I see hip-hop as universal. People practice it daily – it’s part of how they talk or dress.
UAE-based rapper Kicka DeLight has dabbled with hip-hop since he was in high school. Now an AUS alumni, he continues to create visually expressive raps, recording his own tracks with local producers’ beats.
The rapper has collaborated with popular Arab artists such as Jibberish, Nile Rhythmik and others with an old-school vibe and visually expressive lyrics.
So far, he has released 7 tracks on his SoundCloud profile – long way to go, but it’s a good start.
Seated in the heart of a blooming local hip-hop scene, he talks to us about his influences, the Middle-Eastern hip hop scene and more:
1. Where do you think hip hop is going with the influence of trap music and new artists like Future and Fetty Wap?
Trap music’s influence keeps hip-hop fresh. If not for superficial rap, the sub-genres and sub-movements that came out, hip-hop could have died. Trap music has given an identity to rappers who have come up with fresh stuff, different sounds and new angles, musically speaking.
There’s no such thing as real hip-hop now. Hip-hop is what it is to you.
We need more people, more output. We need that social stigma [that looks at Hip-Hop as an import] to disappear completely.
2. Is the scene here supportive to emerging artists?
If you have your contacts and agencies to promote you, then you’ll get promoted. It’s not fully formed, in terms of music culture and appreciation. With the internet though, I can be an artist based in Ajman but have a following in Korea, so that’s better.
3. According to you, what messages does Arabic Hip-Hop seem to relay?
Arabic hip-hop was always known to be political – especially in the Levant region, it still is. The core will always be political and socio-cultural since the Arab Spring was so influential. Artists are doing it in creative ways though, like Boikutt.
4. Tell us about how Kicka Delight came into being.
I used to play a lot of football in high school and I thought I had the best free kicks so I nicknamed myself ‘Kicka’. I felt ‘Kicka’ needed an extension so I added ‘DeLight’. Kicka DeLight is my other me.
5. Which is your favorite track you have produced?
It’s a track I recently put out. It’s called DMT, but it’s people’s least favorite track.
6. Tell us about your creative process with writing songs.
I write lines that pop into my head at random times in the day. They’re good to save for later, I might use them for beats that don’t strike me the right way, if they fit. I don’t work with strict deadlines. For my song Somali Dali, the theme was ‘dreamy’ – Salvador Dali’s work was surrealist. When I collaborate with other artists, they send a track with their verse and I stick to the theme. When it comes to writing, I’m very unconventional.
7. Are you more influenced by old school acts like DMX, Wutang Clan, Tupac or modern artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar?
My core stuff is mostly influenced by old acts, from 1993-2001. They were what I was first introduced to and they inspired me to write. Most were from East Coast US, from New York and their raps had better story telling, seemed a lot smarter. My inspirational process though is continual as I always keep my ears out and look for what inspires me.
Follow Kicka DeLight on SoundCloud to listen to all his tracks.
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