RevRecords; Straight Outta Alexandria

Inspired, namely, by American hip-hop icons (Wu-Tang Clan, Eminem, 2Pac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, N.W.A, Nas, Jay-Z for example) and the fathers of Egyptian popular music (Shekh Emam, Sayed Darwish, Mohamed Mounira), Revolution Records is an Alexandrian organization that sparked in 2006 as a coalition effort with that of Danish RAPOLITICS. Their mission statement is to provide a free space, equipment, workshops, and managerial technical support for amateur Arab rappers to ignite their potential and contribute to local, regional, and international discourse about cultural and political dilemmas occurring throughout the Arabian peninsula and Northern Africa. Encouraging the members of their community to produce raw rap music and indulge themselves into hip-hop culture has created a vehicle for these individuals to have a say in conversations they would otherwise not be invited to. Another member of the politically fixated Egyptian rap scene, Shakur from DaCliQue 203, states “We always fought about my love for hip-hop,” said Shakur. “[My brother] thought I was wasting my time. He thought I should be writing articles about politics instead. But at the same time, he remained curious. He always wanted to know about the lyrics I was writing.” The members of RevRecords are providing significant political commentary on the situations that arise in their immediate area, and are yielding a differing perspective that would otherwise be censored by leaders of their community.

“Mays7esh Keda مايصحش كدة” is a song released by Revolution Records in April 2016 that directly translates to the English phrase “That’s Not Right”, which alludes to the condescending and unjust attitude of Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (his voice was even sampled in the song and incorporated it as a portion of the social commentary). The song was released in Arabic with a video that translates the lyrics into common English. This is a strategic and crucial tool utilized to gain the involvement of individuals within the Arab populace, and throughout the expanses of the transcontinental community. The song itself discusses the overall Egyptian lack of rights and the need for a revolution in which they could redeem these rights back. Agency has been diminished in their lands, and they fear the wrath of the government if they would attempt to act alone in defying their wishes or simply asking for “more”. It shames the individuals who did not take the opportunity to rightfully vote for someone who was deserving of the head of the goverment in Egypt and blames their cowardice for their current situation. The song calls out the hypocrisy el-Sisi leads in suggesting that members of their society have vested interests that prohibit them from supporting the livelihood of the people, claiming that those who fight in his armies are doing his dirty work with nothing in return. The song in its entirety advocates for a reassessing of the chemical makeup of the Egyptian government and plants blame on all of the individuals that allowed the situation to get as bad as it is. The lyrics produced such an upheaval that when Temraz was asked to perform it in a foreign country he feared his arrest at the Cairo airport, especially after receiving a “tip” that the government promised to chastise any other attempts to make a track of that sort. It, however, did achieve its goal of raising eyebrows towards issues involving the president after receiving more than 200,000 likes.

Citations: 

-“Revolution Records.” Facebook – Log In or Sign Up, http://www.facebook.com/revrecordz/app/123966167614127/.

-Nashed, Mat. “Egyptian Rappers Fight against Censorship.” DW, 6 Nov. 2017, http://www.dw.com/en/egyptian-rappers-fight-against-censorship/a-39182318.

 

 

 

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