Thanks to Zahir‘s link to a Palestinian rap site, I came across the the group Dam ("blood" in Arabic) and their thought-provoking anthem, "Meen Irhabi?" (Who’s the terrorist?). To watch it, click the link at the bottom of this page (the video helpfully includes English subtitles).
Given its origins as a voice for the downtrodden and marginalized and the fact that young people everywhere are basically forced to see the world through American eyes, it should come as no surprise that some young Palestinians should be turning to rap as a way of expressing their frustrations.
One line was particularly poignant: "I’m not against peace–peace is against me." Indeed.
I was intially tempted to quip that were he alive today the revolutionary Frantz Fanon would be a rapper, but with contemporary hip-hop’s slavish reliance on cheesy formulas and its utter cooption and dessication by the Man and the Big Business today, I’m not so sure.
There are always notable exceptions to such generalizations, but I suspect that hip-hop’s days as a vehicle for social change, serious political activism, or even artistic expression are probably over, at least in America. (In fact, I often find foreign hip-hop–e.g., French rap– far more stimulating, creative and true to the genre’s esthetic, political and philosophical roots. In its birthplace and ostensible heartland, hip-hop has become a tiresome parody of itself.)
Perhaps serious hip-hop fans should be busy studying Spanish or Mandarin…