Illmiyah is an Emirati Rapper/Producer from the United Arab Emirates and half band member of the highly successful Middle East hip hop duo Desert Heat. Formed in 2002, two Emirati brothers (Illmiyah and Arableak) formed Desert Heat and became the first truly Arabian voice of the Middle Eastern youth.
Desert Heat consists of two Emirati brothers ?Illmiyah? (eel-mee-yah) & ?Arableak?, who share the goal of being the 1st truly Arabian voice of the Middle Eastern youth. Desert Heat primarily rap in English, but the majority of their songs contain some Arabic literature, and slang.
From the beginning, Desert Heat’s main focus was penning as much material centered around expressing what life is like being a Muslim Arab in the Middle East . They finally decided it was time for a debut album to be released, in the hopes of spreading awareness to the world (especially the West) about the typical Arab and fighting off misconceptions of Muslims being labeled as ?terrorists?. After a few road blocks along the path, the group decided to self produce and self finance their entire project. This includes writing their own lyrics and producing their own music, creating a signature sound and style in every record they create.
There have been numerous rap/hip-hop artists that have sprung from The Gulf region, and especially the UAE. The problem is, the majority, if not all, use ?rap? as a tool to be ?cool? or to show off their rapping skills. The majority will rap about experiences they have never experienced, only to emulate all that they know, the African American rappers from the US . What makes Desert Heat so different is that they focus more on representing their roots and people, rather than about ‘bling’, ?guns? , ?drugs? and other negative stereotypical topics. They actually studied the hip hop history and how it originated – the reason why in the US most rappers? lyrics are negative or pessimistic is because it originated from struggle and the likes. Desert Heat, took some elements from western rap music, added their own knowledge and positive approach, and finally made it their own. Desert Heat is not about imitating, but about innovating and speaking knowledge through their music. They speak about their own struggles, what it?s like being a Muslim Arab in the Middle East and what all ?normal? things they do. They want to teach the world that Muslims in general are peaceful beings, and that not every Muslim wants to blow him/herself up. I their music, they question why today, the word ?terrorist? has become synonymic with Muslims and Islam and want to make people understand that anyone could be labeled one, whether Muslim, Christian, Jew or others. Its not about the religion, its about the person.
The highlight on Desert Heat?s music is that they never use any negative vocabulary or profanity in their lyrics. They believe that to make good rap music, you don?t need to curse, which is quite a challenge for the group, but is also what keeps them going. They want to portray a fine picture of the Arabic culture, by talking about their traditions, customs and also the history behind some great inventions today that only originated from Arab minds. Their album is somewhat educational in its own way; teaching the world that doesn?t know, about Arabs and their lives. And they do that so poetically through rap music. It is the kind of work we have yet to find one like, in the whole of the Middle East and the world. Occasionally dressed and rapping in their traditional ?Kandoora? and ?ghutra? (Arabic dress and head dress), this is what differentiates Desert Heat from the mass ? just for being themselves and taking the positive approach to life through their music