How do you define an Arab rapper? A rapper rapping in Arabic? An Arab rapper rapping in English? Do they rap about war or luxury cars, popping champaign or going to the mosque and living diaspora? A more interesting question is not weather Arab rap is good or bad but whether Arab rap works or not. If you ask us, we think it depends on the rapper.
Hip-hop is one of the most influential cultural movements in the world. The underground phenomena which started in the 1970s in the Bronx, New York City has become a voice for many people from different cultures and backgrounds as a way to express issues around oppression, politics, society and the material world.
Hip-hop culture and specifically rap has been a great influence over young Arab artists and musicians. This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise when we think about the Arab world’s long history of oral storytelling and their love of poetry. Arabs have taken the themes and stylistic innovations of rap and fashioned them around their own storytelling techniques and issues they have faced.
From luxurious lifestyles, to war, poverty and violence, Arab rappers are creating a new sound and a unique way to understand the modern Arab experience through rap. The Arab Edition isn’t interested in one hit wonders and wanted to find Arab Hip-Hop artists on the rise or had been around for awhile that were continuously working on their craft to get their message across. Whether they are rapping in English, Arabic and other languages here are the most interesting Arab rappers today that you should know about.