Saudi Immigrant Rapper “Skinny” Makes Heavy Impact On U.S. Hip – Hop
From English as a second language to some of the best written lyrics on his hit single, Saudi Arabian rapper / producer Skinny is here to stay. We recently caught up with Skinny who now resides in the North Los Angeles area to talk about his latest achievements in music, what he has in store, and most of all, his story on how he got to where he is now. Growing up in Saudi Arabia, things were quite difficult, especially when music is the passion you are wanting to pursue. In in a short amount of time, Skinny was able to go from no English, to one of the hottest up and coming rappers in the game. Recently acquiring a deal with Warner Chappell Music, Skinny has no plans but to reach the top.
Interview by: Fred Darrnell
WWSMAG: I know your are not from the U.S.A., give us a brief introduction about yourself and how you got to where you are at now.
SK: Sure, well I moved out here from Saudi Arabia in 2005. I went to high school here and I just said I just have to make it happen. I slowly started rapping and eventually got into the production side. It was hard for me to find beats. All the producers were trying to charge me and stuff. I started practicing and making beats for myself. I got a computer and stuff and made sure I got good at it. Eventually I did, and now I’m here pretty much haha.
What are the biggest changes you are seeing now from the first day you started music here in the U.S.
Oh it’s crazy. It’s like the same people who used to brush me off now try to work with me. A lot of people are actually trying to work with me now. A lot of them are actually trying to get beats and features from me for their artist etc. I landed a dope publishing deal with Warner Bros and that opened up a lot of doors. People really have my back now and they believe in it.
How was it like in Saudi and the music scene back home?
When I was growing up it was very censored. It still is but because of the Internet it’s not as bad. We only had specific artists that were big enough like 2Pac and Biggie. That’s pretty much how it’s different. It’s really different. They love hip hop man, but it’s tough out there to have a artist come out of there. It was so limited. Here in America you can really do it. You can compete and do it. But Saudi is super fun and cool. Everyone is super cool. It’s different but it’s a fun different. You have to grow up there to understand. The culture is amazing and it’s fun but different haha. We didn’t have movie theaters out there. We had to bootleg movies haha like drug dealers.
How did you end up in the U.S. in the Los Angeles area?
Yeah, well my mom’s family lives out here and they were trying to get us a green card. So we decided to come out here. I came to North Los Angeles. I was in the English as a second language class during 9/11. So, I had to fly back because it got dangerous for a little bit. So, I experienced how things really changed. It went from “oh your from Saudi, that’s super cool” to “oh shit, you’re a Saudi damn.”
What other challenges did you have to face to become a English speaking musician?
I think my accent was a challenge. The accent had to be believable. It took awhile to get that down including the language itself. I told myself I’d make sure I’d get it down before I came out. So, it was pretty much the accent, the flow and what to say. You can only say so much. You have 100 songs and sometimes you have to really find new material.
What does your day consist of? What do you do every day to sustain your career?
Right now, I smoke a lot of weed haha and a lot of writing. I practice a lot. I listen to my own music a lot. I make beats and just think of cool ways to having a lot of cool music types. Sometimes I make club songs, sometimes I make rap. I work on my social media and work on promotions a lot. I make sure I take cool pictures for Instagram and post funny stuff so people who follow me stay engaged.
You have a lot of cool music and videos coming out that are super awesome, aside from music, what do you have going on?
I will definitely have more music and videos. I have a cool beanie and hat company that I am releasing. It’s a whole movement man. I’m a immigrant just chasing the dream you know. I’m like the Mexican working at the car wash you know, just a movement of coming up. We are chasing the American dream man.
What other advise do you have for other artists? What are some of the most important things we need to know?
For the new artists, just work hard man. Sometimes you have to be your own fan, that’s what I always say. You have got to believe in yourself. You cannot wait for other people to tell you that you are ready. You have got to know yourself that you are dope and ready to shine. It’s long and tiring, but you have to stay positive and keep pushing. You have to enjoy what you do. There’s not plan B man. It’s either this or “paper or plastic?” There is no way you can’t make it if you don’t stop. Make sure you have great music and a great team. From there it’s just a matter of time.
Tell me about the next single coming up. What’s it about?
Yeah, we are dropping a single called PMK. It’s a nice jazzy song. We shot a really dope video with some actors. We had so much stuff in the video, it was awesome. It’s a cool song for the average person. It’s a song that brings every one together. I also have a single out right now on Itunes called “Talk 4 Me.” That’s my current single right now that I’m pushing so make sure to support and get it guys.