Wednesday May 22nd, 2024
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Ramez Naguib Delivers Boundary-Pushing Producer Album ‘Yemken’

The producer ensembles an eclectic lineup of regional artists featuring Synaptik, Thawra, LAI and more.

Omar Ghonem

Ramez Naguib Delivers Boundary-Pushing Producer Album ‘Yemken’

Ramez Naguib is a man with many musical hats, beyond DJing as well as composing music for some of the region’s renowned films and commercials he is making a name for himself as a prominent figure in the wider Egyptian music scene. Earlier this year, he announced a collaborative album through SceneNoise, aiming to explore new directions within the industry and encourage established artists to step outside their usual styles. Three months later, "Yemken" has arrived on streaming platforms featuring a genre-diverse host of emerging favorites from across the Middle East - Moudy Alarbe, Nubi, Mahdy Madness, Laila Beshara, Selta, Arsenik, Thawra, Mahmoud Hussain, Lai, Synaptik.

This album showcases Naguib's role as more than just a ‘music producer’, he acts as a curator and sound architect, demonstrating talent that extends beyond beat creation. While his previous work in film and advertising hinted at this potential, "Yemken" reveals a more fully formed creative vision.

Naguib creates a diverse yet cohesive sonic palette throughout the record, allowing each artist to experiment and step outside their comfort zones, propelled to new horizons by the meticulously crafted beats. From 80s disco vibes to contemporary hip-hop and a hell of a lot in between, we witness these artists reveal aspects of themselves previously unseen. On the track "Matghebsh," for example, rapper Arsenik sings prominently in English, embracing a pop-infused approach to a funk beat. He taps into his emotions with a song that perfectly fits as a summer hit.

In other instances, "Bent El 5al" showcases Syrian artist Thawra's relentless rap delivery, her lyrics delving into social commentary over a minimal trap instrumental laid out by Naguib. Despite following the Arsenik track on the album, there's no jarring dissonance. This smooth transition is achieved through NAguib’s diligent sound selection, as if he has effortlessly melded his influences, from club music to experimental hip-hop, into these precisely constucted soundscapes.

In “Kol Mab2a F Seka" featuring previous Red Bull Mat El Kalam battle rap champion Mahmoud Hussain Naguib incorporates driving drum and bass influences that propel the track forward, laying the foundation for Hussain to present one of the best performances on the record.

Laila Beshara delivers a passionate performance on "Fawda," further elevated by Naguib's infectious instrumentals. Featuring a vibrant horn section and pulsating bass drums, it perfectly complements Beshara’s vocal style. Another notable feature is on the track “Embareh” where Naguib introduces Mahdy Madness in a completely different light as he takes on an 80s-inspired synth-driven disco beat, showcasing his versatility and future potential outside the rap game.

Throughout the record, Naguib pushes boundaries for music producers in the region, taking control of the narrative and creative direction despite working with lead men and women across the album. It’s a flex, in the best way possible.

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