Rap music isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of Saudi Arabia. Just a few years ago, listening to and making music was hugely frowned upon as its not in line with the nation’s core Islamic values.
However, things seem to have taken a whole new turn following a slew of reforms that have eased the government’s grip on pop culture, granting openings for creatives to explore and navigate between. Since then, the Kingdom has now found itself promoting art-centered activities rather than criminalizing them like it once used to.
As you can imagine, rap is definitely part of the now-turned legal scenes that are starting to thrive and if you’re still looking for Saudi ambassadors of the movement, read on for the artists who you should pay close attention to.
If not on Twitter, you have probably come across Skinny on TikTok as his hit Never Snitch was one the most viral songs of 2019. The 32-year-old MC, born in Riyadh but based in the US, has been in the industry for almost a decade now, building a name for himself all while repping his home country along the way. His latest track, in collaboration with Swizz Beatz, marked his comeback after a two-year-long hiatus owing to the pandemic. Tatted from head to toe, Skinny really isn’t the typical artists you’d expect to be hailing from the Kingdom, but either way, he’s definitely someone whose music you want to check out.
Taking her home country’s rap scene by storm, 25-year-old Jara is one of Saudi Arabia’s rising stars as the self-proclaimed “hoodjabi” already has a large following of social media fans who are witnessing the Jeddah-born artist slowly cement her name as one that will soon be impossible to forget. Based between Saudi Arabia and Sweden, the political science and psychology graduate has taken a huge career shift that she is seemingly not regretting at all. Fresh and undeniably cool, make sure to keep Jara under your radar.
Already a household name in his native Saudi Arabia, Blvxb’s melancholic deep voice plays with the constraints of both trap and drill all while using a vernacular that those hailing from the Gulf State will be able to relate to and identify with. An adamant member of the new school wave that’s currently passing by, his rise to the industry’s summits is happening one step at a time and we cannot way to him reach that point.
With a quarter of a million followers on Instagram, it’s safe to say that Slow Moe is one of Saudi Arabia and the region’s heavy hitters. Widely considered as an “OG” by his peers, the rapper’s flow is a blend of old school with a balady touch. Unique in his prose, the Saudi artist generates numbers that his peers can only wish for. Although he’s been around for a while, you can quote us when we tell you that he’ll be around for the long run.