Hey, world, look up!
For years, I have watched in awe as the generation directly below mine dove head-first into the hip hop culture in their dress, their slang, their actions, and their entertainment.
In Jordan, the hip hop phenomenon has spread to actually include both affluent West Amman and poorer East Amman. Kids in the street wear shirts labeled "Brooklyn" although that they don’t really know where Brooklyn is. They sing songs about black power although they really have no idea about the implications and the historical background of the lyrics. Yet regardless, they rap, they break-dance, they create their own music- these kids have finally managed to find a way to express themselves that many Arab generations before them have not.
This is where the impressive Palestinian hip-hop scene that I first became acquainted with on Yazan Malakha's blog comes in. As I watched the videos, I felt my dislike towards the hip hop culture slowly ebb away, and I grinned as the videos dismissed the notion that globalization generates homogeneity. The Palestinian scene is indeed a product of importing American hip-hop, but it is blended so beautifully with the Palestinian cause and case, that the hip-hop is actually refashioned to become Palestinian.
So here we are- we have passionate, talented young Palestinians singing their cause out to the young people of the world in a way that all would understand- without the dirtiness of politics, without the bounds of religion. We have teenagers taking a much globalized medium and using it to spread alternative voices of resistance within the Palestinian struggle. We have girls and boys saying "Hey, world, look up!"
The bands are from different areas in Palestine, and it's wholly captivating how each area has its own "sound". The videos are well directed, and it's just wonderful how you can see the environment that each rapping group comes from. I would strongly recommend you watch the videos, because they bring an interesting fresh perspective, from a generation not yet jaded.
I would very strongly recommend that you watch the trailer of an upcoming movie "Slingshot" about hip hop in Palestine. It shows you different samples from different areas(my favorite music is that of Lydd), and interviews the rappers with their experiences, goals, and hopes. I also strongly recommend the video of a song called "Born Here" by DAM, it makes me shiver.
To listen to the inspiring songs that are a product of this very phenomenon, please go to Yazan's blog.
I say, kudos to such efforts. I hope we see more towards this smart direction.
Click here to watch the trailer of SlingShot Hip Hop: The Palestinian Lyrical Front.
Click here to watch "Born Here".