Kuwaiti-born & now Dubai-based, DJ & songwriter Basil AlHadi aka Karrouat باسل الحادي is a force to be reckoned w/ in the Arabic music scene. The unique mash-up between Arabic & reggae music unites generations & cultures (nd also makes him one of the coolest guys ever).
Getting all the possible inspo from places he’s lived, Karrouat’s all ‘bout changing & exploring identity as long as u stay true to your own existence 🔥.
Brands like Gucci, Kenzo and Burberry also got an 👁 for his music and lifestyle singularity & collaborated w/ the Middle East sensation.
Come check the full interview ‘bout music and lthr pwr:
Firstly, can u tell us what would be a proper dictionary description for “Arabic Reggae”?
Everyone knows me as an Arabic Reggae musician ’cause I started a long time ago. Well, fifteen years ago. I’ve always listened to all types of music. But I have a big influence on reggae music ’cause my uncles used to live in the Philippines. And every time they’d come visit us, they were all ‘bout Bob Marley and all the stuff in the 80s, 90s. So I started trying to mix these two generations together & found there’s a similarity between reggae and Arabic music.
By exploring all that, I thought I had to stop this project & make something out of it. And I think the city also influenced me a lot, ’cause Dubai is more about individual experience. When u come here, u become more individualistic. U think “I guess I have to do things by myself”.
What inspires u the most ‘bout your whole experience of living in Dubai?
I have a lot to talk about Dubai. When u look at it from outside, it’s way different from what u become when u come inside. The city has a very special thing that, here, u go to one place and there are at least ten different nationalities. It’s very dynamic.
Talking ‘bout inspiration, how important is personal styling in your life & performance?
That is very important. Fashion or whatever I wear, it represents me, represents the history of me. So when I perform art, it’s a full package, it’s not about me just playing music. The visual, how the people look at me, how I dance, how I move, how I talk, how I interact is how I exchange my energy. And if it’s the music or if it’s just visual, it’s always ‘bout extending energy. It’s a full package.
You were w/ Gucci Gang and also collaborated w/ Burberry & Kenzo. What is it like to be connected with these brands?
It’s crazy. And everything’s happening in this region. It’s really getting crazy for me now that I’m working with these big brands. It’s crazy ’cause I wanted all this to keep my aesthetic clear. You know, to keep my image. I work, for example, with Gucci or Burberry, Kenzo and other brands, but my biggest deal when I talk with these guys is “I want to work with u. I want to make this happen, but I want to keep myself exist.” They don’t want me to be deleted.
By your Instagram we can see that you use some lthr goods. Do u have a lot of it?
Yeah, in my home, I have some in Jordan in my permanent collection & I also really like to thrift shop. First of all, it’s cheaper. Second, it always feels special ’cause I really believe in energy. Someone wore it while they cried, were happy or having sex or whatever. There’s some emotion related to a vintage piece.
Now we’re curious about your music and leather collection. Do you usually record your music sets?
I really don’t have anything online and I don’t record my music. If I record sets and I make my sets ready, I just start doubting myself or hating what I’m doing. I also never play the same set twice, I always improvise & go with a line drawn in my head — I’ll start mellow, then I’ll do some Arabic. Maybe I’ll do hip hop and then I’ll end it in this way. For me, it’s so easy to lead the crowd ’cause I used to do live performances.
What’s ur music biggest trait? Sum up thinking of ppl who never listened to it.
I mix techno with very classical Arabic sounds. I make it as much as I can to sound like 2019. So it sounds so fun, u know? There’s a very thin line between what’s tacky & something u think “I can fuck with this music” or “I want to dance to it”.