Salah Edin

via, Visit

First of all, it starts by living the language, that’s why I chose to do it in Arabic. It was the language I grew up with, Dutch was my second language. But my priority was the Arabic language because, according to UN statistics, there are over 650,000,000 Arabs worldwide. And not to forget there was nobody representing Arabic hip-hop in the 22 Arabic states. So after I saw the French group, IAM, release their album, L’Ecole Du Micro D’Argent, and breaking through in different countries and continents, I felt I was in the position to fill up the role of an Arabic artist and rep my people, my culture and roots. I don’t consider myself to be like Twista. With all due respect to the artist who created his own style and rhyme patterns, but I focus more on my own style through the use of my voice and intonation. But like you said, there are some songs where you could find me twisting differently on beats or rocking it to a 3/4 beat. I like experimenting with a language I can’t read or write. Everything I write is phonetic. So I challenge myself all the time.

I was raised in two different languages, Arabic and Dutch. So why not take advantage with both, create more possibilities, express yourself in different languages. Besides that, the Dutch scene recently became more appreciative of local hip-hop and grew fast. The scene developed into many different styles, but didn’t really reach anything of what I was looking for. I like to think about the total picture, not just be a good MC. For instance, there are plenty MCs, but not many have a story. So I worked it all out because whatever image and marketing I was going to come out with, it was already in my persona. I didn’t have to create it. I took advantage of the fact I looked like convicted killer, Mohamed B, who happened to be the most famous killer in Dutch history. I chose to play with the preconceived opinion that was created by society itself. I did not choose to look like him, it chose me. To finish it all off properly, my manager Cilvaringz hooked me up with Aftermath’s wonder child Focus and the rest is history. We as artists always try to push to the edge. That in itself is an art. If it has an influence on society and creates debates on social and racial issues. I certainly consider it having achieved all that I ever wanted to do with my music. F*** an award, even though I won one for Best Hip Hop Album of 2007. That was a bonus, but the real price was proving with my music and marketing the hypocrisy of the Dutch society. And that’s an achievement you can’t buy.

I’m not really trying to be successful in USA. People should stop thinking that “making it in the USA” is top notch level of success. I’d rather be successful in my community man. That’s whom I’m doing this for. If my community feels my sh**, I’m satisfied. If some American people feel it too, that’s a great bonus. I’m happy people like the Wu, Focus and artists like Lenny Kravitz were feeling my sh**, but the real price is getting that love from the MENA regions, Middle East North Africa.