As the region’s sonic industry continues to stun the world, regardless of genre, one country, in particular, seems to be doing so at a much faster pace than the rest of its neighbors. And that country is none other than Saudi Arabia, which, in recent years, not only opened itself up to the outside world but also invested in and developed its own infrastructures for its citizens to thrive.
Since 2015, the Gulf State is by most standards considered almost unrecognizable. As the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman diffused his vision of the Saudi of tomorrow to the rest of the kingdom, a whole segment of society has finally been given a voice, with relevant tools, to tap into their creativity and drive innovation. With a focus on diversifying the economy and reducing dependency on oil, the largest country of the Arab peninsula has witnessed a remarkable transformation in various sectors, including in the arts as well as the cultural space, where more and more individuals are now daring to harness their talent and express it with the largest audience possible.
Once muted and now unapologetically loud, Saudi’s scene is a driving force on the regional and global stage, and that’s thanks to the rich slate of creatives that are spearheading the movement and supporting it from within. Of the notable names that come to mind when thinking about the country stands 35-year-old Moayad Alnefaie, the first rapper signed to MDLBEAST Records, whose leap from comedy to rap has just materialized into an exciting debut album, released today.
Available on digital streaming platforms since the early hours of this morning, the 13-track-long project, dubbed Batn Al Shaer, has invited some of the region’s best lyricists to amplify the message his first sonic statement carries, with artists like The Synaptik, N’Titled, LEGE-CY, Randar, and Anas Arabi all contributing to Alnefaie’s debut album.
Working alongside Badiya — a creative studio led by Mohamed Al Kindi (@Chndy) and Mohammed Al Hamdan (who goes by the moniker @Warchieff online)— the duo admitted on Instagram that the venture was two long years in the making before seeing the light of day, culminating in a release we can only assume they’re proud to finally share with fans.
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Serving as a first public probing of Alnefaie’s influences, references, behind-the-mic-abilities, and overall palette of taste, the eclectic debut album, which carries just as many punching beats as soothing guitar samples and electronic percussions, invites listeners to embark on a mesmerizing journey through a genre-defying collection of songs we can only expect to hear more of throughout the rapper’s musical journey.
But, before thinking about which steps the Riyadh-based artist will be taking next, for now, the onus is placed on digesting what has been strung together in the present, appreciating the efforts put in, and most importantly taking the time to fully immerse into the rich tapestry of sounds woven throughout Batn El Shaer— which we’re about to do ourselves.
Click here to stream Batn El Shaer by Moayad.