Is it 1996 again? Or is Amr Diab making a comeback? The Egyptian pop star stirred up headlines over the weekend, with two unexpected collaborations releasing back-to-back.
French Montana, Maya Diab and Massari released a totally revamped version Diab’s 1996 hit single Nour El Ain exclusively on Anghami on Saturday. The catchy remake, titled Ya Nour El Ain, features both English and Arabic verses. Diab himself doesn’t feature, though the song is forever tied to his performance of it.
A day before, Diab’s collaboration with American electronic artist and DJ Marshmello, titled Bayein Habeit (In Love), launched on several platforms. The Arabic electronic track features Diab on vocals from start to finish. So, what’s the scoop behind the songs?
DJ MARSHMELLO FT AMR DIAB – BAYEIN HABEIT (IN LOVE)
Old school meets new blood on Bayein Habeit, sung fully in Arabic. The lyrics follow the loved-up thoughts of an infatuated man, and the song fuses whimsical Middle Eastern melodies with an electronic beat.
“This song [with Amr Diab] is one of my favourites. It’s not a turn up song, but more of a love story,” tweeted Marshmello, who earlier said the track is ‘going to be crazy’.
The 26-year-old Philadelphia native, whose real name is Christopher Comstock, has had several hit collaborations since last year, such as Wolves with Selena Gomez and Silence with Khalid. But he’s relatively new to the music scene.
Meanwhile, Diab, 56, has been active in the music industry since the early 1980s, and is considered one of the most successful Arab artists of all time. Known for his experimental style, he was one of the first successful crossover pop stars to come out of the Middle East. In 2004, he featured in a Pepsi ad alongside Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham. He has also been credited as the father of Mediterranean music, which fuses East and West.
Diab’s upcoming album Kol Hayaty (All My Life) releases on October 3, though it’s unclear whether Bayein Habeit will be a part of it. Marshmello, who performs underneath a Marshmallow-shaped headpiece with a smiley face drawn on, performed in Dubai in February as part of RedFestDXB.
FRENCH MONTANA, MAYA DIAB, MASSARI – YA NOUR EL EIN
American hip-hop star French Montana, originally from Morocco, Lebanese singer Maya Diab, and Lebanese-Canadian singer Massari joined forces for this epic Diab remake, just in time to perform it together at Miss Lebanon 2018 on September 30.
The song is a new take on the timeless classic Nour El Ain, which achieved global success in the mid-‘90s.
A high-energy track, it mixes pop, hip-hop and rap elements. It begins with Maya Diab (no relation to Amr Diab) singing in Arabic, then moves into a mild rap verse by Montana, who peppers his English with Arabic words like ‘habibi’ and ‘haywan’. Last but not least, Massari, delivering his signature nasally pop-R’n’B tone.
The song was announced last week at an Anghami event in Dubai. After the song officially released on September 29, Massari posted a photo of himself, Maya and Montana out to dinner in Beirut, captioning it, “Celebrating with the fam.”
This is the latest effort from the Lebanese-Canadian to connect with his Arab audience. In 2013, he collaborated with French Montana on the song Shisha. Earlier this year, he released Roll with It with Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf. But Massari’s self-titled debut album was geared more towards a North American audience in 2005, and featured his two hit songs Smile for Me and Be Easy.
French Montana, who immigrated from Morocco to America as a young teenager, is known for popular collaborations such as Unforgettable with Swae Lee. Maya Diab is a singer, actress and TV personality, who was formerly in the girl group 4 Cats.