With Egypt currently in the midst of a civil unrest with thousands of youth in the streets to protest President Hosni Mubarak's government, the country's Hip Hop artists are playing their part in the movement.
Rush, a member of Cairo-based Rap outfit Arabian Knightz, took to Facebook to send a message shortly before Egyptian authorities shut down the Internet and phone lines in the country. “Certain indie artists have already released songs against the oppression and those songs were used on video campaigns [of the Jan. 25 march], called the “Day of Anger,” Rush wrote. “Some of us went down to the streets to take part on the 25th. And some of us are now in the studios doing tracks about it to make sure peoples fire of revolution doesn't get put out by fear.”
It has been widely reported that that the current round of protests in Egypt were are coming driven by angry youth who have organized using social media sites such as Facebook. Information about the demonstrations spread through Twitter, as well.
“We want a change,” Rush wrote. “They can't oppress us and torture us and prevent our freedom of speech forever … We want a new system and new laws. The president has to only be allowed two [terms] like the United States [president] and then he has to leave.”
The Arabian Knightz have a Detroit-based champion in Steve Furay, founder of Common Breath Media, an online web magazine dedicated to Hip Hop culture, community activism and global rights. As co-CEO of Arab League Records, the recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism’s masters program gave HipHopDX his perspective on why Arab League Records matters.
“Arab League Records represents a Hip Hop movement for the people in Egypt,” he said. “For too long the young people of the United States have existed without a real connection to individuals from Egypt and that part of the world outside of the corporate media’s portrayal of them, through the music we can break through those old stereotypes and build lasting relationships with the goal of peace.”
Los Angeles-based producer Fredwreck, who has worked with Kurupt and Snoop Dogg, in recent years had made inroads with artists in the Middle East. Furay credits him for supporting the movement.
“Fredwreck has been an important connection for Arabian Knightz to make because he brings so much knowledge of the music, both from a Hip Hop perspective because of his history working with different artists, and also as a musician who can help push the sound,” Furay said. Our goal has always been to produce the best music for the people, making sure the right love and spirit is behind it, and with that foundation we can blend cultures with the sound.”
The Arabian Knightz upcoming album Uknighted State of Arabia will feature distinct live instruments, Furay said. For more information about the Arabian Knightz, visit Myspace.com/ArabianKnightz.