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US rapper Silento stuck in UAE over business dispute

Associated Press 3/2/2017
FILE - In this July 21, 2015 file photo, 17-year-old rapper Silento poses for a portrait in New York. Silento, a U.S. rapper known for his hit song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" has had his passport seized by authorities in the United Arab Emirates over a business dispute.(Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this July 21, 2015 file photo, 17-year-old rapper Silento poses for a portrait in New York. Silento, a U.S. rapper known for his hit song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" has had his passport seized by authorities in the United Arab Emirates over a business dispute.(Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Silento, the U.S. rapper known for his hit song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," has been stopped from leaving the United Arab Emirates over a business dispute, a government-owned paper reported Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi-based daily The National reported that a court in the city of Al Ain imposed the travel ban after promoter Makki Taj El Sir Abdel Halim accused the artist of failing to appear at shows he booked.

The court ordered the 19-year-old Atlanta rapper, whose real name is Ricky Lamar Hawk, to pay Abdel Halim 300,000 dirhams ($81,500), according to the paper. He was ordered to surrender his passport, a typical requirement in UAE court disputes, until the case is settled.

Abdel Halim confirmed the details of the case to The Associated Press by phone.

Silento, his record label and the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi did not respond to requests for comment.

The rapper made a nod to his legal troubles at the end of a show in a Dubai nightclub early Thursday, telling the audience: "I can't even leave the UAE but I'm still in the club," according to a video posted by The National online.

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