Felukah’s song “Harlemite Honey,” is a great example of Felukah’s combination of her American and Egyptian identities. Felukah is currently a university student in New York, where she began her rapping career, but she plans to move back to Cairo after graduating in an effort to strengthen the femal rap scene in Egypt as well as collaborate with artists in newly emerging genre scenes. Felukah is a rapper, but she also sings in some of her songs as she would also classify herself as an alternative R&B artist. Along with her song, Felukah released a music video for “Harlemite Honey ” on March 16th, 2019. While this is not her first song, this is her first music video. Since then she has released 3 others.
She starts her video with her posing in front of the famous Apollo theatre. The Apollo theatre is famously known for its fostering of the music scene in Harlem. A “Harelemite” is a term used to describe an inhabitant of Harlem. In the first line of her first verse she announces that she is both from Harlem and from Egypt. She is proud of who she is and says she is working on “replanting cultural roots.” In this song Felukah switches between rapping in English and Arabic.
She sings about a night in which she is in Harlem, which is what she portrays in her music video, while also stepping out of that moment and flashing to lines of her rapping about bigger concepts. She first does this by talking about how “they tellin’ [her] what they want as if [she tries] to supply [her] artistry to the fame, well [she] declines.” She makes it clear that she is not here for the fame, and that she is much more adamant about saying what she feels must be said rather than saying what others want to hear.
While Felukah does sing a bit about her future success and how she expects she will get famous in the future, she does not exude this energy in her song. As noted in the book “Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa,” female Braggadocio is a big part of hip hop written by female artists. As it is a big part of hip hop culture for all genders, it is also particularly important for female rappers. It allows them to be confident as well as have underlying messages in their music. While Felukah is confident, she does not spend large amounts of time rapping purley about herself in the Braggadocio style.
She then shifts from rapping in the first person in the “I” perspective to rapping from a “we” perspective. She makes a parallel of showing people starving in Yemen to the lives “they” live in, where a girl complains about needing a lemon in her sparkling water. She says “see when you put these things in parallel know they very well don’t equate, but if it means I’ll start the conversation f*** I’ll take the blame.” She recognizes that her statements may be exaggerated, but above that she recognizes the greater importance of starting conversation about more important issues. She then uses the example of the Kavanaugh hearings in which Dr. Ford stepped up to share her story and the court ruled against her to show the broken system in the US. She then talks about an example of a broken Egyption system. She talks about Egypt’s current state not being unique to an era ruled by Sisi.
Felukah discusses the problems with the way women are treated in the United States, but she does not limit herself to speaking about what many people would look at as “women’s issues.” As seen in many gender studies of female rappers, they are often boxed in and expected to either sexualize themselves or speak to what are classified as “women’s issues.” While Felukah does speak about her experience as a woman in some of her songs, this song is an example of how she is also intentional in just being a rapper not a “female rapper”.
Felukah ends her song singing about how she is a “Harlemite Honey making just Egyptian noise.” This song is a combination of a call for conversations about important topics to be started as well as an ode to her two hometowns of Harlem and Ciaro. She ends her song with a bit of speech where she says “toota toota khilsat il hatoota,” which is a classic rhyme in Arabic when people end stories. The use of this line to end her song shows her intentional use of her platform as one that tells stories.