Monday, October 09, 2006

More on Palestinian-Israeli Rap

From the Washington Post:

"Yo, Word Up, Arabz"

By Richard Morin
Thursday, April 20, 2006; A02

Think black rappers are angry? Well, check out this raging rhyme tossed down in Arabic by Arab Israeli rapper Tamer Nafar and his crew DAM:

You're a Democracy?
Actually it's more like the Nazis!
Your countless raping of the Arabs' soul
Finally impregnated it
Gave birth to your child
His name: Suicide Bomber
And then you call him the terrorist?

The song "Meen Erhabe" (or, "Who Is the Terrorist?"), released in 2001 over the Internet, became the first Arabic rap hit and spawned a new kind of rap that is spreading quickly throughout the Middle East, communications lecturer Usama Kahf of California State University at Long Beach says in an article under review by the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

A dozen rappers -- mostly Palestinians -- fill the Arab streets with rap and hip-hop beats, according to Kahf's review of the nascent genre. DAM is the best-known. The trio has toured throughout the Middle East and in Europe. Other acts have emerged in Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt and elsewhere. Several Web sites, notably, serve as nerve centers for Arabic rap and help spread the music under the radar of government censors.

Still, many nonsecular Arabs view rap as another intrusion of Western culture and "an affront to [Arab] heritage or an imitation of the West," Kahf wrote.

Arabic rappers respond to the challenge by using traditional instruments behind familiar rap beats. They defend Arabic rap by contending in their rhymes that rap is the new universal musical language of marginalized people, Kahf said. And instead of rapping about Cristal and bling, they focus on social and political problems.