Sami Baha is the London-based, Turkish-born producer who’s powerful debut EP Mavericks dropped on Planet Mu last week.
Across the EP’s six tracks, Baha melds the pounding weight and stuttering triplet rhythms of trap with club-ready euphoria and intricate melodic arrangements. With roots in the Turkish hip-hop scene, his more recent productions have been wreaking havoc at London parties and on stations like Rinse and NTS since his move to the UK last year. Having started Mavericks whilst still living in Istanbul, Baha says, “the music I produced became more chaotic as Istanbul became a harsher place both politically and economically. I didn’t really design it that way, but I feel like the sound got more aggressive over the years”.
Growing up listening to an Arabic style of Turkish music known as Arabesk, along with music from DJ Screw and producers from Atlanta’s rap scene, Baha builds a sound he refers to as “arabesk-trap”. You can hear a strong influence of Atlanta’s industry-dominating icons from the past two decades, along with shades of the more ominous style pioneered by Chicago’s Young Chop, and even London rap production maverick Carns Hill. In fact, you could envisage Baha’s dynamic instrumentals complimenting everyone from Jeremih to Migos to the recent explosion of UK drill artists. And having already started work with vocalists, it’ll be interesting to see where he takes his sound next.
Sami Baha jumps on the YouTube dials this week, offering a window into some of Maverick’s influences, along with the music he would listen to growing up. Below you’ll find tracks from iconic Arabesk performer Ibrahim Tatlises, an album from stoner-rock legends Sleep, and one of the first DJ Screw tracks Baha heard – which has undoubtedly informed his current output.
1. DJ Screw – My Mind Went Blank
First song I heard from “The Originator” DJ Screw on YouTube, and still one of my favourite Screw tunes ever.
2. Deltron 3030 – 3030
I love everything about sci-fi, especially if it’s a Deltron 3030 track.
3. Command and Conquer- Red Alert 1 – 2nd Hand
This is actually my childhood OST. I remember I played this song a thousand times when I was going to school all day.
4. Juicy J – Hoes in this House
Such a great beat lesson for me from DJ Paul.
5. ilahi Arapca Kücük Kiz – ( Remix )
My friend commented this video to one of my Facebook profile pictures. Then It became one of my favourite mash-ups – It’s funny and groovy.
6. Timbaland – The Way I Are feat WISE (JAPANESE VERSION)
I think this one is the best Japanese version ever. It fits %100.
7. KARS HALİTPAŞA MAHALLESİ ÇILGINLIĞI -11- ═► İBRAHİM KAYA Farkıyla
Kars people know how to rave. I’ve been to some crazy wedding trance events in Turkey. You should go and join the vibe!
8. TAN EMPRİME BASKI
This video depresses me so much, and makes me hate imperialism.
9. Ibrahim Tatlises -Yalan
Huge Arabesk arrangement from “the emperor” Tatlises.
10. Sleep – Dopesmoker [full]
If you ask me for inspiration about the Mavericks EP, I can say it’s the one and only Dopesmoker.
Mavericks is out now on Planet Mu. Grab it here.
Featured image: Beyza Ucak