Dubai-based rap group The Recipe have just released their highly-anticipated track “Death to Get Here,” in the wake of their recent comeback. Disappearing from the scene in 2008, The Recipe members Swerte, Kaz Money and P.Storm speak to Al Arabiya News of struggles prior to their latest single, and about turning down vacation time, relationships, and risking their health throughout their musical journey.
What got you into music scene?
Some people write journals, some people paint, we make music. It’s just our way of expressing ourselves and releasing built-up energy. It helps pay bills sometimes too!
What is behind your group’s name?
It’s more a moral to the story really. Never decide at the end of the night. Sleep on the options you’ve been discussing all night long then make a decision, otherwise you get stuck with a silly name like The Recipe.
Which artists have you worked with?
We’ve been here for so long and kept an open mind... that it’s led to working with musicians from so many different genres, from Sandwash to Private Government to Hamdan al-Abri to the Afif Brothers. It’s been a blessing to work with some of the greatest musicians this country has to offer.
Which music genre is most reflective of your style?
Japanese Electro Cowboy Moombahton, usually played to the time of 3/4 notes.
Why were you absent from the music scene?
We just needed a break. From 2008-2011, we had put so much into the group, the label, the solo projects and the shows that it just burnt us out. We still took time to go into the studio and create every now and then, but it wasn’t until we got in front of a crowd and performed again in 2013 that it really inspired us to take it seriously again.
What is the meaning behind your latest track “Death To Get Here”?
We were in the studio one night talking about how long a journey it was from where we were to where we are now. It’s a passion that borderlines on addiction. We’ve sacrificed time with family, holidays, money, relationships and our health to do this.
Metaphorically speaking we’ve been sort of killing ourselves, so it’s been death to get here. So we wrote a song expressing that, with the mentality that we’re ready to go to war if anyone or anything tries to take this away from us. Too much has been given to just let this slide.
You were recently interviewed by The Source, making you the first locally-based artist to break into the online hip-hop magazine. How do you feel about that?
We’ve been so busy with our music that it hasn’t sunk in yet. We just reminisced about growing up reading The Source on the school bench and collecting the posters it used to have. Now we can read about ourselves on the site. It’s just surreal.
Tell us about your interview with Jaden Smith while he was here for Beats1 radio on Apple Music.
We got the call from Ollywood from Hollaphonic, who always looks out for us, and he told us about the opportunity. We expected him to be older and taller than he was, probably due to his movies, but we were shocked to see this tiny little boy. But he was super cool, and we probably could’ve talked for days. We had a lot of fun, and it’s still a bit weird thinking we hung out with Will Smith’s and Jada Pinkett’s kid.
What the biggest risk you have taken musically?
Stepping up to the mic.
How has the music scene developed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the years?
We’ve been here long enough to see the cycles this country goes through. The vibe and opportunities the whole art scene is going through right now is somewhat reminiscent of 2009-2010, when there were a lot of platforms for locally-based artists to showcase themselves. We were warned about this cycle by veteran musicians in the country back then, and now we’ve experienced it ourselves.
It’s probably due to the fact that the UAE has a majority population that considers this place a temporary option, so every few years the network and fan base you build up here disappears, and you suddenly have new faces and a completely different crowd who you have to reintroduce yourself to.
What challenges have you faced trying to rise in the music industry in the UAE?
Everything an artist could expect in any country. Doors will get shut in your face. It’s just about how determined you are to get your voice heard. We’ve stood outside clubs at 3am to hand out CDs, and put together our own events when no one wanted to book us. We did our own podcasts when radio wouldn’t play our music. Now we’ve started our own label to release our music because no actual label will sign us.
By doing all this though, we’ve been able to accomplish so much, and the experience is priceless. We’re one of the first, if not the first group to release music on iTunes Middle East without being signed to a major record label. That was only achieved because doors were slammed in our face and we refused to step away from the mic.
What do you wish to see change in the UAE music Industry?
Musicians being respected more for their craft and hard work. Meaning, being paid what they deserve for their music to be played on radio and TV. This would help the industry grow a lot and in so many ways.
If radio had to pay to play the songs that they do, there would probably be a decision to keep a certain amount of airplay reserved for local talent. Countries such as New Zealand require that radio dedicate a majority of airtime to local musicians, so they have a thriving music scene. We’d love to see this here.
Where can the public listen to your music?
www.therecipedxb.com, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube @therecipedxb
Are there any interesting upcoming projects you are partaking in?
So many... Just watch and listen.