Music

UAM Pushes Arabic Music in U.S. With New Hip-Hop Collaboration Featuring Future

The sounds and beats of Arabic hip-hop are being introduced to U.S. audiences through a new Universal Arabic Music (UAM) project that unites Egyptian rap star and actor Mohamed Ramadan with chart-topping U.S. artist Future.

Out Thursday (Feb. 8), Ramadan’s collaborative single and music video “Arabi” also features Lebanese-Canadian singer Massari, with production by Scott Storch, Sari “Massari” Abboud, and Martin “Adium” Sinotte.

This collaboration “embodies our vision at UAM and the way we see Arabic music on a global level,” says Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, founder of Universal Arabic Music and CEO of SALXCO, which recently signed Mohamed for management.

With a goal to promote Arabic music globally, UAM was established in April 2021 by Slaiby, who has guided the career of the Weeknd, in partnership with Republic Records and Universal Music Group.

UAM’s focus is on discovering and championing artists and sounds from the Middle East and North Africa, a region with vast potential as a music market, based on its population of about 500 million, that has traditionally been plagued by rampant piracy.

In just shy of three years, the music company has shone a light on Elyanna, Saint Levant, $kinny and others, and enjoyed several successes, including “Sah Sah” by Nancy Ajram and Marshmello, the first Arabic track to chart on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs, and “Tukoh Taka,” the official 2022 FIFA World Cup song featuring Nicki Minaj, Maluma, and Myriam Fares, released in Arabic, Spanish, and English.

“It’s been my dream to highlight the talent and culture of Arabic music on a global level with partners that I trust and admire,” Slaiby said in a press release at the launch of UAM.

Ramadan’s music has accumulated more than 5 billion views on YouTube and more than 30 million fans follow his movements on Instagram. Expect those numbers to tick up when he performs at the opening ceremony at Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday, Feb. 11, completing a hattrick of goals for the superstar artist. He also performed at the tournament’s opening ceremony and contributed to “Akwaba,” the official anthem for the games, alongside Nigerian artist Yemi Alade, Ivorian hit-makers Magic System, and produced by Universal Music Africa.

Atlanta-based Future needs no introduction to the U.S. hip-hop community. He has led the Billboard Hot 100 on two occasions, and boasts a whopping eight solo No. 1s on the Billboard 200 chart. All told, he has landed 15 top 10s on the albums tally.

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