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Interview with Daffy & Flipperachi – Kingdome Magazine
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Interview with Daffy & Flipperachi

Interview with Daffy & Flipperachi

With their video “Ee Laa” currently hitting 4 million views, Daffy and Flipperachi were known in the music scene for combining their Middle Eastern roots with their love for hip hop. This was an opportunity that I was really looking forward to as I am a huge fan of their work, their collaborations and their music. During the interview I began to understand how they see and listen to music. The way they understood and broke down music is very inspiring, I really felt their appreciation for music came from somewhere that is far from passion. For you all to understand just how innate music is to them the simplest daily experiences produce songs and lyrics that allowed them to connect with their fans on a personal level. Just listening to them speak about what inspired them, the industry and creation of music I knew and felt that I was sitting with people who truly understand the art of creating music.

 

When did you first get into rapping and singing? 
Flipperachi: I discovered my passion for hip-hop when I was 12. A few years later in 2003, was when I had taken it more seriously and developed my lyrical skills, flow and delivery.
 
Daffy: I got introduced to music when I was a kid. At around the age of six or seven, I always wanted to perform. I didn’t know exactly if I wanted to be a rapper or singer but I always had performing on my mind. I always loved to record on a tape recorder. My first track rapping on an instrumental and recording on a beat was probably when I was ten years old.
 
What attracted you to hip-hop? 
Flipperachi: Everything about it; the energy, the ability to talk about anything and everything, the artistry and the skill behind it. Hip-hop to me is a way to get your voice heard.
 
Daffy: First thing I would say my family. I have two cousins, one from my mom’s side and the other from my dad’s. You know when you have an older brother that you look up to and are inspired by so much that you “ want to be like him?” It was like that with my cousins and my dad.  My dad used to always play Michael Jackson in the car, making sure I listened. Whenever we would go back home he would play Michael Jackson’s performances on the TV as well. He’d tell me to watch them, making sure I’d perform for him to show him what I’d learned. It was always a challenge for me. “That’s what Dad wants, I have to do this for him.”

 

What did you family do to encourage you? 
Flipperachi: They’ve supported me throughout my journey and had my back. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. After all, it’s not exactly a conventional career path. It took convincing but they’ve definitely been there for me through it all.
 
Daffy: What happened was that they got me into music but I don’t think they thought I was going to be serious about it. They are huge fans and my dad would constantly show me love and support. He used to drop me off at the studio and came to see what I would be doing there. My mom also supported me and when she listened to “Samboosa” she actually said “this track is going to work,” and it did. I also made her listen to the full album “#9arat” before it was released. She loved it as well and said that “Ee Laa” was going to be a hit. They have always supported me and my music career and I am very grateful for that.
Where did the name come from? 
Flipperachi: I was a big fan of the Flipmode Squad growing up and at first I went by “Flipp.” One day, Outlaw and I were chilling in the studio and he randomly came up with “Flipperachi” and it stuck.
 
Daffy: “Daffy” came from two people: a friend and my grandmother. My friend used to call me “loony” and my dad and grandma wanted to call me “Fadi,” so I kind of put a twist on it. “Loony” because I act loony with people I’m comfortable with. A lot of people have said that I have a “Daffy” voice in Arabic, which means warmth, when I speak and sing.
Who was/is your biggest inspiration? 
Flipperachi: Michael Jackson and Muhammed Ali Clay.
 
Daffy: I’d say family, especially cousins. I started off as a DJ. I actually tried to sing and rap but it didn’t work out because it was hard to record, but I always wanted to do it. My cousins inspired me. One of them was one of the first DJ’s in Kuwait. He worked as a  flight attendant. He’d travel a lot and was constantly up-to-date with the latest music CDs that you couldn’t find in stores. I would see him mixing and thought to myself, “I want to do that.” I would sneak into his room on Fridays when he’s not there and I’d try to do what I saw him do. I’d try to pick up everything my cousins do, like dancing or the type of music they’d listen to. I’d always be around them. I wasn’t into Arabic music and they always played English music. I got soul from that one cousin who’d play me Sade and other vocalists. My other cousin dealt the groove beats and R&B songs. So my cousins are the ones that inspired me the most.
 

What hip-hop albums did you grow up listening to? 

Flipperachi: Tupac’s “All Eyez On Me” and Eminem’s “Marshall Mathers” were two of my favorites growing up.
 
Daffy: The first rap album I heard was probably Tupac’s “Me Against the World,” which my dad let me listen to. I thought “I like this music” and I want to do it. The albums that affected my life and transformed me were, of course, Tupac’s “Me Against the World,” Snoop Dog’s “Doggy Style” and a lot of the West Coast music scene. There were many but the artists that I listened to most were Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Bob Marely, Sade, Az Yet and K-Ci & JoJo. My dad played a lot of James Brown and Barry White songs. I used to love the R&B bands from back in the day. That’s where I picked up my harmonizing skills because I didn’t study music, I’d listen to these bands and study their music. They also included artists like Blackstreet, Keith Sweat (my first nickname was “Nawaf Sweat”), Usher and Justin Timberlake.
 

How do you separate yourself from other rappers/singers? 

Flipperachi: I always try to up my game in every aspect of my music. In everything I do, I try to incorporate my heritage and I also mix between Arabic and English lyrics.
 
Daffy: I try to be myself and talk about how it is [in our region.] I mean other artists in our region believe the style of music and the way they want to sound would let them compete with internationally established artists. As a kid, I used to do the same because these artists were our inspiration. For example, I wanted to be like Usher. I realize now that I make music that people would understand and relate to because we all live in the same place. I talk about what happens here; nothing too hardcore like guns and gangs. We don’t live that life. I think that is what separates me from other artists. I also think I’m catchy. My power is coming up with catchy flows, which is a very important skill to have. I love performing when talking about the region here. A lot of people don’t step up. They just waste money on studios and videos but the real test is when you go in front of a crowd and perform your own tracks and take in the reaction you receive. I love that challenge. I think that is where I get my advantage, because I love to perform live and choose music and beats that people would relate too.
 

Who influenced your style? 

Flipperachi: A lot of different artists in the game including Ice Cube, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Busta Rhymes.
 
Daffy: Michael Jackson and Usher. Michael Jackson did it for everyone when it comes to performing and going big with his videos and music. Usher was like the new Michael Jackson. When he first came out, to me he was like Michael Jackson with a twist. I mean, when it comes to dancing we get the moonwalk and popping/locking from Michael Jackson while Usher gave us gliding, b-boying and krumping.
 

 

Have you collaborated with other artists? 

Flipperachi: Plenty! I’ve collaborated with local, regional and international artists. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a lot of them.
 
Daffy: Yes, my first ever song was a feature with Guitara Band. I collaborated with a lot of artists in the region and internationally. I also collaborated with Bashar Al Shatti, Shooji, Fatman Scoop, Mims, DJ Bliss, DJ Outlaw, Mc Lyte on Outlaw’s Mixtape, Massari, Ashkan from Morocco and a lot of local artists from Kuwait. I started with the band Army of One, also Sons of Yousef, Flipperachi and Carol Souki.
 
Which hip-hop artist or producer would you want to work with in the future? 
Flipperachi: It would be a dream come true to work with the likes of Dr. Dre, Eminem and Busta Rhymes.
 
Daffy: Timberland. He is one of the sickest producers. I remember trying to imitate him so I could understand his style because he came out of nowhere with a different sound. He’s why I called myself Daffy because I had the “Uh-huh!” I used to copy his style. However, the artist I would love to collaborate with is Usher.
 

Do you write your own lyrics? 

Flipperachi: I do, and it’s a process I enjoy.
 
Daffy: Yes.
 

Are your lyrics based on your life or general topics? 

Flipperachi: A bit of both. It depends on the song, the beat and my mood when I’m writing. Sometimes I’m writing about my own experiences and other times I’m talking about more general topics that apply to everyone.
 
Daffy: Yes, they are based on both the beat and what I feel about a situation. Sometimes I make music for occasions, sometimes I need to say something on my mind that’s bothering me and sometimes I describe a situation I witness or the stories I hear from people around me that inspire or touch me in a way.
 

Do you think music is enjoyed more for the beat or for the words, and why? 

Flipperachi: I think a good song would be enjoyed by both. The lyrics, flow and beat go hand in hand, and this is where teamwork in the studio comes in. Everybody contributes in a way that makes the song well-rounded.
 
Daffy: It depends on what era we are talking about. When hip-hop first started, people would mostly focus on lyrics and the topics they’d cover. Old-school music beats were mostly looped, supporting the rapper spitting out rhymes and messages about issues that were happening at that time. These days, people are not too interested in the lyrics as much as they just need a beat to dance to. For example, there’s a very popular style of rap called ‘mumble rap.’ “Panda” by Desiigner is a recent mumble rap hit that is currently taking over. If you don’t Google the lyrics, you wouldn’t even understand the song. Today’s world is different. Sometimes, people just want to hear the beat and don’t pay much attention to the lyrics. I’m very old-school but at the same time I have to understand the new generation. They do not want something too heavy on their ears, they usually want to sit back and relax. So, you have to mix and match.
 

Have you performed in other countries? 

Flipperachi: I’ve performed in Kuwait and currently planning a few different performances in other places.
 
Daffy: Yes. I’ve performed in multiple countries around the Gulf, Lebanon, Sweden, Malaysia, London, Yugoslavia, Morocco, Cyrpus, Turkey and many other places as well.
 

Where would you most like to perform? 

Flipperachi: Morocco!
 
Daffy: It really doesn’t matter. Just give me a good crowd and I’m good. It’s not like my dream is to perform at this or that place. Just give me a good crowd and vibe and I’m there.
 

Who would you most like to open for? 

Flipperachi: Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube or Eminem.
 
Daffy: We did it once and I would like to do it again. We opened for Destiny’s Child in Dubai, but I would love to open for Beyoncé or Usher.
 

If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?  

Flipperachi: RnB.
 
Daffy: Definitely reggae, because it has so much soul and it doesn’t die. It’s been around for a while even though the person who made it popular passed away. A lot of people would say nobody could top him when it comes to reggae, but it truly lives on. It’s been there for a while but it always gets you, even when the vocals are bad.
 

What genre of music can’t you stand to listen to?  

Flipperachi: Electronic music.
 
Daffy: I don’t want to disrespect any kind of music, there are a lot, but I hate Iraqi music. I mean, I love Arabic music but it’s like you’re forcing me to listen to something over and over again. I’m very picky when it comes to music. I’m willing to open my ears and listen but when I get the same overdone tricks in every song and there’s nothing new to it, I’m not going to like it.
 

What hidden talents do you have?  

Flipperachi: Basketball! I’ve actually grew up being a basketball player.
 
Daffy: I play basketball and I’m really good at it. I think if I hadn’t focused on music, basketball would have been my career.
 
 
If you could eternally be stuck on one year’s music scene, which year would it be and why? 
Flipperachi: 2002. I loved the hip-hop music back then.
 
Daffy: Good question. I would stick with “old is gold.” It would probably be anything from the 80s and 90s because there were a lot of artists and musicians. There wasn’t a lot of electro music back then and the sound was different. I think what killed music is auto-tune technology because it made everyone have the “ability to sing.” When you go see the artist live, you would be shocked. Go to YouTube and watch them live. The problem is people don’t recognize it. There are some artists that sound amazing in the studio, why is that? It’s thanks to the studio’s crew: the sound engineers and producers behind the computer. When it’s a live performance, it’s all on the singer. You would be shocked by the number of artists that use auto-tune.
 

What do you think of the current hip-hop scene? 

Flipperachi: On a local/regional scale, I think it has come a really long way over the past few years, which is great to see. Fans of the genre has been growing and people have become more accepting of hip-hop coming out of our region.
 
Daffy: It’s changing. To me, it’s not very impressive, it’s just changing. At the same time, you have to respect the new generation. If it was by choice, I would go back in time because they had a message and way of thinking when they made music. Now it’s just different. I guess you have to respect every generation. It’s like when we were growing up, our parents would say “the music you listen to is trash! Back in the day, it was this or that!” That’s what we’re doing now with the new generation. The style right now is different. I like some, but some are over-done and are not working. Now,  I get to say that a lot. I didn’t before.
 

What advice would you give upcoming hip-hop artists? 

Flipperachi: I’d say practice a lot. Take the time to study and learn your craft. Develop your style in the process and stay focused.
 
Daffy: Stay true; represent you and where you come from. Work on live material and performing because it’s very important. Be you and represent where your from because that’s what going to get you out there, you cant live a life your not living and expect people to think that you represent them and that they can relate you. If I lived in the states then I would focus on the issues that are happening there, I cant sting about that here I have to be smart, like for example when I did Samboosa I had critics about people who listen to English music and they were like “what is this?” it is a commercial song but I’m still talking about what is happening here. Samboosa is like a flirting line, like for example the songs Icebox or Lollypop it is similar to Samboosa. I’m just something that people can relate to here, so this is my point you have to stick to something that you experience and understand.
 

You have a new album out “#9arat” by Outlaw Productions, how was it working with with each other? What can you tell us about this  album? 

Flipperachi: Working with Daffy is always great. We’ve known and been working together for a really long time, even before he became an Outlaw Productions artist. This album was the perfect way for us to show people what we can do. The album is basically a fusion of hip-hop and Arabic/Khaleeji elements. It’s a fun album to listen and vibe to and at the same time has a lot of variety in terms of the topics, lyrics, sounds and style. It’s out across all digital music stores and physical copies are sold at Virgin Megastore in Bahrain.
 

Daffy: Working with Flipp and Outlaw is a piece of cake. We’ve known each other for almost 12 years and we are like family. We understand each other. If I have an idea, they’ll listen. Even if it was crazy. For example, when I came up with “Samboosa,” Outlaw was like, “Really?” They go with the flow and always support me with the ideas I have.

 

The album is basically the real us. The jokes, being silly, being goofy and having fun. It’s commercial and it’s what people want to hear, but the other part of the album is more personal. It’s about who we are and what we went through. Like love, breakups and life in general. We tried to make the album like an autobiography of Flipperachi and Daffy by welcoming people into our lives just using the name “#9arat” (its happening). We chose that because we say it a lot. It represents us and “it’s” happening because we don’t have a lot of music like this in the region. With my band, Army of One, we opened the door for a lot of music because we were the first boy band in the Middle East. There were a lot of underground rappers but we were the first to come out through a record label in a hip-hop level. It’s cool to have that standard and build on it. What I learned in the past with Army of One I’m still using today. Adding more elements to it to make it more popular. When I was in Army of One, the music had a few Arabic elements to it but when we went on interviews they would ask us “could you add more Arabic or sing an Arabic song?” Our minds were focused on reaching the international audiences and just stuck on what we do. You come to a time when you realize that people are not going to recognize you as much if you want to be like an international artist. For example, if you want to sound like Usher, people wouldn’t recognize the difference and would rather listen to the real Usher. If you sound like Usher but with a twist, people would say “this is OUR Usher.” Making you unique in the region. I tried it and it worked. That is what we are aiming for now.

Written by: Fay Al-Homoud
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