Hip Hop and the "Arab Spring"

From “Hip Hop & Diaspora: Connecting the Arab Spring” by Lara Dotson-Renta over at the Arab Media & Society online journal:

The diasporic connections visible in the hip-hop of the Arab Spring, and the many possibilities for future dialogues that these engender are, however, most visible in collaborations such as “January 25,” a song spearheaded by Syrian-American Omar Offendum (Omar Chakaki) and Iraqi-Canadian The Narcicyst, produced by Palestinian-American Sami Matar with appearances by Palestinian-Canadian singer Ayah, and African-American converts MC Freeway and Amir Sulaiman. A single song centered around the January 25 protests in Egypt, which heralded the overthrow of long-term President Hosni Mubarak, rallied together artists from all over the world. While united for the same cause, many had not ever resided in the MENA region and several did not speak Arabic natively. Yet, the common factor of breaking silence and having shared a sense of being ‘on the outside looking in’ sociopolitically created a song that has generated over 200,000 hits on YouTube. Omar Offendum understands the nuanced importance of the premise of unity, as he raps: “From Tunis to Khan Younis/the new moon shines bright/as The Man’s spoon was/as masses demand rights/and dispel rumors of disunity/communally removing the tumors…”Having established a common link, the lyrics then take a decidedly American political twist while remaining entirely relatable to the Egyptian political situation with the lyrics of Amir Sulaiman, who rhymes: “wont be just niggas/wont be just spiks/a-rabs, pakis rednecks and hicks/the leaders ain’t helping them feeding their kids/the leaders helping pigs eating their kids/got me back on my Elijah eating to live/run up in the white house like I got a key to the crib…”

You may read the article in its entirety here.

h/t zunguzungu

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