Egyptian hip hop

Egyptian hip hop

Egyptian hip hop is a new, raw, audacious and exciting form of music coming from the North African country incorporating issues of the region and abroad.


Egypt was one of the very first civilizations in the world, and the conqueror and conquered throughout 5000 years of history. As a result of being "touched" by the sciences, arts, problems, wars, etc. of other empires, Egypt was on a ground that allowed for social, economic, and political problems to arise. Even five thousand years later, Egypt still continues to struggle with various political, social, and economic problems which sparked the few generation of hip hop in Egypt. However, the hip hop scene in Egypt is a slow one, as the Egyptian government strictly enforces censorship and can imprison people daring to speak out against the government. People in Egypt do not care much about activism, and those who do are quickly shut down by the government. The new generation of Egyptian youth are fighting for a change and one of the few ways they do that is through hip hop. As a result, new hip hop artists look towards a hip hop scene so that they can fight for social and political causes in Egypt.Atia, Tarek. "Shabaan!" In "Al-Ahram Weekly". 18 - 24 January 2001, No. 517.]

American influence

Ever since hip hop first began in America, it spread throughout the world quickly, even through areas where hip hop was never heard of. Hip-hop in Egypt was dead in the 1990s, however in the 2000s it emerged as a young and soon-to-be popular scene throughout Egypt, especially among the youth. One piece of technology that helped spread hip-hop throughout Egypt were cable connections in almost every Egyptian home which allowed Egyptians to gain access to a large number of music-oriented channels that helped the spread of hip hop more quickly. Music channels such as Melody Hits and Mazzika emerged, which incorporated Egyptian songs and mostly American hip-hop music. The "coolness" and fashion statement that American hip hop spreads around the world has made some Egyptians adapt the style. This gave upcoming artists, such as hip hop group MTM, an advantage to forming the first hip hop scene.

Islamic influence

Egyptian hip hop is fairly different from hip-hop around the world. The justice they fight for to a unique Arabian beat taps into the unique soul of Egypt. Traditional instruments such as the oud and Egyptian flute add an Arabian beat to the hip hop scene. But one particular impact on hip hop is the Islamic religion. The Holy Qu'ran is a book consisting of laws and rules Muslims must follow. With Egypt being a predominantly Islamic society and the government following some Islamic laws, the Islamic society expects a limit on certain things that cause evil, such as showing off one's wealth, objectification of women, causing evil to one another, hatred, etc. Due to this, Islam plays a significant role in the hip-hop scene in Egypt. As a verse states, “God advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.” (Surah 16 Verse 90). This verse tells Muslims that good and evil are not equal and to always perform good actions towards others. Muslims can interpret this "evil" as the objectification of women, showing off the "bling," doing inappropriate things, or anything else involved with consumerism and capitalism. [Cooke, Miriam and Laurence, Bruce, “Muslim Networks: From Hajj to Hip Hop.” "The Islamic Salon", SamiaSergeldon 155-170, University of North Carolina Press, 2005] As a result, Egyptian hip-hop artists have transcended American hip-hop in that they have maintained their musical and moral integrity as musicians. The Islamic fundamentals infused in rap have revolutionized a young hip-hop scene in Egypt resulting in rappers expressing their beliefs without unnecessary American capitalism and objectification. In the end, they focus on pure rap to express their feelings, resisting the capitalism and consumerism of the West.

Hip hop artists

Hip-hop artists in Egypt tried to gain national recognition in the 1990s, but failed to do so. Some of the reasons could be the love/dance music of prominent singers such as Amr Diab or Hakim. However, one artist emerged into becoming a hip-hop mogul and sparked interest in the hip-hop scene. His name is Shabaan Abdel-Rehim and he was one of the first artists to speak out about social and economic problems that are occurring around the world. He grew up in a family of laundry pressers in a village named Mit Halfa. His low paying job and financial struggles have pushed him to speak against the issues occurring in the world. Paul Beldon of the "Asia Times" says of Abdel-Rehim, “One can't really imagine him composing a love song or expressing unity of any sort. His music is a reflection of himself and his upbringing of deprivation: an illiterate ironworker, the son of another illiterate ironworker, raised in the small village of Mit Halfa in Egypt.” [Beldon, Paul. [ “Singing Out Against the War”.] In "Asia Times", April 5, 2003.] Abdel-Rahim, however, retorts that “Just because [he is] an ironer, it doesn’t mean that [he] can’t speak out about our troubled life.” [Veash, Nicole. “Pop Crooner Hits Sour Note with Egyptian Elite.” In "The Christian Science Monitor". January 18, 2002.] Living in a country where censorship is enforced and freedom of speech could cause jail time and/or fines, Abdel-Rehim instead blames Egypt's problems on Israel and America. His various songs include, “I Hate Israel”, “Arab Leaders”, “Hate is a Trivial Thing O Israel”, and “We are All Out of Patience.” "I Hate Israel" and "Hate is a Trivial Thing O Israel" discuss the problems Israel and America cause throughout the world; the lyrics point to these two countries as the cause of Egypt's social, economic, and political problems. However, most Egyptians disagree with Abdel-Rehim and look at him as a joke. Some even want to get rid of him due to his extreme political views.Fact|date=August 2008 His strong lyrics, videos, and messages he conveys calls for all Egyptians to unite and fight for the freedom and justice they once had thousands of years ago. As a result of this, Abdel-Rahim sparked interest in other hip-hop groups/artists, especially the hip hop group MTM who take a different approach to hip hop.

MTM, the initials of the first name of singers Miki, Taki, and Mado, are a group of Egyptian hip-hop artists spreading their word that it’s time for Egypt to change and become more “Westernized.” Their hip-hop music focuses on ways to better Egypt, socially and economically. Their lyrics bring a positive style to rap since they often "make fun" of the various issues in Egypt. One of their famous songs, "Lazem Bokra," goes so far as to make fun of Egyptians, stating they are selfish, old school people refusing to change for a better good.

Future of hip hop

New hip-hop artists are emerging to express the political, social, financial, and economic issues that lurk over Egypt. Like its American counterpart, Egyptian hip hop allows artists to express their political and social expressions.Fact|date=October 2008In the past it was So Strange to hear this Type of Music on Egypt,Fact|date=October 2008 Egyptian Rappers Started like Signed Rappers , The First Egyptian Rap Crew Was MTM , They Put The Egyptian Rap Under Spot all Over The World , They Released Two Albums Omy Mesafra (My Mother is Travelling) 2001 , And Telephony Peyren (My Phone is Ringing) 2003 , They have got much Criticism , also The Most Egyptian Youth Admired them and Started to Make their own Songs , and start to make this Underground Society .Another Signed Rapper is Karim Naguib , He Start To Make his Songs and Released his First Album L'Wahdy (Alone) 2007 .And The First Signed Rapper from the Underground Society Rappers is Omar Boflot Who Won the First Place at the MTV Arabia competition Hip-Hopna .The Most Famous Egyptian Underground Rapper is El7aty Who Make a song Talking about The World Cup 2010 Egyptian Organization Scandal.Also there is an Active Egyptian Rapper Who have The Copyrights of Arabic Rap Kings Mixtapes , his Name is LaLaZeZo , This is the First time on the World to Release an Albums Containing those Songs for The Arabic Underground Rappers.


*Loza, Pierre. [ "Hip hop on the Nile"] . "Al-Ahram Weekly"
* [ "WwW.ShababRappers.CoM"] .

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