We caught up with MC Holywar from Black Bannerz to learn a little bit more about the group and their much anticipated first album entitled “Musical Revolution“. Not only does it feature collaborations with international artists such as Vinnie Paz (of Jedi Mind Tricks as well as Army Of The Pharaohs) and Immortal Technique, but the project is actually a 2-album release featuring an full-length Arabic album and a full-length English one.
1) Who are the members of BlackBannerz, and where do they live?
Black Bannerz consists of 2 MCs and 2 Producers. Holywar & S.O.T.A (Slave of the Almighty) are the 2 MCs. Rekta & DJ Ouss are the production team behind all Black Bannerz’ music and they are known as Orient Squad. We all lived across the Middle East; between Syria, Lebanon, Saudi, and the UAE, while Orient Squad lives between Syria & France.
2) How did you guys meet?
We are all friends from way back. We were connected through friends, and through college and hip-hop, since the mid-90′s.
3) Its very impressive that your album is actually two albums, one in Arabic and one in English. Why did you decide to do that?
Well, first of all, we wanted to come up with a solid hip-hop album projecting our skills and messages in both Arabic and English, and we decided that it would be best if we separate the tracks into two full-length albums released at once. The Arabic side targets the Arab countries and the Arabs in the west. The English side, which features many collaboration of our favorite and most inspiring artists, was made for two main reasons. The first reason is to introduce those artist to the Arabian audience, since these artists are not accessible to most, are not highlighted in the mainstream media and do not have a solid recognition in this part of the world. So we felt obliged to introduce to hip-hop fans in Arabia the sort of artists we listen to and learn from. The second reason is to infiltrate the worldwide hip-hop scene with these solid collaborations, and to showcase quality skills.
4) What musical projects did you work on before your debut album “Musical Revolution”?
We used to perform individually in universities and clubs, and record tracks during college days. The Musical Revolution is our first solid album work. The idea of the Black Bannerz only came after 2007, after gaining a lot of experience and knowledge about the art, having solid images and goals that we wanted to project in our music.
5) We’re so excited to hear the album, especially with collaborations with Immortal Technique and Vinnie Paz. How did you manage to get international artists to be involved in your album, and what was it like working with them?
We are so excited as well, as we approach the release. Our supporters have been waiting patiently waiting on the release, and we appreciate that. The artists we have collaborated with are elite legendary MCs that hold the biggest weight on the scene internationally. Working with them was more than a dream coming true. It’s a great feeling to work with your inspiring icons. That’s just as amazing as co-writing a book with your favorite author or co-directing alongside your favorite director, or acting alongside legendary actors. They have showed us a great deal of support and admiration for the music, lyrics, ideas and the messages.