Interview de Diligent Thought

Publié le par La pensée de midi

Lors de notre émission de radio Au Rendez-vous de midi du 3 mai 2008, nous avons consacré la partie musicale au rap dans le monde arabe. Nous nous étions notamment focalisés sur un groupe de Dubaï, Diligent Thought. Vous pouvez retrouver leur première mixtape, Lyricalligraphy, en téléchargement libre sur leur myspace.
Assez perplexe face à ce groupe qui évolue aux Émirats-Arabes-Unis mais qui produit une musique qui semble venir tout droit d'outre Atlantique, nous les avons contactés par mail afin d'en savoir un peu plus sur leur rapport à la création et sur le hip hop à Dubaï. Jibberish, l'un des deux MC du groupe, a eu la gentillesse de nous répondre.

First, why do you rap in English or in Americain should i say ? do you speak arabic ?

Rapping in English wasn't really a choice. Personally, I (Jibberish) am not fluent in Arabic. I was born and raised in Sri Lanka where the only two languages I spoke were English and a dialect of Malaysian (since my family has Malaysian roots). Using, as you say 'American' styles of speaking when I rap somehow makes sense to me. Picture it this way - I've grown up listening to hip-hop purely from the United States so when I think of how I want to deliver my words the only reference I have is those other American MCs that I look up to and draw inspiration from. So basically the way I rap is a result of how strongly hip hop in the United States has influenced me. Toofless is not with me right now to ask him about this, but I think he feels the same way. That does not mean we want to merely imitate them. While we might sound similar to them we differ from them in our content.Our culture is diffrent, the way we were brought up may be different, the things we value may be different. We put our personality into our music when we write from the heart. And that gives our music its own identity. I suppose you are right. Dubai is very cosmopolitan and heavily western influenced. Perhaps if we were in Sudan, or Sri Lanka or Palestine we would rap in the local language. In Dubai the hip hop scene is only just starting up, therefore there are no rules set. There is no rule set to say in what language we should rap. Thats why we have freedom to do what we want and define the scene in whatever way we chose. It is a very important time for Dubai and for us. Everything is being created in front of our eyes.There is no past.....there is only a present, and a hope for a bright future. I must say though that we don't consider ourselves as a Middle Eastern hip-hop group. We are just a simple, straight forward hip-hop group. We aren't trying to make it anymore complicated than that. We want people to take notice of us for making good quality music first before they take notice of the fact that we are from such unusual cultural and racial backgrounds. This is how we feel we will get acknowledged on a global scale, rather than just a regional scale. I hope I'm making sense. This is a tough question! haha

Are there many rap groups in Dubaï and do they rap in Arabic or in English like you ?

 There are a few rap groups in Dubai, very few in fact. I think around 5 or so. Most or all of them rap in English.

Is there a special message in your texts, that you insist on ? what 's your principal aim by doing rap ?

There is no single overriding message in our music. We just write what we feel we want to talk about. We are four average young educated men thinking and talking about pretty much the same thing everyone else our age would talk about. So we try to put that down in our music. We don't really want to over-complicate our music with some big message and all of that. If you do that then the message overshadows the music. You become an activist rather than a musician. A lot of hip hop artists forget this, they forget that they're making music first and political/social/conscious statements second. Not the other way around. Our main aim is to make sure that any music we put out represents hip-hop in its finest form..Every time someone puts in a Diligent Thought CD in their stereo system it should be like they're hanging out with us; relaxing, joking around or maybe sometimes having a serious discussion etc There are so many us in the world who have so much to say but no one who will listen to us. With music we can put our thoughts, feelings and ideas in a way that grabs people's attention and makes them listen. Thats the power of hip-hop. Its a beautiful thing.

Is the rap scene lively in Dubaï, are there many shows ? and is there for you a hip hop mouvement, with breakdancers, etc...

The rap scene in Dubai is not as lively as it could be. Its only just begun to grow with new hip hop bands coming out in 2006-2007. There is opportunity to do decent number of gigs, usually as the opening act for international artists. But the hip-hop culture is not strong yet. There aren't many graffiti artists, only a handful. There are a lot of DJs but they're not true hip-hop DJs with good turntable skills. There are a few breakdancing crews that are working hard to perfect their skills but none of them are near international standards. For the most part the hip-hop culture is missing from Dubai, even though a lot of people listen to hip-hop. Somehow the majority of Dubai residents only know about hip-hop from what they see on TV. The commercialized corporate manufactured garbage. Not many people truly understand how deep hip-hop goes and that it is truly a lifestyle for a lot of people. Maybe Diligent Thought can change things in the future? Who knows?

Do you want to say something to french people ? Me I'd like to thank you for the mixtape...

We'd like to say Viva La France!! (is that the right spelling?) Not sure haha. Solphonic (our beatmaker) was very big into French Hip-hop when he first started making beats. A lot of people in Lebanon and Palestine and other arab countries LOVE French hip-hop. In fact my friend passed me a CD by a group called Le Petit Chef (not sure of the spelling) two weeks ago. So keep doing your thing France! It's great to see a nation of people make hip-hop their own and get their own signature sound. I hope the Middle East can do the same! About the mixtape: Your welcome! I only wish we had more of our original material to show you. That mixtape is old and we've been improving on our styles a lot since then.

Propos recueillis par Marjolaine Peuzin

Publié dans Billets d'humeur

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