#WaraElMazzika: Emsallam Shares His Take on the Jordanian Music Scene, His New Album, and Life in Russia
For this edition of #WaraElMazzika we have an exclusive interview with the promising Jordanian audiovisual artist, rapper, and painter based out of Moscow, Emsallam.
Emsallam started his journey in music back in 2009 but it only really took off after he released his solo album “The Last Step” in 2016 with The Archiducer (Ayman Salhi). While Hip Hop and Rap have been around for over two decades in the MENA region, Emsallam and The Archiducer were one of the first in the region back in 2016 to take trap music to the main stage.
His second album “Post-Colonialism” was released in 2018 also achieving significant critical acclaim and reinforcing his position as a pioneer and a unique talent. Emsallam’s only music video released for the album made waves regionally with 3 million views on youtube to date and was ranked top Hip Hop track by formidable online art and culture magazines in the region.
When and how did you get into music?
I always wanted to make things. I remember falling in love with drawing as a kid. I used to draw all the time. When I wasn’t drawing I used to reassemble my toys to make new toys. This was because I’m the 8th kid for my parents, so I didn’t receive new toys often, looking back at it, I believe that’s why 8 wanted to make new things.
It seems I wanted to build my own reality. When I grew up a bit I got caught up with melodies and music. I remember playing a game with my mom and sisters. It went like they sing a song and the next player should sing another song that starts with the last letter of the song they sang. Music, drawing, and creating new toys. That’s me.
What inspires your music?
I didn’t have an instrument. I couldn’t afford one or learn to play. I couldn’t sing properly because I didn’t have the vocals like the proper Arab singers on the TV. And I was very good with writing poetry, I remember reading and memorizing the names of the song wirters and composers of the songs that show on Rotana clip channel back then.
That’s why I decided to start harmonizing my poetry to be singable like those songs I hear. forward to 2008 I discovered my thing. RAP MUSIC. a music form that doesn’t require good vocal material and any music theory.. It was truly the street music. It’s history from there.
What’s new in your new album?
To summarize it, I can say it’s me after doing some therapy. It’s the quiet me. More spiritual, more accepting of God, love, pain, and the traumas I had since I was a kid. And other traumas I picked along the way when I moved to Russia and find myself alone after being somehow an underground celebrity if I can say that.
What do you think of the Jordanian music scene?
It’s growing. And I’m so fascinated by the fact that hip hop music is dominating and growing very fast in the Levant and Egypt. Hip hop Artists are the most hardworking artists in Jordan right now. I can say they are almost the only active musicians since COVID started.
Which artists would you like to collaborate with?
Narcy, Canadian Iraqi hip hop Master. He was one of my inspirations as I was developing my craft. A Saudi brilliant creator and director Meshal Aljaser formerly of Tefaz11. I believe we’ll be a dream team. And of course Mashrou3 Laila. I like to participate in the progressive movement they support.
What are your future plans?
I just finished my masters degree in ceramics. I released my 3rd album. I’m getting married, now I’m working on my own startup. Nothing to talk about yet. I want to get back to do gigs soon too. But so far so good and this COVID situation is helping me focus on my visual art. My next music project and my newest interest is being an entrepreneur.