Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Most Intellectual Rap Album "Khat Thaleth", A Tour Through Arabia In The Wake Of The Revolutions

Link To Download Album 
If you wanted to hear a smart and sophisticated political analyses delivered via touching rap songs, then this is the album you cannot miss on. This is the mature album where buyer's remorse are loudly expressed on the Arab Spring and the politicians who are making a killing off it. Palestine is in the center stage but other Arab countries where revolutions are brewing are featured.

While the political weight of hip-hop may have waned and become overrun by commercialization in many parts of the world, over the past two years certain areas throughout the Arab world have witnessed a new wave of politically committed rap. This album is about goring up so much since 2011, the demands of Arab street has not changed much, but politicians have. They have learned that dictators recycle themselves through the revolving door. Luckily, the album is for those who have had enough and are just pure cynical about anything they hear.

With diverse and technical lyricism, eclectic productions and an active listenership, artists have aptly assimilated the art-form and made it their own; picking up microphones as their weapons of choice, supporting, criticizing and, in some cases, actively participating in the Arab revolutions. This a curated album by some of the most prolific artists in this genre.

Following last year’s critically-acclaimed release of Stronghold Sound’s, Sembeh Ma Fa Fe, a landmark compilation of Guinean hip-hop and reggae, the San Francisco-based label continued on to Beirut, Lebanon, where Syrian-American producer, dub Snakkr (Munaqresh) has been based for the past 2 years. With the objective of putting together a new compilation, dub Snakkr connected with some of the most interesting and representative acts in the Arab hip-hop underground.

Khat Thaleth, Third Line: Initiative for the Elevation of Public Awareness is a comprehensive 23-track compilation that covers a wide spectrum of this new wave of conscious rap and features artists from diverse scenes like Palestine, Tunisia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. The title, “Khat Thaleth”, refers to a third train rail or track, a metaphor for a third way of looking at the polarized political context in the region, as well as a reference to the "hijaz" railroad that used to connect much of the Arab world. Artists team-up, in most cases from different regions and countries, to deliver critical blows to the various political systems in place, and offer sharp social commentary as well as sober realities currently being faced on the ground.

The immense relevance of the unprecedented Khat Thaleth compilation in the Middle East is not only limited to the politically charged content of the verses (full English translations of the lyrics are available online). Artistically, the album also provides us with a glimpse into the avant-garde of some of the most musically adventurous artists and producers in current Arab rap, who smoothly mix their lessons learned from American golden age rap luminaries with their very own folk traditions creating a completely new school of lyricism and production.

I cheer on this album that brings out some of the finest musical styles form all over the world to celebrate a universal message of freedom. I love the very Syrian rap, about the revolution and murder in that country, there are no wrong or right when it comes to Syria--there are only chaos for all involved. The 23 tracks are a delightful tour of all what's hip and relevant in Arab rap. I adore the mixing and layering of the tracks, this is an album made on the highest professional standards by people who take their rap and their messages seriously.

Sometimes I think political science professors would make intellectual rappers, this is how their work would sound had they wrote this album. Frankly, the album captures the pulse of the Arab street to the best one could. America has at least one rapper who make such songs here, Lupe Fiasco. Now we can boast about artists from Arabs with similar political and musical chops.

As for the substance, the album is never too shy from discussing any controversial or polarizing policies or groups--they are an equal-opportunity critics.

Link To Download Album On iTunes!


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