Sons of Yusuf – aka Ya’Koob and Humble Abdul – have just released this new video for “Now is the time”. The Kuwaiti rappers, who previously released their own tongue in cheek covers of existing hip hop songs seem to have found their niche.
After the Gulf War, Ya’koob and his younger brother, Abdul’Rahman (aka Humble Abdul) moved with their family to Los Angeles, California, where they grew up. Their biggest influence was their father Yusuf Al Refaie, who took them as kids to many studios where they would always be around musicians. They were mostly surrounded by Jazz & Reggae music. While in school they were both encouraged to pick up instruments such as the drums, trombone, and saxophone. Eventually this led them to writing their own music and poetry. As Arabs growing up in California, Ya’koob and Humble Abdul were introduced to Hip Hop culture and expressed themselves through their freestyles and creative lyrics. They were able to introduce people to Arabic & Islamic culture in the streets of LA. Whether humorous or political, they always knew how to capture people’s attention and alter stereotypes. Coming back to their birth place, both brothers were hungry for knowledge about their own people and tradition. Growing up with a musical background, they began conveying their experiences and inspirations through art and music.
Ya’koob was born on May 22nd 1987 Kuwait City, Kuwait. At age 14, he signed with record label “Alien Records” and was also known as Phelony. He released the first official Hip Hop album in the Middle East entitled “Reprezentin’” as a member of the first signed Hip Hop group in the Middle East, “Army Of One”. The album sold out all over the Middle East and pushed hip hop culture there more than ever. He looks a bit like Pitbull and sounds remarkably similar to Macklemore.
Influenced by the late great producer J Dilla, Ya’koob then started making his own beats at age 16. He also teamed up with sound engineer Mike Chav (who worked with J Dilla) to originally start making beats for artists like Erykah Badu & Jay Electronica. That’s when Jay Electronica suggested the name “The Base” to try to change people’s perspectives about Arabs and Muslims.
In 2009, Ya’koob’s music scored in a short film on HBO called, ”The Hand Off”, directed by Joslyn Rose Lyon. He worked together with Mike Chav and producer Amp Fiddler, both from Detroit, Michigan. Since then he has been producing different genres of music and working with artists and musicians from different regions.
People who heard music from Ya’koob or his brother, Abdul, always wanted to hear more. Humble Abdul was born in Kuwait on November 19th 1989, right before the Gulf War. Inspired by his older brother, he started listening to Hip Hop at the age of 6 and began freestyling and writing his own lyrics at around 14. After surviving a car accident at the age of 17, Humble Abdul was inspired to write poetry and share some of his thoughts. He decided to enter an American Poetry Slam competition for the first time to intentionally spread a message. His ideas about Islam and the crises in the world and Middle East shocked the judges and audience and consequently led him to win first place. His biggest influences are by artists like, Bob Marley, Yasiin Bey, Ya’koob and more.
Both brothers established a big fan base in the region. Ya’koob regained inspiration as Abdul decided to take a step further and they collaborated with a new sound to music. They began to work together as brothers and started creating a radical movement in hip hop. On 12/12/12, they dropped their first mixtape as Sons Of Yusuf entitled, “2 Of Arabia’s Most Wanted” (Free Download link available on “Music” page).
Sons Of Yusuf are currently working on new projects and productions featuring artists like Mike Chav, Bilal Salaam and Shafiq Husayn.