Transforming Egypt through Hip-Hop

Transforming Egypt through Hip-Hop

Something changed in the hip-hop scene in Egypt the last couple of years. And something changed in the hip-hoppers as well. Egypt has been in a chaotic state since the so-called Arab Spring, and the youth of Egypt have in general had to face a lot of new things and change their way of thinking. In Alexandria the hip-hop scene were also active in this transformation of Egypt, but it also transformed itself. RAPOLITICS wanted together with Revolution Records, the first Egyptian underground hip-hop label, to help boost this transformation. Therefore, we established a recording studio with the purpose of uniting the Alexandrian hip-hop community and put spotlight on Arabic hip-hop.

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In a South Sudan State of Mind

This is the first blog post in a series related to the upcoming project ‘Oyee! Give Peace a Chance’ – a project that focuses on the world’s youngest nation and how raptivists there use rap as a way to promote peace and reconciliation.

An optimistic tone was never harder to strike. Having known such adventures and challenges, having experienced the multitudes and beauties of the people and the land, and having cried, laughed and sworn my head off – for two amazing years in South Sudan – my heart is breaking. As I write this, the United Nations has confirmed the newest rounds of massacres of civilians, and South Sudan seems to have surely descended into what seems like the deepest abyss. Read more…

Hip-Hop Diary from Alexandria

RAPOLITICS has teamed up with Revolution Records from Egypt in order to boost the hip-hop scene in Alexandria by establishing a recording studio and a creative place for all raptivists and hip-hop youth. During the last 12 months, the team behind Revolution Records has been busy starting 16 Bar (a hip-hop radio station), recording mixtapes and tracks with upcomming rappers, performing at concerts and facilitating workshops in raptivism and graffiti. A big concert at the French Institute is the culmination of the BOOST project funded by the Danish Center for Culture and Development.  RAPOLITICS-coach and raptivist Pelle Møller from Denmark was invited to perform at the concert in Alexandria together with Revolution Records themselves and young raptivists from the 16 Bar Mixtape. This blog post is Pelle’s travel diary where he share his experiences in Alexandria with us. Read more…

Gaza: Graffiti Messages from the Heart

The guide books warn about going here. The Foreign Offices tells us that there is a high threat of terrorism. Don’t visit any part of the territory!, they say. And if you do, there is no ‘our man’ there to help you out. It is quite difficult to enter this part of world unless you are working for a NGO or are a journalist. Even for top politicians, entering can be quite a hurdle. Not more than a few weeks ago, the head of the Danish Parliament Mogens Lykketoft was going to visit the occupied territory. He was denied access by the Israelis. We are in Gaza, Palestine; the world’s biggest prison, as the locals like to call it. This is where the graffiti artist Mohammed Ayman is born and raised. Read more…

Rap is Invading the Egyptian Radio Waves

In the beginning of 2014, another important page was written for hip-hop music in the region when the first radio station entirely for Arab hip-hop music was launched.

When the Arab Spring began in December 2010, the entire world’s attention turned towards the Middle East. ’Revolution’ was on the lips of many in the region, and the tunes of change were in the air. While the nature of the political changes of the Arab Spring is yet to be determined, one thing is certain: Hip-hop music in the Arab world was not only a driver for the revolutions and revolts sweeping across the region, it has undergone a revolution itself and has blossomed to a whole new level. Read more…

Supporting Raptivists & Breaking Records in 2013

RAPOLITICS had an incredible year – our fifth one.

We were busy with 8 projects in Denmark and abroad. It was the year where we had the most visits from raptivists from around the world. The year with the greatest number of projects with an international dimension. The first year with our Egyptian partner Revolution Records. The year with our first photo exibition. The first time we made cyphers. The year with the most tracks recorded. We had our first major hip hop seminar supported by the EU. For the first time we produced teaching material for schools. We had for the first time ever visit from raptivists from Gaza. And it was the year where we visisted the most cities in Denmark. All and all, a year with great achievements for us! Read more…

I Rap to Break the Silence Inside Me

Meet Yukka. A 22 year old female rapper, self announced feminist and former law student from Egypt who’s been rapping about women’s rights, equality and the Egyptian revolution since 2011. Interesting, right? Read more…

RapLab: A Revolutionary Hip-Hop Training Camp

What do 35 rappers from Denmark, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine have in common? They all want to change the world through their music. Therefore, RAPOLITICS invited them to participate in the RapLab MENA-DK project where the goal was to create a musical manifest for the future and to exchange knowledge on cultural issues and raptivism during an intense nine day training camp. Read more…

The voice of Egyptian raptivists cannot be silenced

From the outside it looks like any other dusty brown building in Egypt. But when you get closer you see paint on the wall outside the building announcing that something interesting is happening on the second floor. If you dare to enter and climb the old rusty staircase you will find a hidden treasure. Behind tall doors there is an unexpected world: walls painted with all styles of graffiti; a studio with sound-isolated rooms and professional equipment for recording music; and training facilities for graffiti art and music production. Last but not least, you will find a place full of young hopeful rappers and artists. Read more…

Syria: Refugees Rapping for Social Change

The Syrian population are living in a war zone for more than two years, 80.000 people have already lost their lives – more than half of them civilians. According to the U.N., more than 4 million Syrians have fled their homes and have escaped Syria to live a life as refugees on the run. Read more…

Politics, Raptivism & Palestinian Unit

Palestinian Units two months in Denmark were filled with politics and raptivism. Ayman and Khaled from Gaza travelled around the country to 17 cities where they engaged with 3.000+ youth spread over 46 events. Quite impressive pace, right? Read more…

Wrapping the Rap in Gaza

Back in 2011 Khaled was working on a mixtape containing 23 minutes of ‘pure political shit’ with a great number of underground rappers in the Middle East. When Khaled’s contribution to the mixtape was ready, the studio refused to let Khaled record it.

“I rewrote it in the studio five times, because the studio refused to record the verse. If we recorded the verse we would be in a bigger trouble, because it was directly against the government without metaphors,” Khaled explains. Khaled’s verse ended up being more metaphorical after the rewritings. Read more…

A Month with Palestinian Unit from Gaza

Ayman and Khaled from Palestinian Unit (Gaza) have been here in Denmark for one month and:

  • visited Århus, Odense, Gentofte, Avedøre, Birkerød, Ikast, Hellerup, Husum and Copenhagen
  • faciliated, participated in and performed at 13 workshops in schools, high schools and universities
  • worked with 300+ Danish youth with our RAPOLITICS-coaches
  • performed for 500+ youth
  • recorded a track with Danish rappers
  • reached out to a even greater number of people through radio, tv and web Read more…

Rap in the Veins

The 14th of January 2009 four Israeli missiles stroke the place where Ayman lived with his family in Gaza. Ayman was in his room and did not get injured, but the attack killed his father and left his brother seriously wounded. Two days after the attack, on Ayman’s birthday, his father was buried. Read more…

Political rap: “I rap about the things I believe I can change”

She had this happy, playful little smile, red curly hair and earrings in rasta colours. I met Safaa at a RAPOLITICS workshop in Copenhagen in early September related to the project Tomorrow Today. Her lightness both contrasts and confirms her personality as a Palestinian female rapper who acts politically in her own way. Read more…

Palestinian Female Rapper back in Denmark

Safeya Hathot aka Safaa 3arapeye was born and raised in Palestine. Safaa began to rap as a 15-year-old. She couldn’t get her parents’ permission to hang out with the other rappers because they all were boys, but luckily she found another girl to rap with. Since then, she has enjoyed the full support of her parents, who like many in Palestine have discovered Safaa’s talent for rhythm and poetry. Read more…

Tiny Hip Hop Enthusiasts in Cambodian Suburbs

By first glance KK and Shhort seems, with their gang tattoos, mostly like somebody you would prefer not meeting in a dark alley alone. Nevertheless they are two very ambitious guys with a lot of passion for what they do. When I first visited Tiny Toones, I immediately fell in love with the place. Read more…

Shootings in Sierrra Leone!

This year Sierra Leone launched its first international film festival. I was in Freetown to participate in the festival and meet two young filmmakers from the Media Center WeOwnTv that are invited to facilitate pocket film workshops in Denmark later this year. Read more…

Rapping the Truth in Vietnam

Hip-hop has historically been known as the voice of the oppressed and as a revolutionary tool. So, how is hip-hop thriving in a country where so much is done to keep the voice of the people oppressed and the chance of a possible revolution down? Read more…

Where is the Rap Revolution in Jordan?

Try to google “Arab Spring and revolutionary rap” and you will notice two things. First, an enormous amount of articles will appear, many of them asking questions such as “Is Hip Hop Driving the Arab Spring?”  and “How Has the Arab Spring Changed Arabic Hip Hop?” Both very interesting articles by the way, so follow the links and read them after finishing reading this post. Second, you will notice that RAPOLITICS’ upcoming project with rappers from Egypt has surprisingly conquered the second highest google-placement – not bad, right? Read more…