Saudi Arabian hip hop enthusiast, promoter, producer and radio host, Hassane Dennaoui, otherwise known as Big Hass, has recently released his latest cypher – with a focus on the kingdom and its music talents.
He told a local media outlet, “Because of my following in Arabic hip-hop, I wanted to highlight my country. I’ve done a lot of cyphers in the Levant and some parts of the Gulf, but I hadn’t worked on a Saudi cypher before. It’s the least I could do for Saudi.” Dennaoui continued, “Saudi rap initially got off on the wrong foot, with a lot of diss/beef culture. It’s gotten really big — it’s the voice of the streets in Saudi Arabia. My main goal with ‘Saudi Cypher’ is to showcase rappers in Saudi who are willing to work together to represent their scene.”
Speaking about his new release, he explained how it features six Saudi rappers, each ‘spitting bars’ over a beat produced by Dattune, who is also heard rapping on it. “I chose him particularly because I wanted the beat to have that old-school, ‘boom-bap’ kind of vibe,” said Big Hass. “Arabic rap — and music generally — is going more towards the new-school, trap-y music, but I wanted to give space to the rappers to express themselves lyrically, and I felt the best way to do that was with that ‘boom-bap’ sound. And Dattune, in my opinion, is underrated, so I wanted to give him a shot.”
So what is a cypher? Hass relays, “cyphers are mainly about flexing and showcasing your skills as a rapper,” as well as showing how a variety of rap styles and flows can all work in uniform on one piece of music.
Speaking about each rapper, Big Hass says, “One of them, Big A, has been out of the scene for the past few years, so this verse is his comeback. Then you have Blvxb and Al9ine, rappers who are representing Saudi with that new sound. You’ve got Al Young, who’s one of the most prominent rappers in Saudi — he’s been doing it a long time — and Khalz, who proved that he's a name to be reckoned with, even if maybe he doesn’t get mentioned a lot. And Dattune proved you can be a producer and a rapper.” He added, “So we’ve got six amazing rappers doing their own thing, but it highlights that a group of rappers can get together to do something for Saudi. We should celebrate those rappers that wanted to work together. Hopefully this will (inspire) others.”