The Boy with the Arab Rap
December 17, 2010 5:19 AM   Subscribe

Looking for some musical recommendations. Hip hop, dance or other modern genres of music from the Middle East/Africa.

I've had a look through Ask Metafilter of old and there are a few suggestions I've made note of already but what I'm ideally looking for is hip hop, dance or other "modern" genres of music, preferably with an African/Afrobeat/Middle Eastern flair, using instruments and languages from the region.

I'd prefer hip hop and so forth as I'm really interested in seeing how the lyrical flow changes when using languages other than English but I'm open to anything really, so if you've got the name of an awesome Lebanese rap/metal band tucked away somewhere then let me know.

I'm interested in all sorts of stuff no matter how obscure but preferably that which I can sample before I go out and buy.

Thanks in advance folks!
posted by longbaugh to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You might check out Dam, a hip-hop group from Palestine that raps in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. You might also check out the documentary Slingshot Hip-Hop.
posted by proj at 5:33 AM on December 17, 2010

I got turned on to Cheb Khaled from a song, Minuit, he had on the Good Thief soundtrack. He is Algerian and I'm not sure if you'd classify it as hip-hop but that song has a rhythym that is unbeatable.
posted by JJ86 at 5:54 AM on December 17, 2010

Channels of Rage is an excellent documentary about an Israeli rapper and an Arab rapper. It was made in 2003 so politics are a bit different now.

Shabak Samech is usually credited as the first Israeli hip hop group, having started as a rock band. Their lyrics aren't socially conscious or anything, they're a party band, influenced by early Beastie Boys. They only rap in Hebrew. Their website is in Hebrew, but here's the link to their video section:

The Wikipedia article on Israeli hip hop is a little wonky, but you can view it here to get some artist recommendations: Israeli Hip Hop
posted by juniperesque at 5:55 AM on December 17, 2010

Boukman Eksperyans - a Haitian band, but they have a very African feel to their music.
Revolution is their best album.
One of my favorites is Sevelen.
I also like Imamou Lele
posted by Flood at 6:03 AM on December 17, 2010

Check out the Buraka Son System Essential Mix
posted by empath at 6:13 AM on December 17, 2010

Check out the soundtrack from the South African movie Tsotsi. This is my favorite song off of that.

This channel on Youtube has some Ugandan rap and links to a whole bunch of other stuff.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:18 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you heard of Mashrou3 Leila? [youtube - facebook [sorry]]

Not rap/hip hop but they're probably the "it" band in Lebanon right now.

- Soap Kills [now disbanded awesome Lebanese trip-hop]
- Fareeq el Atrash [this is probably more in line with what you're asking for]
- Zeid and the Wings
- Rayyes Bek [Lebanese rap]
- Ashekman [Lebanese rap]

I'm not into rap myself, so I can't give an opinion about the last two, but they do get mentioned here by people who like this kind of stuff...

There's also a website, Lebanese Underground, that might be useful [the site is rather craptastic but it should point out some decent groups for you to check up on]
posted by xqwzts at 6:56 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some of the Saharan music I posted about a few days ago has quite a bit of hip hop. Song 13 on Music from Saharan Cellphones vol. 1, songs 3 and 10 on Music from Saharan Cellphones vol. 2. There are other songs which are hip hop influenced, and at least one rap in French.
posted by Kattullus at 7:38 AM on December 17, 2010

Response by poster: I just wanted to pop in and say that I am at work right this moment so will be able to give these a listen later tonight (UK time) and then start marking best answers. Nonetheless I appreciate all the suggestions so far folks - thanks again.
posted by longbaugh at 7:56 AM on December 17, 2010

Best answer: K'naan is the obvious choice here - Somalian hip-hop via Toronto. He also did some collaborations with Amadou & Mariam, who are not hip-hop but might interest you.

If you like Afrobeat, you might want to start with K'naan and J.Period's "mixtape" tribute to Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan.
posted by Sara C. at 8:44 AM on December 17, 2010

Best answer: This is my favorite song off of that.

Oh yeah, that song rocks. If you like that, you want to search for "kwaito"; it's South African house-influenced hip-hop. (Here's a more recent track, by Big Nuz.)

Other suggestions:
- Mokobé (Malian/French - that link takes a little while to get going, so skip ahead)
- Wanlov the Kubolor (Ghanaian/Romanian - that track is all English, but he does other stuff in other languages)
- General Ozzy (Zambian)

You might also check out this mix of Nigerian hip-hop. And I'll second K'naan and J.Period's "The Messengers" too.
posted by asterix at 10:51 PM on December 17, 2010

There was a pretty good collection of SAfrican house out earlier this year, Ayobaness. This and this are probably my favourite tracks off it. This track by Mujava isn't on it, but is in the same kind of region and also amazing.
posted by Dim Siawns at 6:48 AM on December 19, 2010

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