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mic check! Brother Ali

HIP-HOP Culture

A diamond in the rough

by Hass Dennaoui

Beating Poetry




Contents FEATURE Hip Hop Culture | A diamond in the rough



mic check! Brother Ali

HIP-HOP Culture

A diamond in the rough

by Hass Dennaoui

Beating Poetry

FEATURE DJ Lethal Skillz MIC CHECK Brother Ali: The Undisputed Truth Teller Top 5 Tunes on my Headphones


Local Flava’ Q&A | Moh Flow Local Flava’ Existence is Resistance Movember at PAUL TOP 5 TUNES ON MY HEADPHONES


SPOT.F.Y.I El Seed Beating Poetry Suhair Hammad

re-volt magazine is a new platform under the same roof as re-volt blog, which initially started as a space where views on mainstream music can be openly discussed, where the music industry is put on the stand and criticized and lastly, where underground, talented and unrepresented artists are given a chance to stand out. Our main focus is to expose hip hop as a positive genre and detach it from the corrupted mainstream hip hop. Initiating a magazine will benefit this message as re-volt magazine will reach more readers worldwide and will enlighten people on the power of the word and the role of hip hop in the Arab region. The culture of hip hop consists of four elements - MC, BBoy, Graffiti, DJ - which enrich its capability in transmitting the same message in diverse mediums.

A mic, a choreography, a spraypaint can or a vinyl record. We choose all the above, added to it the power of the pen to inform, to represent and to stay real! EDITOR HASSANE DENNAOUI ASSOCIATE EDITOR | GRAPHIC DESIGNER Hanane FATHALLAH CONTRIBUTORS If you are interested in writting for re-volt magazine, email us at Article topics mainly revolve around the culture of hip hop. Essays, reviews and interviews are also valid.








hiphop culture A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH


ulture is a powerful tool that defines humanity. It is a fragile phenomenon, as it does not remain constant. Always apt to change, cultural patterns are continuously evolving into products of people interacting with each other and into universal changes - politically, socially and economically. The youth is the most affected demographic division as it is the future of the next century. We are not exactly living in a problem-free world; therefore shouts, revolutions, and demands are the youth›s main motto. The right to live in decent circumstances summarizes the peoples goal. What sort of medium enables them to convey their emotional bruises? The principal means of expression is music, through leavingnothing-implied lyrics. Essentially, Hip Hop is an intelligent music genre and movement, charged with truth, reality and freedom. Intoxicated by the mainstream money making rappers, Underground Hip Hop has managed to rise and reflect its true essence and purpose.


Hip Hop is a culture and form of ground breaking music and expression. Hip means «to know» and «to be aware and updated». Hop stands for «to move» and «to act upon». Basically, it is an intelligent movement and we can also call it a conscious movement. The so-called Hip Hop we listen to on the radio has polluted the true essence and purpose of ‹real› Hip Hop. Money-oriented acts, thirstyfor-publicity ‹artists›, ridiculous lyrics and no real flair. Hip Hop was based on lyrical prowess and was created upon four elements: The MC, The DJ, The B-Boy, and the Graffiti Artist

These parameters have faded away and have almost gone extinct in the mainstream music industry. Although these elements give Hip Hop its character and reputation, popular artists tend to choose the money and corruption path. Why Hip Hop? Still we ask ourselves, how is our world today? While there are crucial issues jeopardizing humanity, some are singing about money, “bling-bling” women, cars, clubbing, and about more explicit matters such as sex, drugs and violence. No offense to every-now-and-then little fun but Hip Hop›s main purpose is to deliver awareness not foolishness and vulgarity. The rise of a new era for Hip Hop is paving the way of the neglected youth towards freedom.

The revamped version of Hip Hop embraces all ethnicities and all social status; it is in fact a universal means of expression, translating true life’s struggles and experiences into poetry. The underground scene avoids the mainstream, which constrains the outbreak of the ugly truths surrounding the world. The artists of the new era exercise their right of freedom of speech and excel in transmitting important issues through deep meaningful lyrics and ear-catching beats. To portray this point, Hip Hop was used in the recent Arab revolutions, which took place in Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, to convey the youth’s message. Moreover, there were some tracks that were done in collaboration with

and issues that need immediate attention and they hold within the faith in change. Positivity and reality in revolutionary acts give confidence to the crowds. Going back to the main question “Laish Hip Hop?” (“Why Hip Hop?”). It is the name of the first real Hip Hop show on a FM Radio Station in Saudi Arabia. Hasaane Dennaoui, a.k.a Big Hass, is the show host of this ground-breaking unique show. There is no doubt that breaching the mainstream in this manner threatens its fake stability. Underground Hip Hop is revolting in words and in actions. It is only a matter of time for it to shed enough light on the issues of the world and for people to really listen.

1. Artists of the Arabic Hip Hop Movement: Shadia Mansour | The Narcicyst | Omar Offendum | Lowkey

Proof of this new age are underground artists with revolting, solid and intelligent lyrics such as - from the Arabic Hip Hop Movement (fig. 1) Shadia Mansour, The Narcicyst, Omar Offendum & LOWKEY They are gliding against the thickness of the loud and frivolous mainstream industry. Political corruption, social decay, economical demise and humanitarian neglect are agents to causing the world to shake out of its shell and revolt against the system.

Western artists. This could imply the awakening of the West and its concern and support towards the broken sides of the Arab World. Let’s not forget that Hip Hop has planted its seed all over the world, no exceptions. Individuals with power to influence and highlevel of intellect and education are leading this humble cause of setting awareness through music, more precisely through Hip Hop. They are the ones composing, recording and transmitting. Young, they recognize the problems

Strong in its entity, Hip Hop cannot pass through without giving it attention or a listen. It is in its formation to impact, to shock, to aware, to explain, to describe and to plead…

Hassane Dennaoui Blogger - REVOLT Radio Host - Laish HipHop? Twitter @BIG_HASS

DJ LETHAL SKILLZ DJ | Turntablist | Producer | Entrepreneur

DJ Lethal Skillz is the oldest and most established turntablist in the Arab Hip Hop movement. Besides being a world-class DJ, he has also distinguished himself as a prolific producer and long-running ambassador for the Arab hip-hop massive. He has two seminal Arab Hip Hop albums to his credit: _ New World Disorder (2008) _ Karmageddon (2012)

For more info, check out these links:

Karmageddon (2012) features nearly everyone in the Lebanese hip-hop scene past and present and many of Arab hip-hop stalwarts from the region and Diaspora! Throughout his journey he has collaborated and performed with major historical figures in hip-hop lore - including opening up for the likes of: Pharoahe Monch and M-1 of Dead Prez at The Forum, Kentish Town, in London, England; as well as playing with the likes of De La Soul, Dj Q-bert, Rob Swift, Dj Akakabe and Co-ma World DMC Champions as well as mainstream acts like Timbaland, 50 cents, Whokid, Big Ali, Missy Eliot, Sean Paul, MIMS, Coolio to mention a few...

M I C • C H E C K

BROTHER ALI The Undisputed Truth Teller When was the first time you held a mic and performed? BA: My first show was in 1985, when I was 8 years old. I actually performed at my Grandmother’s funeral ; she was really supportive of when she passed away , it was the first time ever getting a mic & performing & i have done ever since then. It wasn’t until 2002 that i was able to really have a career & supporting myself with music. How do you think Islam is affecting your life? BA: It’s really been my way of understanding myself and the world. It’s everything for me. It has given me a perspective on life and wanting to give myself - my entire self to Allah. It’s a process; a life long process. I’m trying to give up a picture on whats going on inside me when I’m creating music. I don’t feel like music for me is to teach dawa or preach . I think my role and my responsibility is to make the most honest and real music I can.

In one of your interviews , you said, that the Middle East & Africa have so much potential in Hip Hop, Elaborate more on that? BA: The thing about Hip-Hop is that you don’t need anything at all to create Hip Hop, you don’t need instruments, you don’t need training

those who are suffering. And in the ME & Africa, a lot is going on there. Even musically, the culture and history have always been rich! All the elements of Hip Hop are there for people in ME & Africa to use Hip-Hop as a vehicle for letting the world hear what’s going on there.

“No artists made their art powerful and made their art popular, the people do that for you.”

In Saudi Arabia, to be given a chance to perform live is very minimal. What advise would you give hip hop heads here? BA: The most important thing is to express yourself completely honestly, the thing that makes art powerful is the people. No artists made their art powerful and made their art popular, the people do that for you. If their truth in that artistic creativity is there, so people will hear, the people will seek you out.

Hip Hop comes from who you are, it comes from your expression. It’s the rawest form of human expression that we have. It’s a perfect voice for people who are voiceless, it’s a tool and medium for people whose stories aren’t heard, whose faces aren’t known, whose names aren’t spoken;

excerpt from radio interview with Hassane DENNAOUI


on my headphones

➔ Recommended Video

L-FRESH The LION | Faithful

AKALA | Find No Enemy L-FRESH The LION | Faithful INVINCIBLE | Sledge Hammer JURASSIC 5 | Back 4 You AKUA NARU | Runaway


Q&A | HipHop Artist MOH FLOW 1| You’re in a country where live events are minimal. What do you do to balance this gap? Usually artists in the music business make more money and gain more exposure by touring and performing live than they do selling records. Saudi Arabia forces me to put out as much music as I can to reinforce my artistry. Since very few people have seen me perform live in KSA, I count on pushing free music to the people as much as possible as a tool for me to reach my city.

2| You’re releasing a new album “Inspired”. What has been your inspiration ? “Inspired” actually translates my name (‫ )ملهم‬to English. This body of work consists of many different concepts and genres of music. My inspiration has been mostly situations that put me down, but on this project there are a few “feel good” tracks. These tracks were inspired by other music and dreams that I have and wish to accomplish.

3| Who is in your ear drums now? I spend a lot of time in my car and my way of going through music is to update my iPod with 5 albums I haven’t heard yet or in a while and keeping them on repeat for a week or more. It could be anything from beat tapes to “Maze & Franky Beverly”. Here are some of the artists I have been listening to recently: Pusha T , Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco, Outkast, Frank Ocean and Meek Mill.

Existence is Resistance | New York & Beirut

Paul Bakery | Jeddah, KSA

s p o t f . y . i .

{ ‫}يا أيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى وجعلناكم شعوباً وقبائل لتعارفوا‬ {Oh humankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made people and tribes so you may know each other} eL Seed calligraffiti at the minaret of Jara in Gabes، Tunisia

Beating Poetry

I will not dance to your war drum. I will not lend my soul nor my bones to your war drum. I will not dance to your beating. I know that beat. It is lifeless. I know intimately that skin you are hitting. It was alive once hunted stolen stretched. I will not dance to your drummed up war. I will not pop spin beak for you. I will not hate for you or even hate you. I will not kill for you. Especially I will not die for you. I will not mourn the dead with murder nor suicide. I will not side with you nor dance to bombs because everyone else is dancing. Everyone can be wrong. Life is a right not collateral or casual. I will not forget where I come from. I will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved near and our chanting will be dancing. Our humming will be drumming. I will not be played. I will not lend my name nor my rhythm to your beat. I will dance and resist and dance and persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than

death. Your war drum ain’t louder than this breath.

What I will

by Suheir HAMMAD


A monthly source of real Hip-Hop Culture

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