Lebanese hip hop
Lebanese hip hop is a pioneering movement in Arabic hip hop as Lebanese youth were among the first to be affected by hip hop culture. Arabic hip hop has received Western media attention, but most Lebanese rappers think that there is still a lack of local interest in their music.Hip-hop in Lebanon is both an art form and a theatre for artists to voice their alternative discourse in the public sphere. In a political and social environment where factors such as religion, family, and political affiliation tend to divide communities, hip-hop enables artists to forge unique identities and promote conversation in the community.
The hip hop culture is grounded in African American oral tradition, but, as communities around the world tend to do, the Lebanese hip hop scene is accommodated to the local context. According to member of local hip-hop band Fareeq el Atrash,
"[hip-hop] always existed in our traditions but we never paid attention to it. It’s a modern style of poetry – hip-hop… It’s not about forming a hip hop culture in Lebanon, it exists in Zajal and Atabah… hip hop already existed in Lebanon." – MC Edd
Atabah is a form of improvised Arabic poetry that uses the lyrical nature of the Arabic language in its performance.
The music underneath the lyrical portion of songs in Lebanese hip-hop varies widely. African drumming is prevalent, along with the sound of bombshells and other street noises. Lebanese rapper Rayess Bek even includes a full orchestra with traditional instruments like the [oud] and [nay] in a recent album Other influences include swing, jazz, reggae, and acoustic guitar tapping.
There are several current/former Lebanese hip-hop artists and groups.
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- ”Scratch the Past – this is OUR Soundtrack” Angie Nassar, Arab Youth, Nov 19, 2012.