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Poetry, Palestine leave their mark on local rapper

Rakan Dudin
Local rapper Rakan Dudin is seen in this undated photo. The artist is preparing to release an EP in the near future. (Photo: Rakan Dudin)
AMMAN — Local musician Rakan Dudin chose to get an iPod before he got his first phone — one of the first inklings of the ways music would shape his life. اضافة اعلان

He began writing poetry as a kid, a habit he picked up from his mom. And his father’s versatile music taste also had a huge influence on the up-and-coming rapper.

“He had 50 Cent and Tupac. And he also had a lot of jazz, a lot of blues, classic rock. So it all just took me towards music. It’s a gravitational pull, in a way,” he said.

When Dudin wrote his first actual song, he was in the middle of the shower and started writing to the beat playing in the background. A couple of days later, the song was released and got about 8,000 streams.

“Until now, that’s the best thing that happened to me musically,” he said, laughing.

Dudin then told the story of his first show ever, with a fellow musician who goes by the stage name Kozy.

“It was me and Kozy. We were supposed to be the main event. Only like nine people came to the concert, which was amazing and horrible,” he recalled. “A couple of friends came and it was like a little get together and we were just laughing.”

Dudin did not let the disappointing turnout stop him. The rapper and lyricist said he prefers to look forward rather than look back.

Though he does not have a routine, he always makes time to get his creative process flowing.

“It’s so beautiful when you get ahold of that pen and you keep going. It just doesn’t stop. And every day is a memory of making music. I start my day listening to music and I end my day listening to music.”

Dudin said his goal has always been to live in the moment, whether that involves writing music, performing live sets with his friend and colleague, Big Murk, or creating an EP with Zai’, an audio engineer and producer, in the middle of the night.

“Every day is different. I just wake up and make something out of nothing. I just kind of go with the flow and whatever comes to me, comes to me.”

Dudin continues to draw inspiration from all around the world, but he is particularly enjoying his work with artists from Palestine.

“We finally got to meet each other and it has been a blessing. They’re older than me, they have more experience, so they’re teaching me a lot. And ever since the pandemic started, we’ve all been online. Some rappers ended up in France, some in Toronto, some in Amsterdam. We all just come together at night and we sit and talk.”

When looking beyond the borders of the region, Dudin draws inspiration from the streets of New York City, the speed and energy of grime in the UK, and the late MF Doom.

Looking outward, in addition to his time with his grandfather, has led Dudin to new territory outside the English language and beyond his go-to jazzy music.

Dudin recalled sitting quiet and wide-eyed as his grandfather talked to him about composition and poetry for hours. His grandpa inspired him to learn more about the language and take the leap of rapping in Arabic rather than English.

One day in the recording studio, Big Murk urged him to give it a try.

“I tried it and I liked it. And I’m a lot more comfortable with Arabic now. It’s your mother tongue, at the end of the day,” Dudin said.

Throughout the past five years, Dudin has been challenging his capabilities and discovering his sound. He has been able to develop a certain style by combining alternative rap and heavy, modern hip-hop while also referring back to the roots of the genre.

All of that experimentation has brought him to where he is now, impatiently waiting to release his favorite project so far: an EP with Big Murk featuring four major regional talents.

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