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  • Writer's pictureMajid Alhusseini

Musical Powerhouse Tayeb Santo Is Taking the Sound of Arab Streets to The World

Tayeb Santo, is a rising star making waves in the Arab hip-hop scene. Drawing from his upbringing in the UAE, Santo infuses his music with personal experiences, delivering smooth flows and witty wordplay that have cemented his reputation as a skilled lyricist. With dual master's degrees under his belt and fluency in diverse Arabic dialects including Arabic Fusha, Algerian Darija, Emirati, and Egyptian, Tayeb stands out as a dynamic force in the music industry, carving his own path within hip-hop. Despite the hurdles he's encountered, Tayeb has established himself in the Dubai music scene, gracing prestigious venues and festivals across the city. With his talent, tenacity, and distinct style, he has garnered a devoted following, poised for even greater success on the global stage.

What was your first interaction with music?

It was back in Algeria when I was a kid, I used to hear hip-hop music blasting from my neighbor's house studio and TV channels randomly at home. Which was building up in my head and made me always subconsciously observe the culture, sound, style etc. (That was the first spark.) While growing up in the UAE, I got exposed to Emirati rap through rap forums and Bluetooth, which helped me further connect with it and at some point, I started writing and wanting to rap in 2010.

-What are your inspirations?

I take inspiration from everything. My childhood, life experiences, the internet, anime, hip-hop music. I can go on and on, but whatever I observed in my life, I try to reflect it on my art.

-What made you want to rap in Arabic rather than English?

It just makes sense to me, why would I rap in another language and leave my culture behind? I feel more empowered and confident using my mother tongue. There’s a beauty to it, also it resonates with our region and the Arabic music scene needs that.

-Who are 5 people you dream of collaborating with?

Abyusif, Marwan Pablo, Erikkk, El grandetoto, SlowMoe.

-Which song of yours is your favorite so far and why?

Mafi Noom, it just sounds good, although it was in a phase where I was still very much an amateur in the studio.

I am not good with mixing and mastering which was a downfall and restricted me a lot in the past few years, but I am finding new ways of elevating my production by having the right people around me. But my favorites are yet to come. (upcoming tracks where I started putting more effort into my music)

-Being that you come from a background rich in music, do you see yourself using elements from Algerian/Arabic music in your work?

Yes, I do and there is yet more to come. I want to further explore with Algerian RAI music, nostalgic Arabic anime music that my generation witnessed and much more.

-You were featured in the Middle East's ``Fire in The Booth '' cypher hosted by Charlie Sloth, what was the story behind you getting that opportunity and how has it impacted your career?

it was just the right time; Big Hass gave me a call and told me "You have been selected; you have 4 days to prepare something." I told him I am ready.

-Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

I really don't know honestly; I want to focus on my career year by year and build up on that.

-What is the story behind your latest single “O6 Radio”?

I heard the boy's project at my friend's studio (SM records), and I told him I wanted to drop a verse. I wanted to revive the old Underground UAE RAP music style which was simple and delivered in boom-bap beats. I felt like I wanted to go back to basics and just make music for fun.

-Out of all your live performances so far, which one is your favorite and why?

The latest MOTB, Dubai shopping festival in Dubai Design District.

The crowd was very diverse yet energetic and supportive. Even though a lot of them heard me for the first time, I had a very pleasant, enjoyable moment on the stage.

-From the beginning of your journey until today, what are the 3 most important things you’ve learned?

Consistency, authenticity, charisma

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