x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Two raps to pick from A hip-hop battle is on the cards on Friday night when Florida rappers T-Pain and Rick Ross hit the UAE with shows in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively. Saeed Saeed takes a look at what each star has to offer music fans this weekend

A hip-hop battle is on the cards on Friday night when Florida rappers T-Pain and Rick Ross hit the UAE with shows in Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively. Saeed Saeed takes a look at what the duo offer music fans.

T-Pain, supported by the UK garage DJ The Artful Dodger, performs at the du Forum on Friday.  Reuters
T-Pain, supported by the UK garage DJ The Artful Dodger, performs at the du Forum on Friday. Reuters

T-Pain

(real name Faheem Rasheed Najm)

• Age 28

• His beginnings His artist name stands for Tallahassee Pain; the moniker was conceived to symbolise the hardships of growing up as an African-American in an American country town. T-Pain’s interest in music began at the age of 10 upon converting his bedroom into a music studio complete with a keyboard, beat machine and a four-track recorder. At the age of 19 he joined the rap group Nappy Headz; his sing-rap flow caught the attention of the artist Akon, who immediately signed him to his Konvict Muzik record label.

• His music If you dislike the prevalent use of Auto-Tune in hip-hop today then T-Pain is largely the culprit. Over his four albums, the Grammy Award-winner developed his blend of “Hard&B” which saw him rap and croon using the pitch-correcting device over mainly synthetic Euro-disco beats. This brought him crossover hits including 2007‘s Buy U a Drank, 2008’s collaboration with Lil Wayne Can’t Believe It and 2011’s Turn All the Lights On featuring the mellow rapper Wiz Khalifa and the British pop-starlet Lily Allen.

• His biggest moment It may not be his song but T-Pain’s emphatic chorus on DJ Khaled’s hit All I Do is Win was used by the US president Barack Obama as his entry music to this year’s correspondents’ dinner at the White House.

• The live experience Even if the music is not to your liking, T-Pain is a showman and known for working the crowd. Always on the move, T-Pain engages live fans and often delivers sweet hooks without the aid of his signature Auto-Tune device.

• The show T-Pain, supported by the UK garage DJ The Artful Dodger, performs at the du Forum on Friday. Show starts at 7pm. Tickets begin from Dh300; visit www.ticketmaster.ae.

Rick Ross

(real name William Leonard Roberts II)

• Age 37

• His beginnings The hip-hop game is full of contradictions and none of them come bigger than Rick Ross, also known as Rozzay. Before all the platinum albums and jewellery, Ross was known as Officer Roberts courtesy of his 18-month stint as a corrections officer in Florida. Ross’s husky rap flow turned industry heads and he was signed to Slip-n-Slide Records in 2006.

• His music More than anyone, Ross knows that hip-hop fans just want good thumping tracks as opposed to measuring how “real” the artist sings. On that score Ross delivered on each of his five releases. His gruff rap flow (and clear enunciation), paired with lush cinematic production, produced a steady supply of hits including B. M. F (Blowin’ Money Fast) and Aston Martin Music, a collaboration with Drake and Chrisette Michele.

• His biggest moment Success is best when it is consistent. Four of Ross’s five albums debuted at the top of the charts (his fourth release Teflon Don arrived at No 2) and with a new album on the way Ross’s winning streak doesn’t look to end anytime soon.

• The live experience It will be interesting to see if Ross comes to Dubai with a live band or with a DJ. The rapper recently premiered his band experience at a Los Angeles gig supported by the rising star French Montana, Wale and Meek Mill. Ross is all swagger on stage, engaging the crowd with frequent call and response antics.

• The show Rick Ross will perform at Al Badia Golf Course at Dubai Festival City on Friday. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets begin from Dh200; visit www.timeouttickets.com.

• Meet and greet Ross will be at Virgin Megastore at Mall of the Emirates at 6pm today. He will also be giving away VIP tickets to his concert tomorrow.

sasaeed@thenational.ae