CANNES: Since 2003, Outlaw Productions has been a one-stop-shop for all media-related services for local rising talent, as well as big conglomerates. While their production house specializes in music production — mixing, mastering, songwriting, jingles, radio ads and theme songs — their true power lies in bolstering the business in the MENA region.
With a notable performance by Flipperachi, talks by DJ Outlaw himself, and producer Sarah Nabil, their presence at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity serves as a testament to the ever-growing talent in the Arab region and its global appeal.
What the company has worked to do since its inception is to create a space for upcoming artists to thrive, mainly through the production house and record label, which provides artists marketing, distribution and concert management.
A decade ago, hip hop was the untapped gem of the region, but as more artists adopted the artform, it transformed into a genre that defines Arab music today.
“Hip hop is taking over now globally, especially in the region. With my contribution to the scene when it comes to Arabic hip hop, and with the other major players that have been doing what we do, it’s getting bigger and bigger now,” he said.
Some of their latest song releases include “Nayda” by Flipperachi featuring Alaa Alhendi, “Floating” by Lil Easy, “Nadam” by Fares DehbiI, “Dgeega” by Daffy and Mohamed Aljassim, “Noor O Thulma” by Lil Easy featuring AlYoung, and others.
Outlaw started his journey in 1997 as a DJ and transitioned to hip hop. But rather than copying the sounds of urban America’s people, whose struggles birthed the genre in the 1970s, Arab artists infused their own sound and context with Arabic instrumentals and lyricism.
In the 1990s, one of the key indicators of a hip hop artist’s success was making it on TV channels such as MTV. Music theory and education was a trial-and-error practice, and little to no institutions established to ensure the music scene flourished regionally. With the rise of user-generated platforms and online streaming, music has never been more accessible.
“Now, when you say ‘I’m a hip hop artist, I’m a hip hop producer,’ people actually pay attention. Back then it was like, ‘what you're doing? Deejaying, why?’ It was (considered) a hobby. Now, the businesses and the industry are getting there, all these big entities that are coming into the region shedding more light into the scene. It’s never been better than this,” DJ outlaw said.
“We have yet to see an Arab artist make it to the top charts internationally. Today, with the launch of Billboard Arabia under the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG), it’s a huge opportunity for them to officially cement their place with international music players.”
It goes without saying that events like Cannes Lions are crucial platforms to elevate regional talent and build their presence globally, the DJ said.
“It doesn’t get any bigger than Cannes Lions … Going to these types of events, places to represent Bahrain and what we do as music executives in the region, representing hip hop music and the hip hop scene from the Middle East region — coming here and showcasing what we do to all these important people, (in addition to) the crowd themselves, it’s a huge opportunity,” he said.
He said fans can look forward to a number of releases by artists under Outlaw Productions.