Stemming from Cairo, Egypt’s Hip-Hop scene coalesces the rhythmic vibrations of the Oud and melodic traditional Egyptian ‘Uffātah Flute with inventive verses that entail life experience in their Arab community. The Arabian Knightz are an Arab rap group comprised of four well versed MCs: Rush (Karim Adel), Sphinx (Hesham Abed), and E-Money (Ehab Adel). Famous for producing music that engages Egyptian society and envokes Egyptian struggles, namely the 2011 Egyptian revolution that served as the context for their most popular song “Rebel”, whilst appealing to Western culture and their “ear for rap music”. Publishing music through the conveniences of SoundCloud and Youtube predominately, I came across the song Fokkak (directly translating to deconstructed or unwinding yourself) featuring a female artist Lana. The song serves as an invigorating and heartwarming reminder that music can be used as a vessel to get through harsh situations. Lana’s lyrics “Unwind yourself from what you’re dealing with.
I’ll tell you, “hey, what’s new?” We’ll bring you my music and it’ll grab you! There’s nothing else like it,” are a direct illustration of this message. The rest of the song is comprised of mainly boastful statements about the ability of the MCs in the group, as many rap songs go, and in my opinion that could probably be reduced to further elaborate upon this message. Something I personally loved about the piece was the line that talked about Eminem, which as an American listener was really entertained me and helped me further understand the piece as a whole. “Like Eminem, lose it, Fred! Tell them” It was something I could relate to. I also particularly enjoyed the direct references to Egyptian locations like Cairo and the Sphynx itself (which one of the MCs named himself after).
Utilizing both English and Arab lyrics, the group breaks the typical language barrier that is added when a song is written in a language their demographic cannot understand. Although it is particularly appealing to have a Western audience, especially in this field of work, the songs they produce are meant to speak towards struggles happening in Northern Africa. Even in a more uplifting tune, such as Fokkak, Hoss expounds upon the subject of oppressive autocracy that censored Egyptian rap lyrics to prevent an uprising by folk engaging with their music. Filtering the art people produce as a response to their immediate circumstance kills creativity and burdens those who need a release “You set it on fire. Rulers, unfortunately, are lacking in etiquette. Art is dying and you’re the reason,” he exclaims. This line was purposely delivered in the Arabic language, for example, because it was intended to relate to Egyptian content creators going through similar endeavors. As Sphynx said, “Lyrical genius – Arabic or English!”
A translation of the lyrics is available at:
-“Egyptian Hip Hop.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Feb. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_hip_hop.
-Loza, Pierre. “Hip Hop on the Nile.” Al-Ahram Weekly | Features | Hip Hop on the Nile, web.archive.org/web/20050424081031/http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/723/fe2.htm.
-"Arabian Knightz.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Knightz.