Rapper returns to Jordan and his roots

Jordanian artist “Shouly” recently returned to Jordan and plans on finishing up his EP in the country. (Photo: Handout from Bilal Shouly)
AMMAN — Bilal Shouly, who goes by his last name “Shouly,” is a 26-year-old Jordanian rapper and musician based in the US.

The rapper joined Jordan’s hip-hop scene back in 2010, “I was 15 when I started making music, I always had a knack for the theater and acting, and I used to compete in national competitions for poetry, and then I made music because I loved it; you can say it kind of stuck,” he told Jordan News in an interview. اضافة اعلان

“School was the best place to find an audience; there are people that know you and share some of your experiences, so I made sure to use my music in my projects; music was always a form of expression.”

For a school project, the artist focused on how music affected his life, and afterwards he began getting small gigs from the school.

“When it comes to writing, my inspiration kind of shifted; the way I write has changed now, I write with the idea that ‘this is going to help someone who is going through a bad day or a phase or a time’,” said the artist.  

With the change in writing, the rapper said that over the years, the messages he has received from fans has also changed, “the messages went from something like ‘oh you’re a sick rapper’ to ‘Shouly this helped me; your music helped me through my finals or through my parent’s divorce or through the loss of my father.’ I realized that my music no longer impacted only my life, it started impacting others as well,” he told Jordan News in a recent interview.

Jordanian artist “Shouly” recently returned to Jordan and plans on finishing up his EP in the country.  (Photo: Handout from Bilal Shouly)

The rapper also talked about how important it is to have a supportive environment, “besides my family, who ‘brag’ about my music, my friends and the people around me are huge fans of what I do, they have been with me for the last 10 years, they provide support and help me with the shows and organizing events,” he explained.

“I usually ask for their feedback before I release any tracks, I really value their opinions. They usually don’t steer me wrong, but you know at the end of the day as the owner of what you do you have to have the final say,” he added.

Shouly said that he used the time he lost during the pandemic, (he had concerts that were canceled in Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine) to work on his album.

The album was released at the end of last year and called “AlRobe Alkhali,” which translates to “empty quarter,” according to the artist.

“My favorite song is the second last in my album called “Qa3,” — rock-bottom in Arabic — it’s basically the end of the journey leaving the desolate, lonely, alienating desert, and going home to something happier, cooler, and better in terms of life,” the rapper explained.

“You know when you hit rock-bottom you only go up from there, and that’s basically what that song represents, plus it is an afro-beat track, with incredible drums, so it means a lot of things to me on so many different levels; it is very personal, but it also makes you want to dance,” he said.

The rapper is currently visiting Jordan and part of the reason he is here is to finalize the recording of his upcoming EP, which is set to come out this winter; called “Mawsem Al Zaal,”  it translates to the “season of sadness.”

“It’s a shorter project, five to six songs in collaboration with a couple of cool producers who are based here in Amman. It also features other artists like Illiam, Shbash and Emsallam,” the artist said.

“I’ve been around music since it was ‘infantile’ compared to now, and I want to be considered as one of the pioneers of the scene, and to be one of the people who actually took it somewhere more than just locally,” he said. “I want to use my music to tour the world.”

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