Hip hop is a world wide phenomenon, and while it may not be as obvious as it is considering the immensity of the internet, the genre has planted seeds even in the most unlikely of places. After the political upheavals in the Arab Spring have opened up a lot of unturned rocks in the culture and politics of the Middle East, Egyptian hip hop emerged and was developed into an independent scene. Check out our list of the most notable Egyptian artists today and get to know their music. Expand your musical vocabulary and discover how these artists express themselves.
10. Wara2a b-100
Wara2a b-100 (directly translated as the 100 Egyptian pound bank note) is a three-piece hip hop crew hailing from Alexandria City. The group is unabashedly political in its musical direction, and is often confrontational in their lyrical attitude. Their song “Tamarod” which means ‘rebel’ is an outright campaign against President Morsi and is calling for early elections. Because of the ferocity of their songs, the group has garnered a large cult following and is popular in political demonstrations and underground concerts.
9. F Killa
Known for his aggressive, direct to the point and outright provocative lyrics, F Killa is recognized today to be one of the most prolific and talented hip hop rappers that have emerged in the revolutions of the Arab Spring. F Killa’s lyrics attempts to put an edge to the usually satirical lyrics of contemporary Egyptian hip hop. Although his hardcore songs are subject to much controversy, his presence in the Egyptian scene is considered by many as an interesting addition to the movement.
8. Deeb (El Deeb)
Deeb was formerly a member of Asfalt. On 2007, he left the group and formed Wighit Nazar which he formed with Mohammed Yasser. The group achieved mainstream recognition until 2010 when Deeb decided to pursue his solo carreer. Deeb is best known for his soulful and intelligent lyrics which goes beyond mere sloganeering and parodying. His solo works often feature collaborations with other hip hop artists of his generation and he is currently part of the brewing hip hop movement in Cairo.
7. Y Crew Family (eL Tofan)
Y Crew Family was formed in 2005 that gained prominence in the underground Egyptian hip hop scene. They are currently based in the city of Alexandria. Their group was formed after an spontaneous session with German group Blumentopf. Led by group leader Yassin, the six members of the group delivered a tight performance in front of a large German audience. The success of the performance gained them a huge following in hometown Egypt and everything went upwards from thereon out.
Formed in 2005, Asfalt is a hip hop group that creates songs for normal people as their audience. Represented by two emcees Farouk and Mohamed Gad, Asfalt is focused on delivering positive rhymes, trying to go beyond materialist and negative topics. Their songs frequently feature artists such as Ame, Mohamed El Deeb and the Arabian Knightz.
5. MTM (Mikey, Taki and Mado)
MTM is the first hip hop group that emerged from the underground to the mainstream. They first introduced quality production with Egyptian sensibilities to the scene. They are known for their songs “My Phone is Ringing” and “A Word I Never Said.” Until today, its members are active in keeping the Egyptian hip hop scene alive through an umbrella group called Egyptian Hip Hop Union.
4. Ahmed Amin (MC Amin/ El- General)
Ahmed Amin, more popularly known in his stage names MC Amin and El- General, was born in Mansoura City. After releasing four volumes of albums, his popularity expanded outside Egypt because of his affiliation with the most influential hip hop groups of the time such as the Arabian Knightz.
3. Shaaban Abdel-Rehim
Shaaban is perhaps the epitome of Egyptian proto-hip hop. Shaaban came from humble beginnings as an ironing man until his satirical songs became popular. His most popular song, “I Hate Israel” was both a controversial and radical statement, bringing Egyptian ghetto culture to the mainstream and paving the way for the development of a home-grown hip hop culture.
2. Rush (Karim Essa)
Karim Essa, also known as Rush, is one of the first and most important figures of Egyptian hip hop. At the heights of the Arab Spring, he was one of its most vocal and iconic voices in the scene. Rush is also credited for popularizing Egyptian hip hop in the Middle Eastern region and also internationally. He is co-founder of one of the most successful Egyptian hip hop groups, the Arabian Knightz with co-members Sphinx and E-Money and is highly respected for his political lyrics and unrelenting rapping style.
1. Arabian Knightz
Arabian Knightz is perhaps the biggest name in Egyptian hip hop right now. With constant collaborations enlivening the scene, blistering socially conscious lyrics and interesting beats that mix Western sounds with a flair for Egyptian musical tradition, Arabian Knightz has elevated Egyptian hip hop from being a mere copy-cat of a Western trend into an authentic and respectable brand of its own.
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