Artists struggle to keep hip-hop scene alive

Cheering crowds replaced with social media views and podcast listeners

(Photo: Pixabay)
For Jordanian Hip-hop artists who make a living off loud and crowded events, 2020 could have been the end of many careers in the art form, but some have found a way to keep the hip-hop scene alive in Jordan during lockdown.اضافة اعلان

After all his events were cancelled, Jordanian beatboxer Abood Al-Adham launched his podcast “Wallahmiaow” from home, to talk about music and interview personalities from the Jordanian hip-hop scene.

Today, “Wallahmiaow” is among the top five podcasts in the music category in Jordan on Apple Podcasts.

“I wanted people to smile when they hear the name, and I love cats!” Adham told Jordan News in a recent interview.

Adham even found a way to carry on the Jordanian beatbox championship “King of the Beat”, which he started in 2014, holding the competition online.

“I thought why not? We needed a Jordanian champion, so we can later qualify to compete in the world beatboxing championship,” Adham said.

According to the artist, Jordan was the first Arab country to compete worldwide in a beatboxing championship in 2018, represented by Jordanian beatboxer Fahed Al-Huwayan.

Despite these efforts, Adham conceded that the last year was very difficult for him financially. His company, KOBJO, a local event management company that organizes and sponsors hip-hop events, has not been getting a lot of business since restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 went into effect.

Meanwhile, Jordanian hip-hop dancer and dance instructor Rajaee Shehadeh spent the time in lockdown trying to focus on his TikTok. 

“It is almost like we are disappearing,” Shehadeh said, lamenting the suspension of all events and his inability to take part in dance battles.

Many dancers now are adapting to the circumstances by using social media platforms, like TikTok, as a way to reach their audience, Shehadeh told Jordan News.

After going viral on the social media platform multiple times by accident, and gaining up to 35 thousand followers and more than 1.5 million views, Shehadeh thinks that he should be posting consistently and putting more effort into his TikTok.

“I was with a friend of mine helping him shoot a vlog, I thought why not film a TikTok, so I did, and posted it later that night, to wake up the next day to everyone telling me that I went viral! It made me excited to post more videos,” he said. 

For rapper Ahmad Haroon, also known as Illiam, the pandemic lifestyle has not been too kind. The past year was hard on him emotionally as well as financially, he told Jordan News.

As he makes money by performing in events, Illiam did not work much during the pandemic.

“Also the situation is becoming boring. See, to make a song you need something to spark the idea for you to write the lyrics about, and I am not seeing anyone or doing anything special; therefore, there is no inspiration,” he added.

Plus, to produce one track you need the help of many people, like producers, and some of them could not get to their studios, Illiam explained. “We also could not film any music videos because the gatherings are not allowed, we could not get the crew in one place,” he added.

“I recorded three or four songs since the pandemic started, and now I am taking a long break from music. I think I will take a break from social media too, so I can reinvent myself and come back stronger than ever,” Illiam said.