Where are you from ?
I am French Lebanese; I was born in Paris to two Lebanese parents.
How long have you been spitting for & what’s the story behind the name Raad?
Ever since my childhood, I’ve been highly interested in rhythm and music, creating my first song at 6 years old. Although it was a childish song, I’ve always been interested in spitting and creating lyrics and flows. Around 4 years ago, I started explicitly writing lyrics for my own songs but I only started seriously developing this skill at the start of the lockdown in March of 2020.
The name Raad is my last name! I feel like it really showcases my Lebanese roots which are mentioned in many of my songs and it has a nice ring to it.
How did living in the UK influence your musical style, your love of hip-hop or the type of music you like listening to ?
Living in the UK allowed me to develop wittiness to my musical style as I was listening to a lot of Grime at that point in my life. Interestingly enough, my time at Royal Holloway University enabled me to entrench myself within the realm of old school hip-hop which has really defined my style of rap. I largely focused on the lyrical aspect of this craft, as everyone can rap about money girls and cars – I wanted to try something different.
You clearly have a deep love of Hip-Hop history, referencing classic Hip-Hop lyrics by Snoop Dogg in ‘Let’s Go’ or Skepta lyrics in ‘When it Pours’. How long have you loved hip-hop for, who introduced you to it & who was the first hip-hop artist you fell in love with?
I have loved hip hop since I was around 10 years old. I listened to a large amount of Elvis and Barry White and for some reason, god knows why, that guided me into hip-hop. I was introduced to hip hop when my aunt bought me a cassette highlighting the various beefs between old school US rappers and I found the intricacy, rivalry and variance of styles to be fascinating.
The first rap artist that struck out to me was the one and only 50 cent, shortly followed by Tupac. Initially, they made a strong and uncontrolled impression on me because as a 10-year-old boy, I found their music to be extremely edgy, explicit, ground-breaking and new.
Who are some of your key musical influences?
I have so many musical influences as I listen to a highly varied style of music. However, if I were to highlight my key musical influences, I would choose three off the top of my head. Firstly, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock, has shaped my musical taste as he was the first artist I actively listened to. I can confidently say that I know most lyrics of around 75% of his songs.
Secondly, Michael Jackson’s utter talent and ability to defy and shape musical norms resonated with me. MJ pushed me to learn how to dance as well!
Finally, the lyrical expertise of J Cole has highly influenced my music. His ability to spit on a variety of beats coupled with his knowledge of constructing an artistic piece together with deep and witty lyrics in phenomenal.
Your debut single ‘Let’s Go’ is a boom-bap inspired/ jazz influenced track that showcases your adept ability to flow over a tricky beat as well as create intricate melodies. What comes more naturally to you, writing bars or coming up with a hook/melody?
They’re related to me. The bars I write are specifically pieced in a way for them to fit a specific melody. What comes first to me are the general lyrics. Once I have completed this step, it is my job to carve these lyrics into the rhythm of the beat that I’m spitting on.
Who produced the beats for both Let’s Go & When it pours?
I find pre-made beats and sample/modify them to fit my liking and flow. I usually listen to them for ages and the one’s I carefully choose really fit my style and mood at a given moment. I spend hours trying to dissect each beat and finding the right beat is like finding the right partner, you fall for it instantly.
What 3 albums are at the top of your playlist at the moment? Is the goal to eventually release an EP, if so when can we expect it?
At the moment I’ve been aggressively bumping Drake’s album Dark Lane Demo Tapes because what’s life without a bit of mainstream!? Secondly, I felt like returning down memory lane by listening to Graduation by Kanye and finally, Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd has always kept me sane despite the insanity weaved into it.
I am definitely aiming to release an EP – coming soon filled with a wide variety of different types of tracks.
Lastly, if you could be the opening act for any one artists tour, who would it be & why?
It would be my greatest honor to open for J Cole as his lyricism surpasses every current MC in the game at this moment. As an artist he has everything – popping beats, catchy melodies and a genuine and grounded flow. Opening for such talented yet down to earth artists like him would humble me at the highest degree. Despite being nervous, this situation would motivate me to carry out the best and most powerfully energetic performance possible.