You never know what to expect from London: once you think that you’re used to the city it throws up some real surprises. This usually happens when the city broadens its horizons to embrace previously hidden cultural expressions, and the event at 229 was just one of those.
The first in the series of The Case of Arabic Hip Hop revealed some of the most intense underground beats to resonate throughout the Middle Eastern hip hop scene. Presented by MARSM UK and supported by The Arab British Centre and Alaraby TV, the opening event housed in the North London venue hosted a pack of committed maverick artists from the South Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Together they represent some of the finest rhymers the region can offer, because alongside their appealing beats and rhythms they also give voice to some politically aware lyrics.
Their grooves and cadenced verses were forged on the streets of Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution, or reflect the Palestinian troubles past, present and future. They deconstruct hard-to-eradicate misconceptions that surround Arab culture, and they also portray a topical reality that concerns everyone.
That’s how the incendiary words thrown by Zap Tharwat, ‘musical intifada’ incited by Shadia Mansour and a thoughtful identity offensive triggered by Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman collude to generate a broader cultural discourse aimed at global integration.
The organisers went a stage further bydrawing in some thought-provoking exponents of the London scene too. DJ Snuff, Crazy Haze MC and El Far3i from 47Soul heated up their mics and unleashed their turntables to show that London is also on hand to speak out and be heard. If what went on on stage at 229 was just the preliminary hearing for ‘The Case of Arabic Hip Hop’, then we’re more than willing to be members of the jury for the rest of the process.
Images Supplied by: MARSM
Photos Credits: (c) Larissa Alves