Listen to "Ramallah Underground" Listen to "Beit" Listen to "I'm Not Your Prisoner" Listen to "As Salam 3alikum" Listen to "Talakat" Just reupped the 24-track album here.
Hyperbolic as it may sound, Arabic rap and hip-hop has had a significant place in the series of uprisings that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East since December 2010. Considering that what we in the west sometimes like to call the "Arab Spring" is predominantly a youth movement, it makes sense. Despite the not-coincidentally alliterative title of this mix, not every track I've chosen to include has a relationship to the "revolution," as it were. (Lebanese rapper Rayess Bek's "3al 2anoune 3al2anine," for instance, was recorded a decade ago.) But all of the tracks are, in some way, shape or form "revolutionary" -- for their content, their sound, their innovation. Nearly half of the tracks feature a female artist. Here's the moment where I'm tempted to make reference to my country's seemingly inexorable movement toward war in Syria, relating that to this music (and, by association, the people who made it) ... but there really is no real relationship and, frankly, I don't know, exactly, what to say. We tend -- as a culture, a country, a political player on the world's stage -- to speak too often for others. We need to learn how to listen.