Film festivals, art fairs, design days and jazz events… Dubai’s arts and culture scene has a lot going on, including a thriving hip hop industry. And artist Rendel is at the forefront, helping to push local hip hop artists onto the world stage.
Rendel was born in the UK but his musical journey began in Los Angeles, where he signed his first record contract with an independent label in 2008. Fast forward almost 10 years and he’s now the flagship artist of INT. Records. The rapper has become a real authority on the hip hop genre in Dubai, with a wide following of people who look out for his recommendations.
But why Dubai? Rendel feels that there’s a wealth of untapped talent in the region and wants to build a grass-roots music culture in a country that’s known for innovation, with space for new ideas and creativity. He’s heavily influenced by Dubai’s style, with a recent hit titled “Dollars & Dirhams” and music videos recorded at Hatta and Kite Beach. Inspiration might come on his way to SoundStruck Studios in Barsha Heights, from a shopping trip through the souks, or while chatting with other musicians in his favourite barbershop.
As a city, Dubai is known for fostering originality and vision. On a wider cultural scale, the Dubai Art Season brings the emirate’s creatives together every April with a calendar of events, including Art Dubai, SIKKA Art Fair and Design Days Dubai. Classic and independent films can be watched in open-air cinemas and at pop-up screenings, and the Dubai International Film Festival is a platform for Arab filmmakers to come to the fore.
Venues like The Fridge showcase locally-based artists performing original material, from jazz to hip hop and opera, while the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival brings an eclectic range of musicians to its stage. And of course, Rendel’s label regularly performs hugely creative and visual shows across the city.
The music used in these films was created and produced by Rendel.
Rendel takes a tour of the Gold Souk in Deira, one of his favourite places for creativity and design in Dubai.
We go behind the scenes to see how Rendel fuses eastern and western influences to create his music.
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