NY Times “Rapping in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic”

Today the NY Times wrote about the new movement of Semitic rappers, our brothers, sisters and cousins who rap in Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic. Through Shemspeed‘s Hip Hop Sulha , artists such as Y-Love & Diwon have played with many Palestinian groups such as Saz and Dam who are listed below. The Hip Hop Sulha reinvents the concept of the traditional Arab sulha (reconciliation) by bringing leading Jewish and Muslim hip-hop musicians together to celebrate peace and religious tolerance via the performing arts. The Arab Muslims and Arab Jews as well as Israelis and Palestinians as people have historically more in common then they do that separates them. The conflict is complex and dividing, but the hope for peace is strong and Shemspeed uses the power of art and music to communicate across the lines, that on the surface are dividing our people, even if we do not all agree on a lot of different issues, it’s about fostering real relationships with people on all sides. Families are made up of people that do not agree on a lot when it comes to issues and politics, but they still have love for each other and we see One World, One People, One G-d. While Shemspeed’s artists have conflicting political opinions, especially when it comes to the middle east, our hope with each other and people around the globe is to build bridges based on our shared humanity and quest for peace.

Click to see below to check out the NY Times post.

On Wednesday, The Lede suggested that a viral video of Israeli soldiers dancing to an American pop hit while on patrol in the West Bank was a reminder that while the war of ideas in the Middle East might have ancient roots, it is often waged by young people more interested in contemporary youth culture than age-old texts.

One example of that from the Palestinian side was a West Bank protest in February in which opponents of Israel’s security barrier dressed up as characters from the movie “Avatar.” Above is another example, in the form of a report posted on the Web site VJ Movement this week on Palestinian rappers living in Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Israel produced by Don Duncan, an Irish journalist based in a Beirut.

The report includes footage from this music video by the Israeli Arab hip-hop trio Dam, for a song called “Born Here,” which has garnered more than half a million views on YouTube.

Dam’s lyrics combine Arabic and Hebrew rhymes, and the group’s name is a word that means “eternity” in Arabic and “blood” in Hebrew.

In an article about a New York performance by Dam in 2005, The Times’s Shahdi Rahmi explained that they are from Lod, “an impoverished Israeli town of Palestinian and Jewish residents. The group, influenced by rappers like Public Enemy, KRS-One and the late Tupac Shakur, performs songs that address the obstacles faced by Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, including poverty and discrimination.” One member of the crew, Tamer Nafar, told The Times, “We are Israelis and we are Arabs, and we don’t belong anywhere.”

The new VJ Movement report also includes footage from a documentary called “Life From the BBC” about the members of I-Voice, who live in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut.

A trailer for that documentary is on YouTube, as is this music video from the group (and an English translation of its lyrics):

Of course there is also a Jewish hip-hop culture in Israel and in other countries, as The Lede noted in a previous post about an “Israeli remix of the keffiyeh,” the traditionally Palestinian scarf an American-Israeli D.J. named Erez Safar sells through his Web site Shemspeed, which is “devoted to world Jewish music.”

Mr. Safar, who performs under the stage name Diwon, was joined last month in Montreal by an Orthodox musician named Y-Love, who rapped in Aramaic to a Lady Gaga tune:

On his Web site, Mr. Safar wrote that he hoped to use music and fashion, including a Jewish version of the keffiyah, to “create global awareness of Jewish cultural pride, and showcase the diversity that exists in our community.” Here is an ad for the keffiyeh featuring two more Jewish-American rappers, DeScribe and Remedy:

original article, here.

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