Six Arab artists at Bred Abu Dhabi, from Marwan Pablo to DJ Kaboo

Bred Abu Dhabi is returning to the UAE’s capital, and its second year is a step up in more ways than one. Fans will have the chance to see some of hip-hop’s leading names both from across the region and the world when the event returns to Yas Bay on Wednesday.

While the main stage, named The Arena, will be home to the likes of Offset, Metro Boomin and Ty Dolla $ign – who recently released the album Vultures 1 with Kanye West – it is in the nearby The Amp Stage where you can hear how Arab artists have added their own spin to the genre.

From the blistering Egyptian sounds of Marwan Pablo to the Saudi-Sudanese fusion of Dafencii, here are six regional artists to check out at Bred Abu Dhabi.

Marwan Pablo

At 28, the rapper is already regarded as one of Egyptian hip-hop’s most seasoned artists. Arriving on the scene in 2015 under the name Dama, he changed his moniker two years later and found success with the tracks Ghaba and Barbary. Merging modern hip-hop beats with the electro-charged sounds of mahraganat, Pablo has built a strong following at home and amid the Arab diaspora with shows in Paris and Berlin last year. He returns to Dubai on the back of new album Akher Qeta’a Faneya (The Last Piece of Art).


Regarded as one to watch, Egyptian singer Nour is building a following with the dreamy electropop sound found in her debut EP Daydreamer. With influences from lo-fi pop to ambient music, introspective songs such as Alwan and Bahr hint at an artist striving to forge her own identity.


A rising star in the impressive Moroccan hip-hop scene, Dystinct gained regional prominence for his song Ghazali, which was the unofficial anthem of the Moroccan football team during the dream run at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

A modern take on Moroccan chaabi music, the song showcases his ability to meld traditional folk instrumentation with RnB-style vocal arrangements. The approach, heard in songs Amor and Business, is working – with Dystinct set to go on a European summer tour after making his debut UAE performance at Bred Abu Dhabi.

Lana Lubany

The Palestinian-American singer, now based in the UK, found immediate success with debut single The Snake, gaining more than seven million Spotify streams weeks from its 2022 release.

The bilingual track is a calling card worthy of her talent, with her silky soprano vocals gliding easily over an Arabic folk arrangement before becoming more percussive when the track transitions to a hip-hop trap beat at its conclusion.

With follow up songs Sold and Clones also well received, it will be interesting to see if Lubany can transfer her recording acumen to the main stage.


The popularity of the Saudi-born Sudanese rapper is a testament to hard work. Using the time away from the stage during the pandemic to hone his production skills, Dafencii emerged in 2021 with debut single Rksha, which pares his elastic flow with stark and stabbing synths. Buoyed by the bigger reception to 2022’s King Al Halaba, Dafencii gained regional prominence and performed in Lebanon in 2022 and at Saudi festivals Soundstorm and Gamers8.

DJ Kaboo

Egyptian producer and Dubai resident DJ Kaboo is taking Arabic music to the world with his modern spin on regional classics. In a style he describes as Arab trap, DJ Kaboo samples classic tracks by 20th-century Arabic singers and composers and marries them with stuttering rhythms and dark synths of hip-hop subgenre, trap.

In addition to his work featured in the Marvel anti-hero TV series Moon Knight, you can hear his work on Arab Trap EP 1 and Arab Trap EP 2.

Bred Abu Dhabi runs from Wednesday to Sunday at Yas Bay. Tickets begin from Dh95 at

Updated: April 23, 2024, 3:04 AM

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