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.
You may remember one of our favourite up and coming acts from North London we wrote about FlowNtrees (if you missed the post read it here http://whenmiparty.com/2013/05/24/bank-holiday-beats-fresh-new-london-tunes/ ). We checked in with them recently to find out what’s new. Well a couple of days ago Flowntrees released a NEW Single from SCRAPJONES new mixtape Called MY TIME. Have a watch below:
To be honest we didnt think it compared to some of their original tunes. It has a much more aggressive street rap vibe and has lost that sweet chilled vibe the boys are famous for. Maybe thats because Gats doesnt feature on this tune? We’re not sure why the boys seem to be focusing on single projects – a management decision perhaps? Anyhow .. Gats has his own single out too. Theres a lot of echo on that mic, but his voice hasn’t lost that nate dogg meets snoop sound. Here’s ‘Oogie Boogie‘
Without leaving anyone else, Tizzle Kazim also has his own single ‘Lizzy‘. Kazim can definately handle his own – a rapper in his own right.
We love these guys, but we think their sound is sweetest when they are rocking together. Here’s ‘Old School‘ Cant wait to see what they work on, collaboratively, next.
Awesome new video out for Drake‘s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home ft. Majid Jordan’ directed by Bill Pope. This video features cameo appearances from Fredo Santana, Steven Bauer, Johnny Simmons, Majid Jordan and A$AP Rocky among others. It’s a Miami 1980s style “The bad guy stole the girl” feature film and suprise suprise, Drizzy is the hero that saves her! I know you’ll all be asking who the model is, her name is Ashley Moore (Justin Beibers girl). Loving the quote “Make it hard to spot the general, by working like a soldier”
As Miley’s number 1 hater – Im seriously blown away by this new tune. Miley done good. Seriously bored with the twerking and then ‘Wrecking ball’, this tune has come out of the blue. Miley made the right decision hooking up with Mike WiLL Made It (both at work and in the bedroom) cause she suits the hip hop scene. Her rapping reminds us a little of Kreayshawn‘s Debbie cakes – whiny trailer trash – but it works well with Wiz, Juicy J and Mike WiLL Made It. Miley looks more like a boss and less like a desperate loser in this one. Sadly the tongue does make an appearance….
The video is dedicated to Basketball’s greatest – Michael Jordan – aka #23.
The London urban music scene never fails to disappoint for constantly creating new promising acts set to be the next Wretch 32 or Miss Dynamite. This week we’ve found 3 artists showing potential and what it takes to crack into the mainstream. Every day we’re sent links to mixtapes or videos from Londoners thinking they’re the next Tupac. Here are our 3 diamonds in the rough:
First up, L’Nino with ‘B.I.G’. If you can get over the unneccessary over usage of the F word in the chorus (not the best move if you want to get airplay) – the video production and L’Nino’s rapping is actually pretty good; less grimey and more West Coast; shows L’Nino’s massive rapping potential as a UK artist – could definitely see him collaborating with a US rapper.
Next up is West London’s AbilityMc (TWITTER @AbilityMc1 ) , 18. We can’t get enough of his tune ‘Zone Out with Me’. We love how AbilityMc has kept it real with his West London accent shining through his lyrics. This one is chilled with a capital C. Saweet.
Last but not least, my absolute favourite right now – Smurf (twitter @SmurfUK) with his new video ‘I Ain’t Havin’ It’. The Link Up Tv video is the money, styling is spot on and Smurf can spit like many can only dream; plus he looks good doing it and he makes it look effortless. The only thing worth critising is the name – SMURF – surely there must be story behing that? You can get his free download by clicking here
On Thursday 6th June, XOYO Shoreditch, London, played host to Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx. If you’re unfamiliar with this act, Zebra Katz, real name Ojay Morgan, 26, is the genius behind cult song ‘Ima Read’. Although the tune was written back in 2011, fashion designer Rick Owens chose to coin the phrase during his 2012 Paris fashion show – catapulting Mad Decent‘s Zebra Katz into the limelight. Here’s ‘Ima Read’, which the duo actually chose to close the show with, throwing in an impromtu remix performed from within the crowd. One word – Awesome.
Now going back to the start … Zebra and Njena first came on stage following support act MOKO (find out more about MOKO here). Zebra came on wearing no less than a gimp mask and full overalls, Njena less freaky in some aztec MC Hammer pants and black vest top. If you’re akin to Zebra Katz you’d expect nothing less. Not only is Ojay a lyrical genius, but there is always a certain amount of theatre to his act, so his creepy presence in the chosen outfit worked well. The show opened with the monotone & unwholesome number ‘Sex Sells’ and ‘W8WTF’.
XOYO was the perfect venue for the duo to headline; underground, dark and intimate. It is so refreshing to see live performers give their all – Zebra Katz and Njena made sure we were paying attention at all times. None of this Iggy Azalea crap of laying down on stage ‘because she was too tired’. The duo werked it. Njena killed it with her song ‘Needful Things’ – the song gave her a chance to show off her enviable rapping skills; while Zebra showed off his bitchin dance moves.
Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx will be playing at other venues across the UK in the next few months. They’ve just performed at Rockness Festival – INVERNESS 7th – 9th June 2013 and Parkflife Festival – MANCHESTER 8th – 9th June. You can still get tickets to watch them supporting Die Antwoord at HMV Ritz – MANCHESTER – on 21st June 2013. They are then at the O2 Brixton Academy – LONDON – on 22nd June 2013. They’re also hitting the festival scene, performing at LOVEBOX, victoria Park London and Glastonbury.
They also performed ‘Hey Ladies‘, ‘Pull a Stunt’ and ‘Y I D O’ at XOYO. It’s not often you come away from a gig feeling like the act have passed on some of their energy to the crowd – but these two did exactly that after their finale ‘Ima Read’. All in all it was an amazing show with the right amount of everything. I cant see Zebra Katz ever making it on to the mainstream unless he chose to tone down his lyrics; but I think thats all part of the appeal. The New York rapper is comfortable in the underground scene and has gained respect from his position. Who knows what Mad Decent’s DIPLO’s plans are for his future. Will we be seeing Zebra Katz collaborating with a more mainstream artist soon? Zebra supported Azealia Banks during her 2012 UK tour, and she released her own cover of ‘Ima Read’. We predict a collaboration before the year is out 😉