A series of workshops has been designed to provide a stepping stone into the music industry for aspiring hip-hop artists.
Hip-hop hopefuls who want to 'pop the collar'
ABU DHABI // They might not be able to teach you how to "pop your collar" or what to "drop when it's hot", but participants in a series of workshops designed to encourage aspiring hip-hop artists will certainly not be short of inspiration when the two-day programme ends this evening.
Music for Youth is the result of a collaboration between the Abu Dhabi events company FLASH Entertainment and the Arab media and entertainment centre twofour54.
The workshops will provide a stepping stone into the music industry for many of the young participants invited to attend.
Dozens of fledgling singers, songwriters, producers, DJs and radio presenters put themselves forward for the programme by uploading performance videos of themselves to the workshop's Facebook page.
George Ossama, 16, an Egyptian student at Al Nahda Boys International School, said he hoped the workshops would provide inspiration. "I was interested in participating because I hope it will help me to continue my work. I hope I'll be able to meet someone here who can help me, and who will find me, as an artist."
Ossama, an aspiring hip-hop songwriter, believes the workshops could lead to bigger and better things. "I want to be famous, of course," he said.
The first workshop, which covered radio presenting, DJing and production, was hosted last night by the Radio 1 DJ Dany Neville, who has been referred to as the ambassador of hip-hop to the Middle East.
Neville, an admirer of the urban music scene in the UAE and a professional radio presenter for more than a decade, said hip-hop was not a genre but a culture.
He said the workshops were only the beginning of FLASH and twofour54's plan to educate young people about the music. "We want to give back to the youth. These workshops are designed to introduce people to some of the key players in the industry.
"We are here; we grew up here, and we are from here. We are just like these kids, and they should approach us for help."
The participants received their first insight into the industry when Khalifa al Romaithi, 23, a student and aspiring Emirati hip-hop artist, led a discussion on his career.
However, al Romaithi, who will support the rapper Snoop Dogg when he performs his first concert in the UAE on Friday, had a word of warning for other Emirati hip-hop performers, saying that the older generation had a hard time accepting hip-hop culture.
"With each new generation, comes better understanding," he said. "This is my city, and I will find people here to support me."