exposure across the regions.

Written by trendcrusher

June 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm

MidEast Dynasty

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I am now writing also for MidEast Dynasty, in addition to and,  Those  wondering why I am writing for  a hip hop website, well….I’m not  the BIGGEST hip hop fan but I do check out hip hop from UAE/Middle East sometimes.

The founder of MidEast Dynasty, Nasir Akmal aka Deen had got it contact with me in 2008 when I was writing for Spin Earth.  Late last year, he wanted to start a website for the Hip Hop scene in the Middle East and asked me if I would be interested in being involved. After months of planning and a lot more the website is now live!!!

Check it out even if you are not a fan of hip hop, you will discover some new music.

Written by trendcrusher

May 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Posted in Updates

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