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Next Music Station
Hagage A.J. Masaed
'Sometimes, we need to say more than just words.'
Last Modified: 11 May 2011 13:20

"I started to sing in 1978-1979 when the 'Hip Hop' music started in the US, in New York. I was in Ohio at that time, and I really liked it when I first listened to it. My family members are poets. If I were born in Yemen, I would have been a poet too.

Rap comes from the heartache. It comes along with oppressed people, whether oppressed by the government, in their own homes or in the areas they live in. This is how it started. Most Yemenis living in the United States run supermarkets business in dangerous districts as we are brought up in those areas which are inhabited by black people. They are poor and we run supermarkets in these places. They don't have cars and can't go shopping in far places, so they buy their needs from our shops.

Those neighbourhoods are very dangerous. There are drugs, robberies, shootings and many disasters in those places, but at the same time, we are there and we understand the stories of those streets. Most of my songs were first stories from the streets, as when you live with someone, you become like them. You have to try ... 

I came to Yemen because my father was sick. This was what brought me back to Yemen. He was an old man, and I wanted to see him because we all need to be good to our parents. We will all grow old someday and will need our children to take care of us if we get old and sick. That is why I came to stay with my father and take care of him.

When I came here, I became known. I knew some people, and they helped me release my first album in 1999, and I became famous. Now, I've been here for more than 10 years, and I've taken part in concerts sponsored by the French cultural centre.

Sometimes, we need to say more than just words. Today, 65 per cent of the people in Yemen are below the age of 30. We thought that through our Hip Hop or Rap, we can send messages that are understandable to the youth, and this is the main goal, that we deliver messages to the youth because they are the future of Yemen.

Each year, 1,500,000 young students stop studying, each year. How are they going to change the situation in Yemen if they don't finish their studies?"

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Al Jazeera
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