AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Cairo mosh pit
Sophia Azeb | December 10th, 2012

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A few days ago Tom posted another installment of 10 African films to watch out for, one of which is the documentary “Underground/On the Surface,” on the popular “second-class” youth music genre mahragan shaabi. While we wait to see the documentary for ourselves next year, above and below are some home-made videos of young men dancing to these underground tunes on the streets (and in the internet cafés) of Egypt. It’s a great mash-up of b-boying, belly-dancing, house and the ever-popular mosh pit!

For our Arabic speakers, here is an episode of the Egyptian webshow 3ala Fein? produced by disalata.com’s online video magazine on Oka & Ortega. With their entire crew (shout out to Wezza!), they are called the “eight percent” (tamanya fil mya). These are the artists featured in the aforementioned trailer for “Underground/On the Surface,” and the following segment, which largely focuses on their music, explores the meanings behind their names and their music. (Ortega named himself literally after Argentinian footballer Ariel Ortega, it seems). “The eight percent” reflects the class consciousness within their political — though also humorous and sometimes lewd — music. Their music is made for the poorest classes in Egypt, the very spaces these young men come from:

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Sophia Azeb

PhD candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. On Twitter: @brownisthecolor


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