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MUSICIAN Tony Attalla is on a hip hop mission to change people's perception about rapping with a classy album of inspired work set to be released shortly.
The popular composer, producer, MC and poet hopes to provide a positive influence to music-lovers and his growing number of fans in Bahrain. He said: "Hip hop is not all about fancy cars, flashy accessories, money, women and drugs. That is purely a 'commercial definition' that needs to be addressed.
"Hip hop is all about truth - the freedom of speech and expression through music. "
The 24-year old Bahrain-based Egyptian-Lebanese entertainer believes the current hype around hip hop is having a negative influence on young people.
He said: "There are clear restrictions on abusive language being broadcast but radio stations do not appear to censor popular rap artists boasting about driving at high speeds, or slitting throats, or pushing a girl off a cliff! This is not what I want my child to be listening to."
His upcoming album is being produced by his company cigAwet Productions and will be co-mastered by Mellow Studios and co-produced by C A Productions. It will comprise of 17 tracks and will also feature his friend and partner Tris B, singer Sionelle and two other artistes.
Tony, who now lives in Arad, moved to Bahrain in 2002 from Kuwait, where he was born, at the age of 18 to pursue his dreams of becoming an established artist from the region on the international music scene.
Belonging to a family of devoted listeners of traditional Arabic music, Tony stuck out as a sore thumb with his fascination of Western beats. He said: "My father used to think I was crazy. I would be stuck all day in front of a computer with my headphones on and jotting down lyrics or poems.
"I first began writing poetry when I was 11. It slowly evolved into making songs and I soon found myself passionate about making music.
"I did not know how to write notes but I had the perfect melody in my mind and so taught myself how to play the piano and gradually learned to do everything including composing, producing, mixing and rapping."
Tony's powerful poetry has even reduced audiences to tears, as was witnessed when he delivered a touching piece on war. Two young women were so overcome with emotion at the NYIT poetry festival that they cried. He said: "It felt awesome that I could create a rhyme and get people to react so strongly to my music."
To date he has released two albums, three mixed tapes and around 40 singles and performed with leading artists visiting the region. He was one of three MCs for the 'Stand Up Step Up' talent show that was held at the Ahlia University in Hoora and Nestle's Show'em What You Got show at the Gulf Air Club in Salmabad. He has also provided background music for a programme to be televised on a Kuwaiti TV channel.
Through the launch of his latest album, he also hopes to help motivate talented young Bahrainis who have inhibitions about pursuing their dreams.
"I want to be the voice from the Middle East and take it internationally," he added.
Log on to www.facebook.com/cigawet to sample his latest offering.