Get with the beat: Meet "Bugsy," the Hip Hop producer making big noise in Saudi Arabia
Bugsy is currently collaborating with lots of artists, both locally and internationally, and in different genres. (Image: Arab News)
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Production and sampling are very important elements when it comes to hip-hop. We always tend to focus on the rapper/singer/performer, but conveniently forget the instrumentals.
A name that is making big noise when it comes to production in Saudi Arabia is that of Ahmad Bugshan aka ‘Bugsy’. In an interview with Bugsy, he talks more about what he does and why:
Do you remember your first beat and what inspired you to be a producer?
I define music as sounds that make sense, and my search for that sense was the first reason to become a producer in the audio field. Arabic music at that time was focusing on romance and was influenced by the invasion of MTV in the Middle East. Western music is versatile and my interests in it grew. I began singing and performing for friends and family in gatherings and school events, at cafes and in front of many people. I began to record at my home studio and there was no looking back from then onwards.
As for my first beat, it’s that prototype that will always hang in your heart. No one forgets his first beat, it’s that first link to self-motivation, which every time you listen to, you would know how much you have been upgraded and updated in the music industry, whether it is terms of production or knowledge.
You work on sampling Arabic tracks. What made you do that and how has the feedback been?
Being around elderly people at a young age, you get to listen to two things: Wisdom and good old music. Mixed culture has a negative impact in damaging traditions, it also has a larger positive impact in defining, understanding, delivering, diversifying and most importantly, in putting us on the map for creativity.
I choose the latter for a better reason, by sampling I bring the old music back to life and help it to connect new and old generations in the music industry.
It satisfies everyone and the feedback has been amazing. It has given us a great reputation.
“Any Given Day” by Qusai Don legend, “Can’t Disrespect Me” by Eirkkk and “Hal Ertaqayna” by WMD are some of the tracks I produced that include Arabic samples.
Any artist you would like to collaborate with?
I want to collaborate with anyone who makes great music that makes sense, such as, those with the Arab League Records.
Rappers in Saudi Arabia are faced with certain challenges. What are the solutions and how can you help to support local rappers?
There is a lack of marketing for musicians and there are not many venues too. I recently discussed these issues with other musicians and the first step has been taken in rectifying it. A marketing office has been established to focus on audio marketing for musicians, especially producers, through a website, which will have all kinds of beats categorized by artist and genre. Some of the beats will be free to use. I recently uploaded three beat albums on my YouTube channel ‘Bugsy Production’ that are free to use to help local artists. I also give classes and advice — live or though social media — on subjects such as vocal training, recording technology, music production, sampling and building guides for other musicians. I am always on the lookout for any upcoming talent.
Who are the rappers that you are working with currently?
As of now I am working to collaborate with lots of artists, both locally and internationally, and in different genres. My focus is on marketing and bringing young artists to the fore so that they are heard. Some of these artists include:
• Nawwaf AKA DEVI G of the WestSide Us crew: He is the first artist I worked because of his great wordplay in Arabic rapping and for his reputation in the hip-hop scene.
• ZeonAFrican: He is versatile and has amazing singing and rapping talents in both English and Patois. When it comes to dance hall and reggae, he is incredible!
• Dragon fire & Dzeez of 1BK crew: Strong lyrics, amazing word play and punch lines, these are confident artists with great skills.
• POT (Power of Thought), a crew of four amazing young rappers — Big A, Young B, 2fitch and Randar, who recently collaborated with one of the Kingdom’s best known hip-hop icons Mohammad Ghamdi aka Klash of the WestCoast Gz in his new track ‘Eesh elle Sayer’.
• DJ Yasser & Daddy Cool from Makkah: He is a rapper and singer, the combination of old school hip-hop with soul and jazz is great.
Solo artists such as Abz Music and Seluther are ahead of the game. They are the youngest yet the most talented when it comes to rapping (in English). Their lyrics are strong and they are at par with international artists.
What are you currently working on?
According to the plan, I am working on the release of new songs ‘Bubble Up’ by Zionafrican (a dance-hall type) , and ‘Al — Hadharem,’ where i get the honor to represent my original hometown in the genre of hip-hop. I am also interviewing producers and building up the site for audio marketing.
What are your thoughts on the Saudi hip-hop scene?
I see it growing in terms of number but not quality. There are various reasons for that. There aren’t any colleges/institutes that focus on this specific field. Not many artists are supported, which takes a toll on the quality. However, in recent times, hip-hop is being increasingly accepted and it is growing fast. It will be eventually accepted fully, we just have to keep working.
Describe the following artists in just one word:
Slow Moe: Adventurous
Run Junxion: Powerful