A man dressed in white relaxing on low, patterned cushions

What do you do when you grow up without a family or a homeland,  with a different vibe and a different tribe? You have to create your own path. This is the story of It Ain't Where You From.

Dubai based filmmaker, poet, producer and activist Philip Jamal Rachid (aka Soultrotter) has assembled the primary talent of the burgeoning, young Gulf Hip Hop scene in a first-time collaboration with some of its key figures. 

Dance, music, spoken word, graphics and street art collide in this powerful film portrait of a thriving scene. Shot in outdoor and studio locations, imbued with saturated colours, stylish fashion and backed by a pulsating soundtrack, It Ain’t Where You From captures the melting pot of Gulf cities  

Each artist has a personal history, each is struggling to find their way. We get to know what it takes to follow their passions and how Hip Hop gives voice to a third culture generation.

Participating artists include: Ihab Darwish (composer), Tac (rapper), BBoy Jazzy Tilla, BBoy Spiky,  DustyDust (street artist), BGirl Lana, BBoy Feraz, Maajed Ahmed (graffiti artist), BBoy Amer, Frezidante (DJ), BBoy Nabil ElKhayer, Kriman (BBoy/artist), Ynot (artist) and Mohamed Araki (music composer).

The film is the first stage of these artists’ collaboration, with live performances scheduled to premiere at The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi later in the autumn.

ماذا تعمل إذا كبرت من دون عائلة أو وطن، بأجواء مختلفة وقبيلة مختلفة؟ عليك أن تخلق طريقك الخاص. هذه قصة ‘لست منه‘

صانع الأفلام، الشاعر، المنتج والناشط المقيم في دبي فيليب جمال رشيد جمع المواهب الأساسية في مشهد الهيب هوب الخليجي لأول مرة بالتعاون مع أهم شخصيات هذا المشهد.

يتزاحم الرقص، الموسيقى، الكلمات المحكية، الرسومات وفنون الشارع في هذا البورتريه السينمائي القوي لمشهد مزدهر. تم التصوير في مواقع خارجية وفي استوديوهات مليئة بالألوان والأزياء بمرافقة موسيقى نابضة بالحياة. يشكل المشروع بوتقة لمدن الخليج.

لكل فنّان قصة شخصية، كل شخص يناضل لإيجاد طريقه. نتعرف على ما يتطلبه الأمر ليتابعوا شغفهم وكيف يعطي الهيب هوب صوتاً لجيل ثقافي ثالث.

الفنّانون المشاركون: إبراهيم درويش (مؤلف)، تاج (مغني راب)، جازي تيلا (بريك دانس)، سبايكي (بريك دانس)، داستي داست (فن الشارع)، لانا (بيرك دانس)، فراس (بريك دانس)، ماجد أحمد (فنان غرافيتي)، عامر (بريك دانس)، فريزيدانت (دي جي)، نابيل الخير (بريك دانس)، كريمان (بريك دانس/ فنان) يونات (فنان) ومحمد عراقي (مؤلف موسيقي).

الفيلم هو المرحلة الأولى من التعاون بين هؤلاء الفنّانين إلى جانب عروض حيّة من المقرّر تقديمها لأول مرة في مركز الفنون في جامعة نيويورك أبو ظبي لاحقاً في الخريف.

Iraqi Kurdish filmmaker Philip Jamal Rachid was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and raised in The Netherlands. He now resides in Dubai, a hotspot for culture, art and innovation. He is a self taught writer, director, producer and consultant.

His first international recognition as a filmmaker came when he shot a short film on a Flip cam in Kurdistan, 2011. The film was screened at the Duhok International Film Festival and was nominated in San Diego Kurdish Youth Film festival. Since then, Rachid has gone on to receive various nominations and has won over 15 international film awards.

Today he remains committed to his craft and is continuously creating work that focuses on humanitarian themes.

Wishing to share his passion for film with others, he also consults and shares his knowledge with new generation peers and through workshops and lectures. 

Majed became interested in art and graffiti during his teenage years. The Saudi artist has worked to create his own distinct style in Arabic Graffiti and Calligraphy. Having been rewarded with a Guinness World Record and recognition from prestige companies and organizations, Majed continuously shows his love and dedication to art. He has worked for a number of major brands and establishments around the world and has gained a reputation for his unique, eye-catching style in the realm of street art.

Amer Dahman is a BBoy from Jordan who travels the world to learn and give back to the community in Jordan. Due to shifts in his personal life, Amer has had to reduce the time he spends breaking, nonetheless he has remains dedicated to his passion and has continued to expand his experiences and reputation within the breaking community.

Mohamed has recorded and performed with artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Bombino, Cheb Khaled, Vinnie Colaiuta, Turkuaz, Spiritual Rez.

Mohamed Araki is a Boston-based, internationally touring keyboardist and producer. Araki is the first Sudanese musician to be nominated for a Grammy, for his work with Nigerien-born guitarist Bombino’s most recent full length Deran.

Emirati artist, Ihab Darwish has played music since the age of ten. Graduating in Advertising and Art Design, he has pursued a career of image and sound fusion to become a recognized composer. His most recent work entailed uniting over 128 musicians, from 20 countries to create a unique virtual performance.

Darwish’s music combines the classical and contemporary styles, tradition and modernity, big patriotic themes with intimate and personal pieces scored in a melodic and cinematic orchestration. His music is strongly embedded in Emirati values and traditions. Each piece is centered around profound human experiences, such as nostalgia for the past, love, pride and strong bond to his beloved homeland. At the same time, the music speaks beyond its discipline and beyond a local context.

Abdulla Alhayaki aka DUST, is a 30 year old artist born and raised in Bahrain. He's been active in the region's art scene for over 16 years and is the founder of Bahrain's Red Ants Army. Known and respected across the region as a bboy, dancer, style and grafitti artists, as well as a respected beatmaker and DJ.

With four World Champion titles in Breaking, alongside several other major titles, Nabil is recognized to be one of the top Bboys in the world today.

Having started breaking at the age of 13 in France, he began to pursue a professional international dance career. In 2003 Nabil co founded the KLP dance company and went on to join a world-famous Vagabond Crew in France.

Today, Nabil is an established dancer, choreographer and personal trainer. Committed to his passion for breaking Nabil is still active in the battle scenes often participating and judging for international events.

Feraz represents a new generation pioneer ofbreaking in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.In the time that it was still very underground and dangerous, he would train and dance wherever he could, with the constant risk of going to jail. Now that times have changed in the country, he shares his skills with his younger peers and has established a solid local community.

A DJ, beat creator, graffiti artist and a longtime hip-hop artist in the region. Frezidante has a steady job and doesn’t want to do any commercial jobs with his art. Yet as a DJ he has managed to funk up the UAE for the past decade. He strictly only plays vinyl.

Karim Benbella aka Kriman started dancing Hip Hop at the age of 15. He quickly became a versatile dancer, taking inspiration from jazz, street-jazz, tap dance, and different art forms such as cinema and theatre. Kriman has travelled around the world, to learn and work with the best in the industry. Besides being an entertainer, Kriman has taught all ages dance and the values of the hip-hop culture. His focus is on teaching the different aspects of dance such as foundation, creativity and most importantly, being themselves and allowing the music to naturally flow through them. He’s a member of the crew Prizon Break Rockerz, who perform all around the world. Today, Kriman makes a living through his artform as a dancer, actor, performer, and dance teacher. Kriman has worked alongside some of the best entertainers around the world

Lana Ramadan is a respected BGirl and a Hip Hop dancer, born and raised in Beirut Lebanon.

Having started in 2009, she has remained dedicated to her craft continuously training and competing as one of the only girls in the breaking community.

Today, Lana owns her own dance school in Lebanon, offering workshops and dance classes to aspiring dancers. She has made dancing her lifestyle using it to tell her story and inspire others. Lana's mantra is "life is a message and we're here to deliver it".

Mohammed Al Khafaji aka SpikyFlave, Iraqi , born in Kuwait and raised in the United Arab Emirates where he grew up B-boying (breaking) from an early age.

In 2008 He founded SlamFam which was an annual gathering of hip hop heads to showcase different aspects of hip hop culture in the region like breaking, graffiti, music and fashion. This platform brought in great talent from around the Middle East and North African (MENA) and cultivated a strong community.

Recently, Spiky set up a home studio and has been creating beats and experimenting with different genres of music including Soul, Funk, Jazz, Hip Hop. He also has a big record collection which he uses to DJ and scratch with. Inspired by fashion, Spikey owns a vintage clothing store called SpikeLo Vintage, creating his own merchandise by customizing and remixing clothes.

Tac is revered as one of the most intense and expressive lyricists in the region. He has developed a powerful connection with his craft and is versatile way beyond traditional Hip Hop, even taking on genres like Funk, neo-soul and Indie Rock, flowing through them with extreme comfort.

Anthony Denaro, M.F.A, aka YNOT, explores the design, sustainability, history, and community of Hip Hop. Through a futurist lens, YNOT’s work manifests in dance, typography, music, and architecture.

YNOT’s reputation in the dance world precedes him. As a B-boy, he’s travelled the world extensively judging battles, teaching workshops, and building cultural awareness.

In YNOT’s vision of the sustainability of Hip Hop, teaching and mentorship are paramount

Jawhar Zitouni aka Jazzy Zilla is a Tunisian B-Boy who became a practitioner of this artform in 1997. Since then, he has travelled between different continents developing his knowledge and skills. Competing at international tournaments he has earned his respect from the breaking community worldwide. Coming from a diplomatic family he has managed to establish respect with his peers on the dance floor and own the respectfrom his family. Zilla also has been active in performing artistic pieces around European, African and Middle Eastern theaters. and has appeared in large brand campaigns (including Nike).

Co-commissioned by Shubbak Festival and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.


Until Sat 17 July 2021


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