x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Kanye set to hip-hop back to region

Rapper has advance party in UAE for film project, reports say

Kanye West's interest in the region is said to have grown after he played at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix on Yas Island in 2010.
Kanye West's interest in the region is said to have grown after he played at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix on Yas Island in 2010.

The singer Kanye West is reportedly ready to the return to the Middle East next month for a film project.

Sources quoted by The Hollywood Reporter say the rapper has had teams scouting Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha over the past week.

"They did a full round of meetings, speaking with various government agencies, institutions and private investors," the source said. "They toured each area and met with all the major players."

The source said there was a "pretty intense bidding war" in progress.

The film is said to be about 30 minutes long, between a music video and short film.

It sounds similar to the arthouse film Runaway starring the Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks, which was launched in the build-up to the release of West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album in 2010.

The script was apparently conceived by West to be set in the region, and designed to show its natural beauty while remaining culturally sensitive and embracing customs and traditions.

To keep the authentic feel, he will reportedly be moving a creative team to the region "for a few weeks", claims the source, and plans to use "as much local talent and crew as possible".

Stories suggest West's love for the region grew after he played at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix on Yas Island in 2010.

His most recent trip is believed to have been in December last year when he played a private party in Dubai with Jay-Z.

West has not confirmed the coming trip, but a member of his team told The Hollywood Reporter he was in the Middle East last week.

aritman@thenational.ae