The Story of a Raptivst: Who Can Stop Me?

Although often marginalized and underappreciated, Yukka Shahin demonstrates that female Egyptian Hip-Hop artists are not a dying breed. The 26-year-old began rapping in 2010, around 18 years old, in the rap multicultural center of Alexandria, Egypt. Her early works served as a platform for self-discovery and expression, allowing herself to discuss issues concerning her personal life, but was soon overshadowed by the sometimes chaotic atmosphere she endured during the highly political Arab Spring. The Arab Spring is described as being “a revolutionary wave of both violent and non-violent demonstrations, protests, riots, coups, foreign interventions, and civil wars in North Africa and the Middle East that began on the 17th of December 2010…with the Tunisian Revolution.” The Arab Spring served as a catalyst for the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, commonly known as the Egyptian Crisis. The anti-government rallies presented themselves throughout Alexandria, where she resides, and Suez predominantly. Her personal involvement the tense and politicized environment that occurred before, during, and after the constraints of the crisis itself, as well as her involvement in support of the feminist movement (“highlighting the role of women in society and advocating for women’s rights”), inspired Shahin’s transition into the realm of raptivism.

“Who can stop me?” featuring English-speaking Danish rapper Manus Bell, discusses her inability to give up on the fight towards political liberation. As the chorus elaborates, no one can stop her because she has a voice in this discussion and she is willing to use it (not even the cage they put her under will stop her).  The music video is simply a transcription of the lyrics on a collection of black and white images that depict both the social and political consequences of the Arab Spring, going as far as including crying children and policy-making with former President Barack Obama. The usage of English, the unofficial lingua franca, allows her personal experience with the effects of the revolution to be distributed to the masses. Arabic would have decreased the reach that her message was trying to achieve, and prohibited her from gaining Western sympathy and support on the subject.

Citations:

-“Arab Spring.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Mar. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring.

-“Egyptian Crisis (2011–14).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Mar. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_crisis_%282011%E2%80%9314%29.

-MideastTunes, info@mideastunes.com. “Yukka Shahin.” Mideast Tunes, mideastunes.com/artist/yukka-shahin.

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