Monday, February 26, 2018


As promised, here's the interview with Moroccan Pop artist "MANAL" , I truly appreciate her and I see huge things coming for her. Shout Out to the team at Sony Music Middle-East for hooking that up. 
I truly loved her answers! read the full interview below!

BIG HASS: Young female artists do not represent the majority in the regional music scene. It's refreshing to see rising artists like yourself stepping in with a unique style. Do you feel like there is a big responsibility on your shoulders or shoes to fill? 

MANAL: Yes. It’s important for women to be represented in the scene, to have their voices heard and their art appreciated and critiqued so I feel the responsibility to make great music, raise the game and show not only that we can do it but that we can do it as good or even better.

BH: Where have you found support? Who inspires you and who helped you pave your first steps into the industry? 

MANAL: I find support from many people ranging from family and friends to colleague artists and my fans and general fans of music. I’m inspired by life itself. My art reflects my experiences in life, be they thoughts, situations, opinions, etc. That’s usually the first step towards a song for me. When converting that into music I find much inspiration in the people that work with me. My manager Cilvaringz would be first, we discuss pretty much everything from beginning till end together. Then studio time is set up with the Wa Drari Squad which consists of Shayfeen, Madd, Xcep, West, DaMost and producers Soufiane AZ and Yo Asel. That’s when the magic happens.

BH: A fusion of elements from different music styles. How would you describe your music style? Do you like being boxed into one category or do you think music is a large space for experimenting?

MANAL: I’m definitely in a space for experimenting. Being an artist, being creative means you should express yourself in multiple ways reflecting your mood, your message, the different diverse parts that define you. You can generally define me as Urban Pop. But if a certain issue arises one day which requires me to express it through death metal, I would definitely not mind doing it. I’m open to all the elements and have a broad range of musical tastes. It’s just that many people never knew this as I was directed more into one particular genre by my previous guidance. But it was the same people who also noticed I could do rap music.

BH: What does Hassan Hajjaj mean to you? & how important is his support?

MANAL: Hassan is a genius, an original free thinker who brings beauty, reflection and style. I met him through Cilvaringz and sometimes you just immediately click with a person. Hassan was one of those people. Such a warm person, truly love him and his support is one that I’m truly honoured by. 

Manal - Photo by Hassan Hajjaj

BH: Women empowerment is a leading topic nowadays. From lifestyle, fashion to beauty and even music, how do you translate that need for women representation/recognition through your music and especially in your latest song "Taj". Describe the (feminist) themes you included in the recent video?

MANAL: In my recent video for TAJ there are three intertwined concepts. Lyrically, I’m speaking about a previous experience in the Arabic music industry that really left a scar on me. I’m not actually detailing the experiences but rather responding to them by telling the world that I will not again be told what to do or be what others will tell me to. That’s what I’m lyrically speaking on. Visually I really wanted to emphasize on two things. One, that women are capable, that we can do anything we put our minds to. That often it’s just society’s ideas of us that limit our imaginations but in reality women in Morocco and all over the world are taking charge of their lives, their destinies – they are taking up jobs traditionally thought of as men’s work- from being fire fighters to working in finance and government. This is about women making their own choices and not giving in to what may be expected of them. This is why you see me as a butcher, a car mechanic and a welder. People think it’s just cool visuals, but those are important shots with far more depth than just a shot. And secondly, in the wake of the #metoo movement, I wanted to highlight sexual harassment, something that unfortunately is still a lesser pressing issue in the Arab world. In the video my character is assaulted in a supermarket by a guy who touches her from behind and she reacts with outrage. The character then responds and shows that such type of men are nothing more but cowards. All these concepts make up TAJ. 

BH: How do you feel about being signed to Sony? 

MANAL: The greatest thing about being signed to Sony is working with the people there. It never was a major label thing for me. I was always resistant of signing to labels. But having spoken to the people there was far more important because we found a common ground on what situations work best for an artist like me to evolve. Creative freedom is highly important to me. I do not budge on it. And in the Arab world, it’s rarely given. Add to it that I’m experimental and not shy to address anything that comes to mind and you’ll have a mix for potential concern. But luckily I found in Sony Music ME a supportive group of amazing folks, and that’s what really did it for me and makes it great to be signed to them. 

BH: The regional music scene needs to refreshed and nurtured. Many local artists and aspiring singers struggle to break through. So much talent and not much support. What would you advise them to do in a competitive music arena?

MANAL: I don’t really give advice in that sense. The only thing I want every artist to consider is to always be true to themselves. Never let the critics or general public or anyone for that matter drive what you yearn to express. Express your feelings through your art, in the purest forms, no matter how quirky or weird or different or controversial. 

BH:  In this time of digital power, do you still believe Radio play is important?

MANAL: Yes. We love to turn on the radio in the car and listen to what’s hot. Radio gives a sense of community that people still want to be a part of. In that sense it’s important. But in comparison to streaming and YouTube, that’s debatable and in need of some meticulous metadata to draw a proper conclusion. 

BH: Would we ever see you collaborate with a rapper from the GCC?
MANAL: I look forward to seeing what’s out there in the GCC. For me, collaborations have to make sense artistically. I’m always open to them as long as they make artistic sense. So if someone from the GCC makes sense for a particular song then yes absolutely. As it would be for someone from Kazakhstan for example.  

BH: Any last words for Re-Volt Blog readers.
MANAL: Hope you guys like the new song and video! Definitely check it out! And I appreciate you Hass for doing what you do for Urban music!

Watch the video below

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Moroccan Pop Artist "MANAL" releases "TAJ" // A woman empowerment track


Born in 1993 in Casablanca, Morocco, Manal started singing at the age of 6. In 2015 Manal released her debut single ‘Denia’, a song she had written and composed. This song also got her the ‘Best Female Artist North Africa’ AFRIMA Awards that year. In 2016 Manal signed a management deal with ‘RPEG Ltd’ founded by Wu-Tang Clan artist and producer Cilvaringz. 
In April 2017 Manal released her second single ‘Koulchi Ban’ and in October 2017 signed a multi-year recording and representation contract with Sony Music Entertainment Middle East.

She just released the video for her new track "Taj" which means "Crown". Its so dope to see a young Arab female artist addressing & pushing women empowerment via her songs. Enjoy the video, watch it & share it.

Q&A with Manal will be on Re-Volt very soon! Stay Tuned!

Monday, February 12, 2018


Talib Kweli & Yasiin Bey (Black Star)

 "New Black Star with Madlib, Talib Kweli, Yasiin, coming soon!” Yasiin Bey announced. With those words, the crowd started cheering, hell, I was going crazy when I heard this!

The last & only BlackStar Album was released in 1998! 
As Iraqi/Canadian MC "The Narcicyst/Narcy" put it below during his performance at Step Music 2017 in Dubai.
      Can not wait for this! Check out Yasiin Bey's LIVE announcement below!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

WRITE ON | Legend Of Hip-Hop Ink Slingers || Kickstarter

Woke up today morning and this was the first thing I saw.. what a beautiful & very important initiative.. 
The below is a documentary about the journalists, the souls that shaped hip-hop. I've always been an advocate of "Showing Love" to the bloggers, writers, filmmakers, etc... the people behind the scene that don't get enough credit sometimes. Their work is very important and I am honored to be a Hip-Hop blogger from the Middle-East since 2007. I myself wish I am included somehow in the below..

If you're a Hip-Hop head, a hip-hop activist, a hip-hop lover, a human being that appreciates good and authentic vibes, I believe its your duty to support the below & give back. Let's make it happen guys! Let's give a salute to the slingers that kept Hip-Hop ALIVE!

Syreeta Gates, showing you LOVE & RESPECT all the way from the Middle-East. It's amazing that Hip-Hop has connected me with so many amazing people. I am blessed. #HipHopIsOne 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018

47 Soul RELEASE their NEW ALBUM "Balfron Promise"

Hailing from Jordan & Palestine, I've been following/supporting 47 Soul since they started. I love how they were able to break-through and also be able to connect with both Arab & Non-Arab speakers.

They celebrate Freedom & Equality in their music. Their goal is to break barriers through what they what they call now "Shamstep" which is an Electro-Arabic Dabke genre. 

It's all about the energy and its also about the message they have in their music. They are currently signed to "Cooking Vinyl" which is an Independent Record Label Based in the U.K 

They just release their NEW album "Balfrom Promise" out of which they have release the single from the album Oct 2017 with a great video that you can watch here

As I am writing this, I am giving the album a listen and I am LOVING "Moved Around", its quickly becoming my fav but I still need to listen to it again & again! 

You can STREAM the Album on Anghami, Check it out & Yalla, Support the 47 !!!