It didn’t start with the March for Our Lives…

Recent performer in the March for Our Lives, Ghanian-American Victor Kwesi Mensha or Vic Mensa is an exemplary figure of the African diaspora, utilizing his voice to express discontent for issues of his disenfranchised people. Since debuting in 2013 on the Chance the Rapper mixtape (his childhood friend) Acid Rap, Chicago native has earned a top spot on XXL Magazine’s 2014 freshman class and released two albums—The Autobiography and There’s A lot Going On. Continue reading “It didn’t start with the March for Our Lives…”

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. Continue reading “The Story of a Raptivst: Who Can Stop Me?”

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. Continue reading “RevRecords; Straight Outta Alexandria”

One Thousand and One Nights to Four Arabian Knightz

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”, Continue reading “One Thousand and One Nights to Four Arabian Knightz”