It is not an everyday occurrence to be awoken with a call from the head of a media production company; and it is definitely no ordinary thing to be told you will warm up for the Dogg Father of rap — Snoop Dogg. Well, unless you are Khalifa Al Rumaithi that is.
On May 6, Snoop Dogg will bow wow wow his way on stage in Abu Dhabi, no doubt in front of thousands of barking pups — sorry, we mean loyal fans.
However, for four rap acts from the region it will be the opportunity of a lifetime to say they opened for a legend. Al Rumaithi will be among them.
"I was sleeping when I got a call from the COO of twofour54 telling me he had good news," said the Abu Dhabi-based student. "But I became wide awake when I heard Snoop Dogg was coming and I'd be one of his warm up acts."
Al Rumaithi, 22, stage name Kmulti, is a media student at Abu Dhabi Men's College by day and an Emirati rapper by night. He has been writing poetry and rap lyrics since 2005.
He has two singles, Ana Emirati (I am Emirati) and The World, under his belt, produced by local production company twofour54. For his third single, Al Rumaithi has teamed up with fellow Emirati artist and his singing partner on The World, Manal Ali Al Ahli.
‘Not giving up'
"It's a mixture of rap, techno and house," said Al Rumaithi. "It's a song about not giving up on your dreams… it's got a positive message."
Optimism is Al Rumaithi's forte as he seeks to put forth meaningful messages in his music — meaning he has an issue with fellow Emirati rappers who swear on their tracks.
"They take it too far because what happens with US rap music and the cursing is because it's in their nature," he said. "I don't think there is one Emirati guy or girl who curses in front of their parents, it's rude and not in our culture."
However, such differences in the US and UAE's culture don't detract Al Rumaithi from his love for rap music. His No 1 influence is Tupac Shakur, another iconic rapper who also happens to have been a good friend of Snoop Dogg and was on the Deathrow Records music label founded by Suge Knight in 1991.
For Al Rumaithi, his opening performance is not just about officially introducing himself to the UAE's audience at what is predicted to be one of this year's biggest shows. It is also about hanging backstage with the big Dogg of rap.
"I want to get some advice from Snoop Dogg and ask him how hard it is to survive in the music industry," he said. "I want his advice on how to promote myself in a country where Arabic rappers are still not widely accepted, because he's experienced the same sort of thing in the US when rap was emerging there."
Al Rumaithi knows the roots of American hip- hop and rap differ from those in the Arab world as they were born of different natures.
He believes Emirati rappers, of which there are several emerging on the UAE's underground scene, cannot implement the same style and techniques of Western rappers.
"It's true we don't have many problems here in the UAE, but I am also an Arab, not just Emirati," said Al Rumaithi. "So if I want to rap about struggle and oppression I'm going to address the issues of Palestine, Egypt, Tunis and all of the Arab countries."
Snoop's support acts
- The line-up at Yas Arena on May 6 features:
- DJ Lobito and the Mighty 4 (MC intro)
- Khalifa Al Rumaithi and Abdulla on vocals.
- Desert Heat — the UAE's first hip-hop duo formed in 2002 made up of Emirati brothers Salim Dahman aka Illmiyah and Abdullah Dahman aka Arableak.
- DJ Dany Neville and Robin.
- The Recipe — the UAE-based hip-hop group founded in 2008 made up of DJ Flash B, Hirabeat, Jabbar, Kaz Money, Perfect Storm and Swerte
- DJ Rone Jaxx
- Malikah aka MC Lix. She has been called the Lady of Arabian Hip-Hop and hails from Lebanon. She has been rapping since the age of 16 and was signed to EMI Arabia in 2003.
- Snoop Dog and Fredwreck.
Don't miss it
Snoop Dogg tickets on sale:
Concert date: May 6
Venue: Yas Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Buy at: thinkflash.ae or 800 FLASH (35274)
Prices: General admission Dh250; Fan pit Dh595; Table for 10 people Dh9,000; Table for 15 people Dh12,500