Living Lebanese Legend, DJ Lethal Skillz (Maharat Katilah) is a master in his art in Lebanon. Turntablist, DJ and Producer, Hussein Mao Atwi, also known as the “PhonoSapien Monk of da 3rd World,” has been in the industry for over a decade, living up to his name with his so fresh and so clean beats. Skillz is also the first Arab DJ to fuse the art of turntablizm into Oriental Arabic music.
Skillz is founder and member of Lebanese hip-hop group “961 Underground,” and is also the one behind the exposure of most of Lebanon’s hot MC’s. Moreover, Skillz is an influential member of the rapid growing Arabic hip-hop movement. In 2007, he was an official judge for the “DMC World Championship for Gulf Battles,” held in Dubai, along with DJ Q-bert, Akakabe, and turntablist Co-ma fro.
“I wanted to represent Lebanon and put Arabia on the map in the DMC World Championships,” he noted.
In addition, Skillz is DJ in ”Die hard” by Eslaam Jawad featuring De La Soul. The song is part of the album “Die Hard” which is set for release in May 2008. The album will be released under RPEG Lmtd. – Cilvaringz. And, he is DJ in the album “From Jeddah to L.A” on the track by Qusai aka Don Legend (Jeddah Legends) featuring Nate Dogg. The track is part of the album which is set for release in the summer.
The music Skillz makes is a blend of Arabic and hip-hop. It also includes trip-top, break beats, and drum ‘n’ bass. His goal is to “create a platform where Arab youths can express themselves peacefully and away from politics and war.” He emphasizes wanting “to show the world a different image about the Middle East so they view us from a different perspective and see who we truly are. We also need to give Arabic hip-hop its rightful place on the world’s entertainment map.”

Skillz’ notes that the content of his music is an expression of Arab youth and life experiences, “how we feel and what we go through in our social, political and personal lives. Most of my music addresses and promotes peace, unity, love and respect.”
Skillz’ influences vary from Fairuz and Rahbani to Kool G Rap, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Goodie Mob to Canibus, WU Tang Clan, Mob Deep, and Jedi Mind Trix. He explains how he “always wanted to have a musical mentor but living in a war zone and being a kid was difficult, so I had to mentor myself and learn from everything I hear and see on videos and TV.”

Making lots of noise on the Malaysia charts, Skillz is number 5 on Hitz FM’s Top 20. He is currently in Kuala Lumpur shooting the video for his single released in Malaysia called “KL to Beirut.” The video is produced by Skillz and Malaysia’s hip hop Turntables Champion, DJ Fuzz. The Malaysian lyrics for the track are written and performed by MC Moe from Lebanon.
Currently, Skillz is working with Nas Jota Records in producing his first official Arabic hip-hop compilation album called “New World Disorder.” The Album is set for release and international distribution in June 2008. He is also working on another album called “Karmageddon.” The album combines Middle East and Far East hip-hop cultures and will be released in December 2008 in the Far East and Middle East and will be available online.

In the future, Skillz will be involved in national and international releases, events, concerts and tours with Arabic hip-hop artists and his group “961 Underground.” He is currently discussing future gigs in Bahrain and recordings with DJ Outlaw. Skillz will also direct and appear in the Arabic Lebanese hip-hop documentary film called “961 Underground.” The film is about the Lebanese underground hip-hop scene and is set for release in the summer. It will be available on DVD in music stores such as Virgin megastore and online.
Skillz will be performing in the “Red Bull Lord of the Streets” event held in Dubai, Muscat and Beirut this summer.More information about DJ Lethal Skillz, his music and group can be found on My Space, YouTube and his official websites here and here.

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