Sole DXB, with the support of its strategic partners Dubai Design District (d3) and Dubai Calendar, is happy to announce its 2022 10-year anniversary stage line-up. The premier cultural & lifestyle festival returns on December 9, 10, and 11 at d3, a global hub for art design and creativity and a member of TECOM Group PJSC. Tickets are now on sale at www.soledxb.com.
Sole DXB curates a mix of global and regional talent, offering festival goers a chance to experience some of the biggest names from across the industry, spanning hip-hop, soul, R&B, and dance music over one weekend. Saturday, December 10, Central Cee performs his first headline show in Dubai. English singer-songwriter, Jorja Smith, takes over the headline slot on December 11, closing night.
Moroccan traditional vocalist and percussionist, Khadija El Warzazia, will be on main stage for her first performance in the region, along with Dreamville rapper, Bas, Roc Nation artist Rapsody, and South African dance sensation Muzi, all coming out for their first festival appearance, along with Grammy-nominated artist, Mumu Fresh. Felukah, TAC, and Freek all join the festival lineup to celebrate the rise of Arab talent across the region and its’ diaspora.
Other explosive additions to this year’s lineup will include LA’s massive, Coast Contra.
Jorja Smith – The classically trained vocalist, songwriter and award-winning artist who grew up in the industrial West Midlands town of Walsall will take the main stage at Sole DXB this year. Blessed with a choral sound in the range of her voice, she will be performing on stage songs from her critically acclaimed album ‘Lost and Found’ and her biggest song to date ‘Be Honest’, the sound of hot girl summer 2019 featuring Nigerian singer and self-proclaimed ‘African Giant’ Burna Boy, the collaboration that made sure that Jorja continued to showcase the many faces of her songwriting with some of the most well respected male artists in the charts. This is in addition to other hits like ‘Gum Body’ with Burna Boy, ‘Im Workin’ with UK rap godfather Giggs, dancehall banger ‘Come Over’ feat Popcaan, ‘Be Right Back’ and more.
Central Cee – Growing up in and around Shepherds Bush, surrounded by the richness of music and cultural history, Central Cee has found a purpose for himself that reflects the community around him. In a year where the unexpected has become normal, Central Cee has been making his name heard throughout 2020. Day In The Life, his first release of the year, sees Central Cee deliver commentary on trap life while displaying his grime-like flow over a melodic, piano-led drill beat. He’s garnered millions of streams this year alone with Loading being his most successful release to date. He’s only 22 but he moves with the vision and presence of someone much older, Central Cee doesn’t want his music to be just for the moment but over time, it’s clear that he wants to create a legacy for himself.
Bas – The son of Sudanese parents, Bas was raised in Paris until the age of eight, when his family moved to Jamaica, Queens. He didn’t start rapping until 2010, and that was on a lark, after he was coerced by a friend.Touring with Cole fostered the fledgling rapper’s development as a performer, while mixtape releases such as Quarter Water Raised Me and Quarter Water Raised Me II elevated his profile. Cole signed Bas to Dreamville releasing Last Winter, jokingly referred to as “An album from a n*gga who ain’t got alotta fans yet”. It was released as a digital download and a CD in April 2014.
Mumu Fresh – The Grammy nominated artist and Indigenous Music Award winner, Mumu Fresh (aka Maimouna Youssef) has toured internationally as a critically acclaimed singer, Emcee, songwriter, activist, workshop facilitator and now audio engineer. She has collaborated with various artists including Dave Chappelle, The Roots, Salaam Remi, D Smoke Anderson Paak, Bruno Mars, Femi Kuti, Zap Mama, Nas, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Common, Raphael Saadiq and Tobe Nwigwe just to name a few. While touring 6 continents, Mumu Fresh has built a relationship with her engaged wide fan base who have shared and streamed her recorded music millions of times in at least 100 countries. In 2020, she founded her own online music education platform called “Muniversity Studies” to teach aspiring artists how to reimagine the music business and thrive independently with purpose.
Khadija El Warzazia – Khadija el Warzazia is a vocalist, percussionist, and leader of Bnat el Houariyat, an all-women music and dance group based in Marrakech, Morocco.
They are “Houariyat” – who are Moroccan women who sing ancestral Houara and Chaabi songs in local all-women’s gatherings in the Medinas. Houara music in its many forms (ferda, tqila) is a hybrid Arab and Amazigh musical tradition originating in the Southwestern Moroccan towns of Taroudant and Ouled Teima and the surrounding areas. Khadija and other Houariyat of Marrakech continue to preserve the Houara tradition but with their own “Marrakchi” variation but still, keep the same repertoire of songs that mostly sing to saints. Chaabi is “popular” music widely adorned by Moroccans all over the country because of its celebratory nature and it’s expression of common sentiments around love, heartbreak, and beauty. Although two different energies, both styles are known for their entrancing polyrhythms and call and response style.
Khadija el Warzazia, who left school at a very young age and dedicated her life to local music – is a female trailblazer in her 22-year expertise in several Moroccan musical traditions. Outside of Houara and Chaabi, she is one of the first women to publicly perform Gnawa music, a tradition historically dominated by men. She currently resides in the Medina of Marrakech and is known and respected her decades-long work with Abdelkabir Merchane, an icon in Gnawa repertoire.
Coast Contra – Twin brothers Ras and Taj Austin, sons of West Coast rap legend Ras Kass and Soul songstress Teedra Moses, met Colombian-born Rio Loz in high school to assemble Coast Contra. After releasing their first mixtape, the trio found its fourth member Eric Jamal, a bubbling rapper out of North Philadelphia, PA. Coast Contra’s first official single “Queen & Slim” is the title track from the blockbuster movie with the same name. The group’s debut album, “Apt. 505” was just released in the spring of 2022.
* Coast Contra (noun): a universe where anything is possible, and limitations are non-existent.
Muzi – He is one of the first names that come to mind when thinking about modern African music, one of the most revered musicians coming out of South Africa today (aka the Zulu Skywalker) with co-signs from artists such as Chris Martin, Damon Albarn, Black Coffee, Stormzy and regular features on leading music blogs including Noisey, Afropunk, Okay Africa, i-D, and Complex. The proudly Zulu artist hails from a township in Empangeni where he first started to conceive of his place in music, bolstered by the support of his mother and soaking up the sounds of the time, there is no doubt that his roots play a significant role in the music he makes. He expertly blends together the influence of cutting edge urban and electronic music with local genres. Like the title of his hugely successful second album, Afrovision (2018), Muzi has a keen sense of the impression he wants to make on his listeners. He is also fast-becoming the go-to producer for music in ads and films, in addition to providing music for Apple, Ralph Lauren, Nandos, Vans, Jägermeister, Free Digital (France), DSTV Africa, MRP Fashion, the hit Netflix TV Show, Elite and the upcoming French feature film L’Horizon.
Rapsody – The Jamla/Roc Nation artist has spent the better part of the present decade lapping peers and counterparts while mesmerizing fans who still prefer their rhymes detailed and nutritious.The Snow Hill, North Carolina native has more than held her own alongside greats like Kendrick Lamar, Black Thought and the late Mac Miller (in 2011, she toured with Miller on his Incredibly Dope Tour). She has been broadcasted and hailed by media giants––from NPR to USA Today to TIME Magazine to BET (2013’s Hip Hop Cypher) to NBC (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, 2015). In 2014, XXL named her one of the 20 Greatest Female Rappers of All Time. The following year, Dr. Dre crowned her his “favorite female emcee.” In 2018, The Netflix/Mass Appeal 8 part documentary series, RAPSURE Rapsody is featured as the only female artist and role model in Episode 6. She toured with Big K.R.I.T. in 2019 and hit
the road in 2020 for a tour to support her latest album EVE. The North Carolina native called the tour “A Black Woman Created This” continuing the theme of her sophomore LP of Black women empowerment. All her hard work paid off as BET recognized her as “Lyricist of the Year” at the 2020 Hip Hop Awards. Later in 2020, she was featured in Stevie Wonder’s song “Can’t Put It In The Hands of Fate”. Rapsody is currently one the hosts for Revolt’s New Rap Video Countdown Show – “Off Top” alongside Big Tigger. This 4x Grammy nominee is also active in philanthropy and plays an important role with social justice and social empowerment.
Anik Khan – Anik Khan is a Queens, NYC-based artist and entrepreneur who makes hip-hop that travels, drawing from his immigrant roots and his inner city upbringing.
His 2021 double EP, “Denied // Approved” garnered millions of streams and featured collaborations with Bas, Sango, and more. The EP explored his battle for his U.S. citizenship and reflects the realities of a global artist who is dedicated to bridging different cultures and communities together.
Outside of music, Anik has created an entrepreneurial ecosystem for himself which includes being a partner in NYC’s critically acclaimed Kolkata Chai cafe and his “Foreign Affair” apparel brand. He is also a featured TEDx conference, speaking about the power of cultural diversity in pop culture.
His work has been featured in Billboard, The Fader, NPR, VICE, Forbes, and more. Along with a Webby Award-winning documentary, Anik is also a published author with his recent Penguin Random House book focusing on the first-generation immigrant experience.
Freek – Freek, is a Somalian MC, rapper, Director and record producer from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He is regarded as a key figure in the conception of Arabic drill rap music and often labelled the “Godfather” of the genre. He is considered a pioneer in the GCC underground music scene with a prolific work rate and a discography of catchy hits such as ‘Wala Kilmaʼ, ‘Aslan ‘adi”, and “Mush Fadi” which propelled him in the international music scene. Freek has been nominated to compose a feature song in the recent Adidas marketing campaign in March 2019 for non-other than Europe’s top forward player, Mohammed Salah. He has been playing on the big stages around the UAE and has been considered one of the biggest artists in the country, with major following from the local, regional and international scene. Freek opened for Future, Gucci Mayne, Wu-Tang Clan, Stormzy and finished his UK tour in December 2019 with a sold out show in London. In 2022, Freek released his debut album “150” featuring legendary artists from MENA and aboard.”
Felukah – The “neo soul artist bringing the Nile to New York,” Felukah’s voice is among the most distinct and versatile in contemporary genre-bending rap. The Egyptian artist moved to New York City in 2017 to study creative writing at The New School and CUNY’s Hunter College and dropped her first bilingual project, “Citadel” independently in 2019. Regularly code-switching between English and Arabic, Felukah connected to indie label Abu Recordings and worked closely with them to produce and distribute her debut album “Dream 23” in 2020. In 2021, Felukah released the Kawkab EP, which featured her indie rock debut “Love on the Comedown” and marked the artist as one of serious range. Around this time, Felukah also collaborated with Palestinian rapper The Synaptik on “Nefsi” and “Allahya’teek.” Since then, Felukah entered a new era of music with major label Everybody Knows. Her collaboration with Dounia in “Say Hi to My Demons” was released in May 2022 and listeners can expect a new single almost every month for the remainder of 2022. Felukah’s latest project “The Love Serum” is currently being rolled out, with the latest release being an ode to women who empower one another and their societies – “Lilymothersuperflower”.
Tac: Who’s up next? Tac has been a topic of discussion since he dropped his first record in 2018. The 24-year-old Egyptian made a name for himself dropping hardcore hip hop freestyles on his instagram, then countering that with RnB bangers on streaming platforms. The sheer range, vocal and lyrical ability has allowed Tac to tap into virtually any genre’s core fanbase effortlessly. His understanding of the culture as a hip-hop head and command of musicality and rhythm as a record producer and songwriter has drawn the eyes and ears of established musicians from around the world, even trusting him with their sound as a writer, engineer and executive producer. Tac is currently working on his first solo EP, and is preparing for a release early next year.