Arabs rap to a different beat

The Arab world is finally seeing the birth of its own rap music in a culture where youth often struggle to be heard, an Egyptian rapper said on Sunday.

    The music awards attracted the Arab world's biggest stars

    "Now there are a lot of people doing Arab rap who didn't

    feel before that they had much of a chance," said Takki of

    Egyptian rap stars MTM.

    Youth are often bound by strict conventions set by the older

    generation in the Arab region, where a United Nation's Arab

    Human Development Report has said that "ageism"

    is one of several problems.

    Takki was speaking on the sidelines of the first Arabian

    Music Awards in Dubai, where MTM won the prize for best modern

    Arabic act. The public vote for the rap band runs counter to

    media criticism of rap music as a harmful Western import.

    Harmful western influence?

    "The best thing about rap is that it is a form of music that

    criticises, so it discusses the issues of young people," he said

    .

    "It (rap) is really close to young people because it speaks their

    language and it speaks about their real-life problems and social

    life from their point of view. We really needed this in the Arab

    world"

    Takki,
    Egyptian rap star

    "It's really close to young people because it speaks their

    language and it speaks about their real-life problems and social

    life from their point of view. We really needed this in the Arab

    world."

    Police in Egypt have arrested heavy metal fans on suspicion of

    "devil worshipping" in several notorious cases over the past

    decade.

    Unlike the West, where rap bands have been around for more

    than a decade, the edgy music is a relatively new phenomenon in

    the Arab region. And so far, performers have avoided the strong

    language and swear-words common in American and British hits.

    Strong language

    Songs have mainly dealt with social issues through humour,

    rather than politics - a thorny issue in the largely autocratic

    Arab region.

    MTM scored a huge hit in 2003 with a song called 'Ummi

    Musafra' (My Mother's Away) about a teenager who holds a dance

    party when his mother goes away on holiday. But in the videoclip

    she comes back early and crashes the proceedings.

    So far, MTM is the biggest and most well-known rap group but

    there are a few other bands, hailing mainly from more culturally

    liberal countries such as Lebanon and Morocco.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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