As a genre, hip hop is a movement often seen as a form of self-expression for minority groups. Originating in the 1970s in the Bronx, a burrough in New York City with African-American youth, the genre became a method of self-expression, of speaking out against injustice and of social commentary. In the Middle East, hip-hop has become increasingly popular with break-out groups from all over the region. Rapping about a variety of different topics, from feelings of longing for a homeland to religion, the music is a reflection of what the current generation is experiencing.
1) Fareeq Al-Atrash – The Lebanese hip hop band Fareeq Al Atrash uses their poetry to rap about everything from the environment, social and political issues to corruption to the struggle of the working class. Mixing their poetic lyrics to funky, modern beats, Fareeq Al-Atrash is known for their lively performances around the region.
2) DAM – Palestinian Hip-hop group DAM consists of three members: Suheil and Tamer Naffar and Mahmoud Jreri. Having toured extensively throughout the world, the trio shed light on some of the situations faced on a daily basis by the Palestinian people both living in and outside of the Diaspora. Their music is a unique amalgamation of eastern beats, urban hip-hop and modern issues.
3) Omar Offendum – Syrian-American hip hop artist Omar Offendum uses his lyrics as an outlet to speak about politics, peace, challenges and solutions in the region. Having performed at various international music festivals, he also fundraises for humanitarian relief organizations and promotes calls to action.
4) El Far3i – A Jordanian/Palestinian hip hop artist based in Amman, El Far3i combines acoustic guitar with thoughtful, narrative-style Arabic lyrics. Many of his songs being emotional and poetic, El Far3i has managed to attract quite an audience throughout the region with his combination of hip hop beats and acoustic sounds.
Do you know any more Arab hip-hop groups or artists? Let us know in the comments section or at Editor@Barakabits.com!