Saudi music producer fuses Arabic melodies with hip-hop

Saud Al-Turki blended his parents’ taste in music into his work. (AN Photo)
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Updated 16 January 2020

Saudi music producer fuses Arabic melodies with hip-hop

  • Saud Al-Turki: My parents played a major role in shaping my musical taste which encouraged me to discover different genres from different parts of the world
  • Saud Al-Turki: Growing up in Saudi and watching the news with my father, people like Baker Bakhaider and other legendary news anchors were a big part of my upbringing

JEDDAH: Khobar-based producer Saud Al-Turki had been making music since 2010, but never had the confidence to turn his beats into songs. “Then fate happens when you least expect it,” he told Arab News.

He stepped into a store in Newport Beach, California, in 2017 and struck up a conversation with a Detroit native who went by the name of PLUS and was working in the store at the time. 

“We spoke about life and music and he mentioned that he was an artist, but never mentioned how good of an artist he was. One thing led to the other and we met up about a week later and made ‘Feeling High,’ which was my first official single released on SoundCloud.”

Al-Turki blended his parents’ taste in music into his work. His father had a love for jazz and golden oldies, while his mother appreciated Arabic music.

“My parents played a major role in shaping my musical taste which encouraged me to discover different genres from different parts of the world. At that time, my love for hip-hop and urban music grew. I connected with it. I connected with the culture, the music and the honesty behind the messages conveyed. My process really depends on the atmosphere that I am in, the artists I’m surrounded by and even my geographical location. But what does not change is my approach. I go into the studio with the confidence that I will create something unique and at the same time relatable,” he said.

Two distinct and wildly different genres can be heard in Al-Turki’s music: Arab Tarab music and hip-hop.

“I am definitely not the first or last producer to tap into sampling Arabic sounds. Many international greats have also sampled Arabic music and made hit records. But, in my opinion, the context was missing. So it is crucial that someone from the region is able to make that voice heard while representing the culture in a way that will resonate with a global audience.”

He uses the voice of Saudi news presenter Baker Bakhaider — whose career took off in the early 1970s — as a beat tag to let his audience know who is responsible for the music.

“Growing up in Saudi and watching the news with my father, people like Baker Bakhaider and other legendary news anchors were a big part of my upbringing. In our religion, we use ‘Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmat Allah Wa Barakatu’ as a form of greeting. And what better message would I present to the world than wishing peace to be bestowed upon my audience? It is a global message that is relatable and significant.”

He released his latest single “Want Me” on Dec. 25, 2019 featuring Egyptian sensation pre kai ro and Atlanta’s Quentin Miller.

“The true message behind this record is to showcase real independent talent from this part of the world together with a recognizable name in the music industry. Moreover, I wanted to highlight that the level of independent talent in our region is at an all-time high.”


Algerian photographer shortlisted for World Press Photo of the Year

‘Clash with the Police During an Anti-Government Demonstration’ by Farouk Batiche. (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2020

Algerian photographer shortlisted for World Press Photo of the Year

DUBAI: The World Press Photo Contest, which celebrates the best visual journalism over the past year, has unveiled the nominees for its 63rd edition, and it includes a photographer from Algeria.

Out of the 4,282 photographers from 125 countries that submitted their images for consideration, Algerian Farouk Batiche was the only Arab to be selected by the independent jury to compete among the 43 other nominees.

His photograph, entitled “Clash with the Police During an Anti-Government Demonstration” was nominated in the Spot News category.

The image, which depicts a group of Algerian students scuffling with riot police during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers on May 21, 2019, is also shortlisted for World Press Photo of the Year.

Read on for the other five nominees for this year’s Photo of the Year contest, below.

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Relative Mourns Flight ET 302 Crash Victim, by Mulugeta Ayene

A grieving relative is pictured throwing dirt onto her face at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash on March 14, 2019.

Straight Voice, by Yasuyoshi Chiba

A young man recites a poem during a protest for civilian rule during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, on June 19, 2019.

Awakening, by Tomek Kaczor

A 15-year-old Armenian girl who had recently woken from a catatonic state brought on by Resignation Syndrome, sits in a wheelchair in a refugee reception center in Podkowa Leśna, Poland.

Injured Kurdish Fighter Receives Hospital Visit, by Ivor Prickett

A badly-burned Syrian Democratic Force fighter is visited by his girlfriend at a hospital in Al-Hasakah, Syria.