The Post-Postmodernism Issue

Palestinian Rapperz

Some fight with guns, others with art and culture.
Palestinian Rapperz, photo from MySpace

Hip-hop was born of resistance. From its origins in the Bronx to police brutality in Compton, to shantytown riots in Haiti, hip-hop has long been the voice of the oppressed. And though mainstream American hip-hop may have largely degenerated to a celebration of expensive liquor and luxury cars, a new generation of Palestinian rappers are wielding words as they were intended: as weapons against violence, oppression and sweeping social injustice. I chatted with Mohammed Al-Farra, of the Gaza-based Palestinian Rapperz, about being on the frontlines of this new cultural resistance.

– Anthony Farfalla

“I’ve been listening to hip-hop since I was a kid in Gaza. Biggie, 2Pac, Mobb Deep, you know, real hip-hop. I could relate to it more than other kinds of music because conditions were the same in Gaza. So I used this music to talk about the life I was living. People looked at us differently when we started, but they eventually supported us because we were rapping about real life, street life.

A lot of people in my country are against hip-hop. Because of the closed borders, people don’t really know about the outside world. When we brought rap music to Gaza, they thought we were trying to be American or change the Palestinian culture. But that wasn’t the point. We were using the same weapon that African-Americans were using to talk about their lives. I’m not saying that a lot of people love our music, but most support it.

My goal is to represent Gaza and to inform people about the lives we live. We rap about what we see in the streets, about borders and curfews and how people can’t get to work. We rap about freedom. I live in the hood, where people get killed or injured or shot – and I’m one of them. But I didn’t get shot because of gangs or drugs; I got shot because I was fighting for my freedom as a Palestinian living under the occupation. The conditions here make us who we are. They have made me the kind of rapper I am.

When it comes to the issue of violent resistance, for me violence is only going to bring more violence. There are people who fight with guns – if someone kills your cousin, people understand why you would want justice – but then there are people who fight with art and culture. Everybody has their own way to resist, and I am one of the people who use words to fight the occupation. People get sick of violence – of people dying and helicopters shooting at them. They want something else, and music is a good option because you can enjoy it. People need joy.

Is there a solution for the conflict in Palestine? More than looking for a solution, the goal is for two people to live in one house. You have to respect each other; you can’t just take something without permission.

I don’t support any group. I support Palestine. Hamas is a product of the occupation. If there were no occupation, there would be no Hamas.

I am a Palestinian. Nothing else. I just want peace.”

22 comments on the article “Palestinian Rapperz”

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cell38

makes complete sense;
He should write a tutorial and forward it to every mainstream media so called "hip hop" artist

Oh ya I dont like FishSticks Kayne...

cell38

makes complete sense;
He should write a tutorial and forward it to every mainstream media so called "hip hop" artist

Oh ya I dont like FishSticks Kayne...

ken vallario

i like the peaceful message, would love to hear their music, i love hip hop...i wrote an essay on eminem comparing him the philosopher leo strauss...check it yo:

http://www.kenvallario.com/Site/PersecutionRhyming.html

ken vallario

i like the peaceful message, would love to hear their music, i love hip hop...i wrote an essay on eminem comparing him the philosopher leo strauss...check it yo:

http://www.kenvallario.com/Site/PersecutionRhyming.html

Anonymous

love what he said about learning to live in the same house but it's bullshit there'd be no hamas without an occupation, maybe by another name, but extremism and fundamentalism happen everywhere, regardless of occupation

Anonymous

love what he said about learning to live in the same house but it's bullshit there'd be no hamas without an occupation, maybe by another name, but extremism and fundamentalism happen everywhere, regardless of occupation

Anonymous

wow interesting, i find it is an interesting article and it is so true, hip hop today was given a bad image, by focusing on ideas of sex and drugs but this is not the point of hip hop, hip hop is about having a voice, to talk about things that no other people dare to talk about. I think that this is why it is not really sang, rather it is talked, as the things they are saying are deep, they confront their audience with their speech, this is real hip hop. and this is the kind that should be shown to wider audiences. I would love to see guys like that perform for the government and see how they feel when they see and hear the words they say. I think hip hop is a very effective form of activism actually and should be used in that way to raise people's awareness more often.

Anonymous

wow interesting, i find it is an interesting article and it is so true, hip hop today was given a bad image, by focusing on ideas of sex and drugs but this is not the point of hip hop, hip hop is about having a voice, to talk about things that no other people dare to talk about. I think that this is why it is not really sang, rather it is talked, as the things they are saying are deep, they confront their audience with their speech, this is real hip hop. and this is the kind that should be shown to wider audiences. I would love to see guys like that perform for the government and see how they feel when they see and hear the words they say. I think hip hop is a very effective form of activism actually and should be used in that way to raise people's awareness more often.

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