Jordanian rapper releases his first album, ‘Mtras’

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“Mtras” in classical Arabic language means barrier, or obstacle that blocks an enemy’s movement. (Photo: Handout Saleh Zamil)
Eighteen-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian rapper, songwriter Saleh Zamil released earlier this month his first album, “Mtras”, which contains 12 different tracks, connected in a unique way, that tell the story of some of his struggles and how he managed to overcome them.اضافة اعلان

“Mtras” in classical Arabic language means barrier, or obstacle that blocks an enemy’s movement.

“Here, the word ‘mtras’ means the barrier that separates the two phases I have been through, from being weak and bullied to feeling strong and confident,” Zamil told Jordan News.

At only 15, “I had the ability to write lyrics that rhymed. I just did not have enough knowledge on how to properly produce songs, but in 2020, during quarantine, I worked on my skills and learned, so I could start making music professionally,” he said.

His transition from “weak” to “strong” is basically the theme of the album. And, it could serve as a lesson.

“Acknowledging the problem is half of the solution; I recognized that I had a problem that most people related to, and I needed to address it and talk about it to finally be able to overcome it and move on. That is what sparked the idea for ‘Mtras’,” said Zamil.

The first six songs of the album are mostly chill and emotional. The rapper talks mainly about struggling with depressive episodes due to being bullied, blames some of the people around him for not helping at the time and addresses some other reasons that made him feel isolated, weak and depressed.

(Photo: Handout Saleh Zamil)

“Saat Elyoum” (Hours of the day) is the intro to the album.

“This song was written when I was going through depression; it is when I realised that I had to face my problems in order to move on. The song basically says how those heavy and terrible hours of the day will eventually pass,” he said.

“Rah Tensak” (They will forget about you) is the sixth song from the album, one that somehow stressed him out. He did not want to release it because it touched on the subject of religion, talking about the artist’s personal beliefs.

“The reactions to this one surprised me. I was hesitant to release it because it explained how I found comfort and peace in God. Everyone leaves you eventually and forget about you, but God will always look out for you and stay by your side, even when you are sinning,” said Zamil.

This last song is a transit to the second “phase” of the album, which is more upbeat and cheerful. It talks about the way Zamil feels now, which is more confident and powerful. The pain in “Saat Elyoum” is gone now, those hours “feel like minutes now”.

This second part also criticizes negative behaviour, talks about how important it is to “believe in yourself and trust your instincts”, and about the importance of having courage to face the past and problems without feeling ashamed or weak.

Saleh Zamil and other hip-hop artists on the day of the album release. (Photo: Seka Production)

Music producers Litch and Mouje worked alongside Zamil to produce the album. Litch, commenting on the creative process, said it was “a new experience for me, this was my first time taking on a project this big, twelve songs, I usually work on singles”.

“Overall it was a fun experience; we worked together to come up with various styles for the different songs, although at times it was stressful because we had to change a lot of things to make them better, but the reactions we got after the release felt rewarding. People are pleased with the album,” he added.

On the day of the release, many hip-hop artists gathered to celebrate the album: rappers like Illiam and AlRawi, music producers Litch, Mouje and Mazz, “Wavy cloud” team singer Bilal Shabib, Mohammad Naji and photographer Seka, young Singer Siilawy, family members and Zamil’s friends.

“It was an overwhelming feeling seeing everyone gathered around me to celebrate the project I have been working on for a year. Litch and Mouje who worked with me on the album were very excited to be there too, we were like one huge family,” Zamil said.

“This album is different from my old work. I only released singles before, but the album tells a story. I worked with professional producers and learned a lot from them. I would say that the way I look at music is different now, too,” he said.

“I write better than before; I poured my heart into the songs and touched on personal emotional subjects that others will relate to. Hopefully they will feel understood while they listen to the album,” he explained.

The artist aims to have a positive influence on his fans: “I want to reach a place in my career where I am still true to myself. I want to be heard and be able to leave a positive impact on the people who listen to my songs.”

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