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ISSUE 05 • MARCH 2014

YOUR MONTHLY SOURCE OF REAL HIP-HOP CULTURE


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 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. Starting up an online 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. Aside from the well-known elements of hip hop - which are MC, BBoy, Beatbox, Graffiti, DJ and Knowledge re-volt magazine also focuses a great deal on any other forms of expression/art that concretize the richness of our Arab culture. The list includes films, documentaries, initiatives, events, companies, charity organization, etc... A mic, a choreography, a vocal percussion, spraypaint, a vinyl record, a book or a film... We choose all the above. The power of the word to inform, to represent and to stay real! EDITOR HASSANE DENNAOUI ASSOCIATE EDITOR | GRAPHIC DESIGNER Hanane FATHALLAH CONTRIBUTORS If you’re interested to write for re-volt magazine, email us revoltmag1@gmail.com


CONTENTS REVOLT/REPORT Justin BUA Omar OFFENDUM 7araga | Modern Day Nomads

FEATURE Meryem SACI | ‘Float’ like a butterfly, rap like a bee! Jasiri X | Freeing minds one rhyme at a time Arabian Knights | Egypt’s most prominent hip-hop group Said DURAH | Palestinian-American Comedian ETERNIA | A cutting-edge female MC MIC CHECK MAJEED | Saudi Hip-Hop Artist LOCAL FLAVA’ Soup for Syria | Q&A Barbara Abdeni Massaad Tasting the Sky by Ibtisam BARAKAT A. Bugsy | The Beat Sampler Ashekman | Lebanese Graffiti Wizards Khaled M. | Libyan-American hip-hop Artist Ida KORAITEM | Female Saxophonist BEATS, RHYMES & RELIEF SPOT.F.Y.I Sundus ABDUL HADI Salwa ALI NUGAMSHI Ahmad Sami ANGAWI Fawaz MUNCHI ALBUM RELEASE JASIRI X | Checkpoint CHALI 2NA | Manphibian Music Black Bannerz | Music Revolution CARTOONS KHARTOON! ON THE GO Q&A | ‘Haram’ Producers Q&A | Maurice DANIEL Q&A |Edd Abbas & Jibberish ‘La Valse de Marylore’ Beating Poetry Mark Gonzales | The Alchemy of Storytelling

Cover Artwork Photography by Hassane DENNAOUI eL Seed | Calligraffiti | Epic Wall of Al-Balad during Jeddah Art Week (February 2014)


[FOLLOW OMAR OFFENDUM]

Twitter @Offendum www.facebook.com/offendum

SYRIAN-AMERICAN HIP-HOP ARTIST

OMAR OFFENDUM


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

>> RETROSPECTIVE Looking back at your life in Al-Khobar, can you recollect one knick-knack, one happy moment and one unforgettable scenery that all remind you of Saudi Arabia? I was the youngest of my four siblings when we left Saudi, so unfortunately my memories are not as strong theirs. That said, I do have faint recollections of spending time with my family at the beautiful Sunset Beach Compound. When I revisited Al-Khobar for the first time back in 2008, I was struck by how much it had developed and expanded since we left. I still have our old family membership card from the 80’s & it appears that they kept the same company logo, which put a smile on my face.

Photo credit Flemming Bo Jensen

THE BIG MOVE Going from one culture to another requires a great deal of tolerance and open-mindedness. How was your first interaction with the WEST? I was quite young when we immigrated (4 years old) so my family had to deal with the cultural shocks and transitions much more than I did. However they soon enrolled me in the Islamic Saudi Academy, where I spent most of my elementary, middle and high-school education. There, I was surrounded by students from all over the Arab/Muslim world and that kept the cultural ties strong, in addition to yearly travels back home to visit family in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and the GCC.

Family & Education A healthy surrounding and a solid family support help sustain one’s background, origins and individuality. What strengthened your Arab origins and your love for the Arabic language? How do you keep these bonds intact? I was taught Arabic and Islamic studies at school for 2-hours a day based on textbooks straight from KSA, so that definitely had a huge impact on my ability to maintain the language. It was also a pan-Arab experience in the sense that I had teachers from Saudi, Iraq and Palestine, and best friends from Sudan, Egypt and Oman. So while I identified as a Syrian, I could relate to people from all over the Arab world and was familiar with their accents/customs. However, I’d be remiss if I did not mention that my mother was the biggest linguistic influence on me. She quite literally taught me how to use my mother tongue - and being a graduate of Arabic literature from Damascus University herself - she was very well-versed in grammatical and poetic studies of the language. For this reason I can say with absolute confidence that she is my biggest artistic and lyrical influence to this day.


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

Can you recall an anecdote that occurred during your first steps into Hip Hop? According to my older sister Rama, there’s video footage of an 8 year old Offendum performing LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” somewhere in this universe... I pray it never sees the light of day. When was your ‘formal’ transition into Hip-Hop? I grew up memorizing rap lyrics and watching Hip-Hop videos on Yo MTV Raps / BET / VH1- but to be perfectly honest I never imagined I would become a rapper myself until I started attending the University of Virginia. I remember freestyling for hours in my friends’ apartments or on stage at local clubs, without dealing with the pressures of identity politics. After the events of 9/11, I began feeling that a microscope was being placed on my Arab/Muslim/American experience and that’s when I decided to take things a bit more seriously. It was no longer just a hobby, but a creative outlet that I could use to empower myself and effect a positive change on the hearts and minds of people around me. The amalgamation of your flawless writing skills both English & Arabic - and the importance of lyrical appeal in Hip Hop hints to a profile of a perfectionist artist. How do you describe your writing process? What role does the Arabic language have in your songs? My writing process has always differed from track to track. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a story I want to tell, like Majnoon Layla or Straight Street, and find a beat that suits it later on ... Other times the instrumentals themselves dictate what emotions I bring to the piece - as was the case with #SYRIA and Hustle On ... Regardless, I am always ready to recite my lyrics without music as I feel they need to be able to stand on their own to truly last the test of time. This comes from years of watching poetic recitations by great Arabic poets like Nizar Qabbani and Mahmoud Darwish. Even when I’m writing words in English, I find myself channeling their energy, confidence and charisma. The topics you engage in are socially conscious themes that include as much the mundane as politics. What is your ‘mission statement’? My mission statement has always been to approach my artistry from a sincere, honest place that is rooted within my life experience. It just so happens that I am Syrian, and belong to a religious group that is constantly being demonized by the media outlets of the world - so when I speak about my identity it is easy to assume that I’m a ‘political’ or ‘revolutionary’ rapper, taking one aspect of my work and casting judgement upon the rest of it. This is perhaps a meta-metaphor for the kind of stereotyping

I am dealing with. Those who take the time to actually listen to the variety of subject matter I address will find deeper meanings, and perhaps eventually see that even my name “Offendum/‫ “ افندم‬is a play on words that symbolizes this irony; being viewed as something so ‘offensive’ on one side of the world, and so noble on the other. Your patriotism and longing for Syria translated through Hip Hop, added to your eloquence and poise captivate listeners. What prolongs this outer-calmness and confidence? I think confidence actually comes from a combination of hard work & humility. As Aristotle said, “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”... I find that the loudest people in the room tend to be compensating for some sort of deep-rooted insecurities (and this is certainly the case for a lot of entertainers). I have always been attracted to people who project a positive energy and are just as ready to listen as they are to speak. I pray that those I love feel the same way about me. ‘SYRIANAMERICANA’ A musical treasure with fresh beats, smart lyrics, and worldly dynamism and interactivity. How long did it take to ‘build’ this masterpiece? My first solo album was the culmination of many years of writing, beat-making and artistic collaboration with friends / artists all over the world - which is why I so often refer to it as a ‘Nation-State of Mind’ ... From conversations with my mother in Damascus, to freestyle sessions with my boys in DC, so many people (and places) I love had a hand in shaping how it ultimately came out. Some of the lyrics were written many years before the album dropped, while others were penned just months prior to the release. Although I was the only MC on the record, I owe a lot of thanks to my partnerin-rhyme The Narcicyst for always pushing me to do better, and to my brother Sami Matar for agreeing to mix / master it all for me (without even contributing any beats of his own!). A majority of the instrumentals came from my dear friend Nawar (aka Sandhill), whom I consider one of my favorite Hip-Hop producers of all time and am very fortunate to work with. Ultimately I wanted to create something that would last the test of time, that people from many different walks of life could relate to, and that I could look back on years later with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The fact that many people who listen to it today are shocked to find out it was originally released in 2010 tells me that I did my job.


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

Occupy Utopia Festival | Performance in Copenhagen | Photo credit Charlene Winfred


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

Occupy Utopia Festival | Performance in Copenhagen | Photo credit Charlene Winfred


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

“It’s hard living in the west when I know the east got the best of me.” (Destiny) How has living in the U.S. added to your identity? Do you think you would have pursued Hip Hop if you were living in the Arab region? Growing up in the United States has definitely had a huge impact on my identity, and I feel this whenever I visit the Middle East.I find myself dispelling stereotypes about Arabs in America, and vice versa in the Arab world. I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like if we stayed in Saudi Arabia, or Syria for that matter; how would I look, sound, dress, act? etc... Even if we remained in the latter (Syria), the situations were/are still quite different in my mother’s birthplace of Damascus versus my father’s birthplace of Hama. Oddly enough, after spending 10 years in Los Angeles, I now find myself wondering what life would have been like if we immigrated here instead of Washington DC, as they too are very different experiences. All this has led me to continue finding wisdom in the words of the great Edward Said when he said: “With so many dissonances in my life, I have learned to actually prefer being not quite right and out of place.” Including Nizar Qabbani’s poetics in your song “Finjan” has brought a touch of refinement to your modern hip hop. What summarizes Omar Offendum in two couplets? I should clarify that only the first two verses of “Finjan” were actually translations from Nizar Qabbani’s iconic poem. The third verse was my own, and featured a few lines that were sampled from one of my favorite books of all time: “Leo the African” by Amin Malouf. So while it would be difficult to summarize my body of work in two couplets, these words mean a lot to me: “When a man is rich / Whether in gold or knowledge / He should try to treat the poverty of other brothers with consideration / Knowing that the highest form of flattery is imitation” In ‘SYRIANAMERICANA’, you bring an authentic perspective to your songs, highlighting our rich Arabic culture through an undeniable drive and dedication. How important is it to shed light on our culture, making it approachable to all? Coming of age in the United States during a time when most major media outlets were vilifying and demonizing Arab people played a huge role in shaping my identity and how I chose to represent myself. I found that many Arab-Americans were too apologetic and defensive, going out of their way to proclaim that we were NOT terrorists / extremists / radicals / etc... Yet seldom did enough of us take the time to tell people what we actually were, and why we had so much pride

in our cultural traditions. Given that music is a universal language, and poetry is the backbone of the Arabic language, I have found the best way to relay some of these messages was by incorporating the two in a meaningful way. This doesn’t always have to come in the form of literal translations, as the medium itself soon becomes the message; where a young, confident Arab-American navigating both cultures with a nuanced perspective and using a familiar vessel to channel it through (Hip-Hop) ultimately proves the point just as well. Among your numerous collaborations, The Narcicyst always stands out. What is the secret behind this chemistry? The Narcicyst and I have a similar family history of triple-migration: Syria / Iraq >> Saudi / UAE >> USA / Canada This coupled with our bilingual upbringings and love for Hip-Hop culture gives us an ability to relate to one another on multiple levels. We also happen to compliment each other stylistically while offering unique points of view, allowing us to share in one another’s successes without a need to feel threatened. I consider him a brother before anything else - our wives and siblings are all friends, and insha’Allah one day all of our children will be too. Isolating Arabic Hip Hop from Hip-Hop culture has been a topic of controversy. How do you decipher this conflict? Do you think Hip-Hop should be sub-categorized? I think it is only natural that someone would want to call themselves an ‘Arab Rapper’ when all of their lyrics are in fact in Arabic. I’ve even noticed a tendency to sub-categorize it further depending on the person’s nationality or country of origin. So I guess the question then becomes where do we draw the line? I’ve spent he majority of my life in the US and have written most of my lyrics in English, and while my social media analytics tell me that the bulk of my support base is in America, they also state that the largest concentrations in any given city can be found in Europe and the Middle East. To me the beautiful thing about Hip-Hop is that it is a chameleon-like culture that has adapted itself to the specific needs and trends of different communities around the world for decades. The internet has pushed this global phenomenon even further. When it is all said and done I would like to think that I am making positive contributions to Hip-Hop culture in a more general sense, and I have love and respect for anyone who does the same - no mater how they choose to identify themselves.


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

Occupy Utopia Festival | Performance in Copenhagen | Photo credit Charlene Winfred


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

A modern age entrepreneur. Being an influential personality, how do you give back to the community? And how do you entice the youth to perceive the world more consciously and to become more proactive? As the years have gone by my sense of ‘community’ has expanded greatly, and I have found that messages are much less effective when one simply preaches to the choir. I believe that we are one human family and I try to live by this basic principle. While it will always be important for me to address issues that relate to my Syrian / Arab / Muslim roots, the simple truth is that my wife and many of our best friends do not share that same background. The conflict in Syria, which has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, is so complex and tragic that many of them don’t even know how to begin addressing it. Therefore it has been extremely important for me to understand their own perspectives and concerns in order for us to be able to ultimately find a common ground. This is how bridges are built, and how the seeds of change can slowly take root. Sound of Freedom: Epic performance.You reached the Metropole Orkest bringing your lyrics and music to a fully classical level! How did this opportunity see the light? and how was it received? On September 21, 2013, The Netherlands celebrated the 300th Anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, a series of individual treaties between various European states that finally ended the War of the Spanish Succession which lasted over a decade. This was commemorated by a large music festival that brought together artists from various backgrounds to perform alongside The Metropole Orkest, a jazz and pop hybrid orchestra that is the largest full-time ensemble of its kind in the world. Over the past couple of years I had been working with several Dutch organizations (such as PAX and Adopt-A-Revolution) to raise awareness about the Syrian crisis, which culminated in this memorable performance in front of a 6000+ audience. Needless to say it was a huge honor for me to hear beats that were normally played off my DJs turntables, all of a sudden being orchestrated by 52 incredibly talented musicians behind me. It gave me the chills and the audience’s response was overwhelmingly positive.

In the Arab world, music event companies tend to book international commercial artists, and never give the proper spotlight to local/regional artists to open up for them. What are your thoughts on that? How can this system change? I think what you are doing with Re-Volt Radio, your radio show ‘Laish Hip-Hop?’, and this groundbreaking online publication is all part of that change. I think the fact that YouTube sensations (like the Telfaz11 boys) are being so supportive of regional musicians is part of that change. I think the ability of our generation to ultimately take ownership of our cultural production and create content that is meaningful to us is part of that change. International / commercial artists will slowly become less relevant to our youth. Music event companies will soon enough realize where the tides are moving and have no choice but to support rising local talents if they are to remain profitable... and that my friend is the bottom line. What are your aspirations? My aspirations are to always be mindful of The One / ‫الواحد‬, as is reflected in the oneness of our collective humanity, & to be able to pass this knowledge on to children some day. To always show love & gratitude to the village that it took to raise me, and the global community of conscience that I’m so proud to be a part of today. To be seen as someone who didn’t chase fame or celebrity status, but sought to create genuine relationships in life first. To create artistic expressions that can inspire and add value to people’s lives, while building platforms that allowed others to do the same. To leave behind a diverse body of artistic work that can last the test of time, and that I can be proud of. To be remembered as the turtle who won the race, not the rabbit who lost his way and showed up last. Well, perhaps a more appropriate metaphor would be the camel, whom to the outsider may seem to wander aimlessly, but who himself knows exactly how to follow the signs to his next destination. Tell re-volt magazine something not a lot of people know about you. I love to draw and take pictures, which folks can get a glimpse of on my Instagram feed (@offendum) ...and if you ever catch me singing “Black & Yellow”, it’s because I’m an Itti7ad fan ;)

Interviewed by Hanane FATHALLAH revoltmag1@gmail.com


s p o t f . y . i .

[FOLLOW SUNDUS ABDUL HADI] Twitter @SundusAH


The Forgotten by Sundus Abdul Hadi The text in the painting reads the lyrics of a traditional Iraqi folk song: “Those who have forgotten us, when will you remember us? When will we cross your mind? When will you help our situation? Love, you have left us with no explanation; You shut the doors in our face and abandoned us. Where did you come from on the day you set your eyes on us? Where did you find us? Your eyes have scarred us. You who have forgotten us, when will you remember us?�


YOUR MONTHLY SOURCE OF REAL HIP-HOP CULTURE A mic, a choreography, a vocal percussion, spraypaint, a vinyl record, a book or a film... We choose all the above. The power of the word to inform, to represent and to stay real! If you’re interested to write for re-volt magazine

email us revoltmag1@gmail.com


TOP 5 TUNES on my headphones

➔ RECOMMENDED VIDEO

L-FRESH AKA The LION ft MK-1 | Survive ASHEKMAN ft DJ Lethal Skillz | Deyman Ijebeh Little Brother | Loving it Jasiri X | Checkpoint AKALA | Find no enemy

Ashekman ft. DJ Lethal Skillz Deyman Ijebeh

Q&A THE HIP HOP FESTIVAL 1. How did the idea of THHF come along? Travelling around over the last ten years and realising that Hip Hop has taken root worldwide. Always coming across stories that reflected the mood of a place, told through Hip Hop. That voice is powerful and I believe that it is one that should be amplified. I’ve been doing Hip Hop festivals for nearly 15 years. I also work in the wider cultural sector in the UK and observe how culture flourishes in some instances and when it does not. I can see how a globally networked festival of Hip Hop can shed light on a lot of stories. (KCH) 2. We need these kind of initiatives. What events have you launched and what are you currently working on? I’m back to my roots in London and planning a Hip Hop guide to the city. This is something that The Hip Hop Festival can create in other cities too. We prepared one for the London Hip Hop Festival in the year 2000 and it is a practical model for building links in a community. (KCH) We aim to bring The Hip Hop Festival to a number of locales including the Middle East. In the Middle East, we are looking to collaborate with a number of cultural producers to produce an event that will serve as a central gathering point for the entire region. Currently, we are collaborating with a number of organizations and HipHop practitioners to launch a number of events over the next few years. In line with The Hip Hop Festival, I’m collaborating with Rapt.fm, a super dope Detroit startup, to produce a series of online events which will feature a few dozen notable MCs from across the globe. (NJ) 3. What is the state of Hip-Hop nowadays? I think Hip-Hop is LIVELY, International & Empowering! It’s contemporary. It’s having a moment of introspection, quite rightly, after 40 years of trail blazing. Hip Hop is established as a tool for communication, controversial or otherwise. (KCH)

Globally, Hip Hop is booming. From revolutionary educational initiatives like #HipHopEd, Science Genius, Gangway Beatz (Germany), Turning Tables, and Tiny Toones (Cambodia) to independent media initiatives like ITCH.fm (UK), Rapstation.com, and The CRIB Show (Malaysia) to mega-festivals like Hip Hop Kemp and Hip Hop al Parque (Colombia), international Hip Hop is on the upswing. There are also a number of folks like Five Steez (Pay Attention/Jamaica), Tia (Turning Tables/ Denmark) and Vandal (The Movemint/Malaysia) that are championing international Hip Hop and bringing it to the forefront. However, in the U.S., Hip-Hop is being colonized not just by the “industry”, but by a number of organizations, academic institutions and self-proclaimed Hip Hop scholars as well. But thankfully, “we” have journalists like Davey D and folks like Rosa Clemente, Dart Adams, and Chuck D that are on the frontlines of pushing this culture forward and preserving it as well. (NJ) 4. Are you planning to do an event in the Middle East ? We want to get to places that are representing Hip Hop in positive ways. The Middle East is going hard right now and is a great example of a region with human stories to tell. (KCH) 5. Who are the artists you personally listen to? I regularly listen to Reggae. I’m Caribbean and reggae music is foundation music. I’m listening to a lot of Hip Hop from all over the world so enjoying that sonic journey too. To name a specific Hip Hop artist, I regularly listen to Pharoahe Monch. He speaks the truth with crystal clarity. (KCH) Currently, I’m listening to a lot of Reggae (old & new), Soul and international Hip Hop. Shadia Mansour, King Kabaka, Bitty McLean, AZ, Blue King Brown, Bar Kays, Sizzla, Kery James, Five Steez, Emicida, Eboi, Narubi Selah, Caxton Press, & Nas are always in heavy rotation.


GRAFFITI WORKSHOP Feb 24/26/28 6:30 to 8:30 pm | Theory & Practise “What is graffiti?” Discover fonts | Learn how to sketch | Learn how to use a spray can | Sketch on wall) March 1st, starting 10 am | Draw your own Graffiti on a real wall! Teacher: Famous Lebanese Graffiti artist EpS Contact us 01 395501 • 71 31 61 17 • info@thecolouracademy.me P.S. This workshop is for adults


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<MERYEM SACI>

Original Photo provided by www.mappingmemories.ca | Edited by Hanane Fathallah

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;FLOATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; LIKE A BUTTERFLY,... RAP LIKE A BEE!

Meryem Saci is a singer, songwriter and MC from Algeria. At the age of 13, Meryem and her single mother were forced to flee the country due to its civil war. After several weeks of moving underground, they finally immigrated to Montreal, Canada - as political refugees. While struggling to adjust to a new country, culture and language, Meryem found release in music and hip hop. In the year 2005, she joined multi-cultural super group Nomadic Massive and has recorded 2 albums, 1 EP and 2 mix tapes with the group. Nomadic Massive has been rated the #1 Hip Hop Act in Montreal for five years in a row, and they have opened for Georgia Ann Muldrow, Mos Def, Deltron 3030, Wyclef Jean, Public Enemy and Busta Rhymes to name a few. Meryem has performed internationally both with Nomadic Massive and as a solo artist in Africa, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Canada and the United States. She has also been working with Iraqui MC The Narcicyst for the Medium through features and tours. This year Meryem will release her first solo project...


>> RETROSPECTIVE Originally from Algeria, can you recall the songs/singers you grew up on? Which one was your favorite - yes, that one you used to lip-sync or imitate as a little girl? Absolutely. I was the queen of doing shows alone in my mother’s room. Opening the window and making sure the neighbours heard me! I was a fanatic of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. I grew up in the heart of 90s R&B and Dance music, so back then that’s all I cared about.

Meeting the Arab diaspora in the West is inevitable. You had previously collaborated with Omar Offendum in “Straight Street”, adding a smooth flavor to the song. What was the highlight of that collaboration? The funny thing is for that song, Omar and I were not in the same country. So the highlights happened when I met him prior to the collaboration. I knew about his work through the Narcicyst and being in the same circle I got to meet the amazing Omar Offendum. I am really blessed to know truly gifted people like that. I am fan of his music and respect his influence in the Arabic Hiphop world, I was thrilled to be asked to collaborate on ‘Street Straight’.

Your recent collaboration with Iraqi-Canadian artist The Narcicyst in “Average Type” video is off the hook! How was that experience? And how is the ‘music chemistry’ between you and The Narcicyst? The Narcicyst is really my brother, one of my best friends and I truly cherish our collaborations. “Average type” was one of those random moments when I pass by his house to hang out and he drops beats and calls a writing session on the spot. The beat dropped and my jaw with it. I got super inspired and wrote the verse on the spot, recorded it in his home studio right away. It’s one of my favorite tracks with him and I was very happy to know he was going to release it and do a video. The Narcicyst is, in my eye, a golden mine of creativity, not only in music but in video too. He came up with the concept for the video and it was perfect. Everything was short and sweet, very efficient. I had a lot of fun shooting the video and collecting the props and acting a fool. In regards to the ‘music chemistry’ with Narcy, it is one of the rarely supernatural connexions out there, it’s effortless.

Photo by Lidia Barreiros

Your love for Soul, R&B and Blues music is reflected through the timbre of your voice. When did you first get acquainted with Hip Hop? And what has it added to your initial musical experience? I first heard about HipHop pretty young as I was listening to R&B artists. By the mid 90’s, I started seeing graffitis out in the streets of 2PAC and Biggie. More hits had rappers in them and I really liked the flows and attitudes in the song, although I didn’t understand a word. I was crazy about Koolio’s ‘Gangster’s paradise’. When I was 12, I discovered there were rappers in Algeria and started listening and understanding the lyrics and I loved every second of it. The ability to use your mind and your art as a weapon, or simply as a conduit to sharing messages with people was fascinating to me. It’s only later, a few years after I moved to Montreal that Hiphop resurfaced in my eardrum. I met a crew of rappers that were truly inspiring. I started collaborating with them and writing with them around the age of 16. I knew that I wanted to write my own music and I knew that I had a lot to say that doesn’t always work with melodies. I was really mesmerized by the skill of rap and the talent of the guys around me. I loved how eloquent and witty they were; freestyle sessions blew my mind. How could they think so fast and so smart! I secretly wanted to be a rapper too. With English being my 3rd language I was very insecure then, it took 5 years before I tried it. I am glad I did. I’m still on the journey of improvement but I feel hiphop shaped my musical experience like no other genre. It helped dig into oldies I never knew existed and fall in love even more with soul, blues and funk music.

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[FOLLOW MERYEM SACI] Twitter @MeryemSaci www.facebook.com/meryemsacimusic

Your fashion style is a contemporary blend of Occident meets African flair. What kind of fashion and beauty events do you sponsor or support? Lately I have been supporting and rocking local artists and business women in the community I am part of in Montreal. I love creative fashion with a touch of cultural flavours. I love original hand made pieces and natural products. I definitely love what Inhairitance is doing for the natural hair in Montreal, they also support local artists by selling original earrings, rings, bracelets, scarfs, bags, etc. I also rock Black Mission whenever I can; Nadia Bunyan is a unique fashion mind that’s always ahead of the herd. Years later, I am still amazed by her new pieces. How does your status as a singer/MC help generate support for causes? I have participated in multiple benefit shows. I know music plays a pivotal role in gathering masses and entertaining for an event. I do believe an influential artist is more likely to pass on a message and collect support better than any politician. I see how in the future my status could help support causes, however at my current level, I don’t have so much relevance.

Taking the best of both worlds, your multicutural background gives you a certain charisma. As a woman, do you think your image plays a role in reflecting your identity and music? Also, does it help you in boosting your confidence on and off stage? As a woman, I went through enough self hatred and discomfort with my body and appearance. The more I grow the more I realize that it’s self-sabotage and I now choose to cherish and appreciate my temple. I believe in being healthy and fit. I believe in feeling good in my own skin. The reality is that your image does play a role in your identity which ultimately affects your music. If anything, it’s not the image itself but the confidence in your image that makes the difference. You can feel like a million bucks while being dressed in less than 50$. You can feel pretty even if the outside world’s standards of beauty don’t match your appearance. So I would say it’s not what I look like that boosts my confidence it’s how I feel about myself that does.

Sadly, in the music industry, we lack real female role models. The liberal image of women conveyed in the media has passed the limits of the reasonable and acceptable. Would you consider yourself - especially in the Hip-Hop scene - a good example of a female MC? How can we educate future female MCs to reach the road to success without ‘laying it all out there’? This is hard to answer. I don’t consider myself an example to be followed. I just want to be able to share my passion with the world and be the best version of myself in the process. It’s a journey not just a state of being. Mistakes could be made along the way but I just put faith in my principals and make sure I always own up to what I do and keep my integrity. We are living in an overly sexualized era, with an industry that blatantly emphasizes on the ‘laying it all out there’ state of mind. I just think, It’s important to know why you are doing what you are doing. I feel like dressing the way I feel at the moment: it could be sexy at times and sometime it won’t. I don’t find it rewarding to undress for fame. I want my art, not my body to be famous. I’ll be who I am regardless, but if I wear a mini skirt you best believe it’s cause I think it’s cute, not for ratings! I don’t think we can ‘educate’ future female emcees, girls that decide to take time to write raps can think for


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themselves. Now, it’s all about the examples they focus on: I do think that having an alternative perspective of what sexy means could help. The choice is ultimately theirs. We all battle with identity, social pressure and the constant need for recognition. The real education is to know yourself and be in control of the choices you make. Self-love might sound corny but it is the foundation that determines how strong or weak someone will be in life. At the end of the day, like Michael (RIP) said it’s that ‘man in the mirror’ (or woman) you have to be able to face at the end of the day. Your new single ‘Float’ is so jazzy! We love it. The emotions you give out through Soul, R&B and Blues are sublime. Would you say you have two music identities? The rawness of Hip Hop vs the smoothness of Blues. Where do you think these two worlds meet? I am absolutely torn between a few identities when it comes to music. I have been breaking my head to fit into one specific box, but it’s impossible. When it comes to Blues, it’s like the predecessor to rap. It’s emotional story telling at its best. It’s also social commentaries and witty punchlines. In the blues, you feel like you’re in a conversation with the singer, just like rap music. They really complement each other.

Where was your favorite performance ever? I have a few. One in Cuba in 2006, outdoor show, there was magical energy that night and it marked my memory. I also loved the last Jazz festival I did with my band Nomadic Massive in summer 2013. There is something about playing outdoor and just seeing a pool of people gathering just off the sound they hear. It was epic. Where would your most aspired performance be located at? I honestly don’t know. I want to do a show on a beach once in my life! Other than that, I would love to tour the world, really. Then maybe I’ll have a better idea of where my ideal spot would be. In general, if there is good sound and an awesome crowd that’s where I aspire to be. Now that I think about it a little more, I would definitely love to perform back home in Algeria.

There is no doubt of your talent and aptitudes in swaying and in rapping. Do you have a preference? I just love music, I love writing it, performing it. If I had to choose I would say singing, I sing in my sleep, I’ve been singing for much longer than I have been rapping. It definitely is more natural for me to sing. Do you have a personal ritual before going on stage to perform? Yes. More often it’s breathing deep a few times and doing my own little prayer. Try to centralize my energy and feed off the nerves!

When can we expect the release of your upcoming album? Will it one genre or a mix of both? I am currently working on an EP of about 6 songs. I am aiming for early summer (June 2014). For this particular project, I tried to narrow it down to a more urban sound. It’s a mix of R&B & Hip Hop with a little afro spice. The project that will follow this one will have more afro flavours and desert blues influences. Interview by Hanane FATHALLAH revoltmag1@gmail.com


s p o t f . y . i .

Abdulrahman Nugamshi ‫ | عبدالرحمن النغيمشي‬Saudi Graphic Designer // Arabic Calligraffiti Artist // Painter Instagram/Twitter @nugamshi http://nugamshi.com/


s p o t f . y . i .


LOCAL FLAVA’

Now that you are back to Saudi, how is it being a female playing Saxaphone in Saudi? First of all, I’m glad I’m back home despite the barriers I may face as female musician. Sometimes, I can’t perform at certain events but I totally respect that, and I often find other endeavours that make up for it anyway. As a female saxophone player in Saudi, I’m super excited, and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by many talented musicians and artists that are as eager as I am to bring something new Saudi’s music scene. What do you think is need to support local artists in an environment like Saudi? The basic need to support local artists, in my opinion, is to keep an open mind. Keeping your mind free of judgement on music preferences prevents tunnel vision that hinders any opportunity for creativity. An open mind also contributes to a second factor needed to support local artists, and that’s the sense of community (via organized events or other supportive gatherings). It might sound cheesy but, we’re all in this for the same reason, and that’s passion and the need to express ourselves in a new language.

Photo credit Husam AL-SAYED | Instagram @Filmhead

\\ IDA KORAITEM \\ FEMALE SAXOPHONIST

Do you remember the first time you picked up a saxophone? I remember every detail about me picking up the saxophone, even the first note I ever played (just for the record, it was a C#). But, I mostly remember how I realized that this was the next instrument I wanted to take on. I started out as a guitar player, but over time felt the need to take on a new challenge,and a new sound . I grew up listening to jazz and blues because of my dad, but this time I wanted to BE the jazz and blues I grew up with.After extensive research,I managed to find a teacher who took me under his wing and introduced me to a new chapter in my life.

Do you compose your own music? What are your future plans? Yes I do compose my own music, and I’m currently collaborating with two different bands, we haven’t recorded anything yet though. My future plan is to stay here in Jeddah and continue writing and performing music while still attending to my full-time job as an Occupational Therapist. I hope to inspire, and be inspired by other artists and musicians who simply want to create new music and have fun! Finally, tell us how people can reach you! :) Everyone can reach me via twitter! Follow me, send me a message or whatever @Idakorai

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


F E A T U R E

JASIRI X FREEING MINDS ONE RHYME AT A TIME

Emcee and community activist Jasiri X is one of the rising stars in Pittsburgh’s burgeoning hip-hop scene. Following in the footsteps of Steel City natives Mac Miller & Wiz Khalifa, Jasiri is the latest Pittsburgh rapper to achieve national attention. Jasiri brings a socially conscious message to his music, delivering hard-hitting edutainment in the tradition of hip-hop greats from Public Enemy to Dead Prez. After garnering significant attention last year for his tribute track “Trayvon” and being featured on outlets as diverse as AllHipHop and The Huffington Post, Jasiri kicks off 2013 with his latest album, Ascension. Produced entirely by Rel!g!on, Ascension hits iTunes and all other digital retailers on March 26th, 2013 through Wandering Worx Music and will distributed by Green Streets/Nature Sounds. The album features artists Brother Ali and Rhymefest of Kanye West’s Good Music.


[FOLLOW JASIRI X] Twitter @Jasiri_X www.facebook.com/jasirixofficial

Was there a turning point in your life that made you want to get into Hip-Hop? My best friend got a set of turntables for Christmas and asked me to write a rap. My first rap was terrible but I was really encouraged to keep writing, then it became a passion for me Hip-Hop is a voice for the voiceless. In your opinion, is that ideology surfacing back? It never left, it just stopped being covered in the mainstream, but now mainstream rappers are finding the courage to say more and go deeper. Because of technology and social media you find more artists like myself being able to break through. The music you create has a mind-elevating calibre. The music of artists such as yourself fortifies my reasons to create re-volt. What inspires you and what keeps you motivated? These movements of resistance I see taking place all over the world truly inspire me. People are organizing and sacrificing their lives to make the world a better place, that revolutionary spirit makes me wanna keep pushing and contributing art that supports our struggle How does Hip-Hop help you spread awareness? I think people, especially the youth, are more likely to listen to and share a song than a magazine article. So putting a message to the music especially if you a have a good beat and powerful story will cause more people to learn about issues that effect their everyday lives The path you are pursuing is not ‘the popular one’ and not a lot of artists out there choose to go by that same path. How far are you willing to go to spread this message? Speaking truth to power is my duty and my responsibility, especially now when people are become poorer and more oppressed each day. It may not be the popular path but it’s the right path and the necessary path to make this world a better place for my children and their children

Facing the subtlety of the Internet, do you think record labels are losing their power? Absolutely, labels use to sign artists now artists sign labels or remain independent. If you can build a fan base uploading your own music and videos online and book your own shows or set up your own tour, what do you need a label for? Tell us about your organization 1hood? 1hood came together to unite the different neighbourhoods of Pittsburgh that had beef but suffer from the same conditions of poverty, police brutality, and oppression. We started to use Hip-Hop to bring them together peacefully to create dialogue and build stronger relationships. Recently we started the 1Hood Media Academy to teach young Black men how to analyse and create media for themselves Is Radio Play important now-a-days? It helps, but many artists like myself have made great careers with little or no radio play at all. Fewer people listen to the radio everyday because they’re tired of the same 5 songs being played all the time. The internet made it possible to download your favourite songs and listen to them instead. A Message from Jasiri X to Re-Volt Magazine readers? We need to find a way to connect our various struggles into a universal movement for the justice of all oppressed people worldwide. What is Jasiri X listening to right now? I’ve been rockin 9th Wonder’s new project “Jamla is the Squad” real heavy as well as classics like “Aquimini” by Outkast and “Moment of Truth” by Gangstarr. Would you collaborate with an Arab Hip-Hop Artist? & If so who? I’m a big fan of Lowkey, Shadia Mansour, Omar Offendum, and The Narcicyst. I just met Tamer from DAM in Palestine, I’d love to collab with them too.

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


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) 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 playing with the likes of De La Soul, Dj Q-bert, Rob Swift, Dj Akakabe & Co-ma World DMC Champions mainstream acts like Timbaland, 50 cents, Whokid, Big Ali, Missy Eliot, Sean Paul, MIMS, Coolio ...to mention a few...

For more info, check out these links: www.facebook.com/djlethalskillz961 www.reverbnation.com/djlethalskillz www.youtube.com/djlethalskillz

www.myspace.com/anewworlddisorder www.myspace.com/lethalskillz www.soundcloud.com/djlethalskillz


ON THE GO | ‘LA VALSE DE MARYLORE’ | Song by Inna MODJA

“LA VALSE DE MARYLORE”

A song condemning domestic violence inspires the making of a film http://www.lavalsedemarylore.com

Hello, I’m Inna Modja. I am an artist, songwriter and actress. My commitment towards women began 10 years ago, when I decided to campaign against female circumcision and female genital mutilation. Having myself experienced this painful experience without the knowledge of my parents, I had the strength and will to raise awareness on this subject once I was ‘mended’ thanks to reconstructive surgery by Prof. Pierre Foldes (inventor of this technique) I have regained a new aspect of my womanhood, and I took control over my body and my life. I was quickly interested in the status of women in general and violence perpetrated against them. Having been the official spokesperson for Tostan for 4 years now and being committed today as Ambassador to the AMREF (Stand Up for African Mothers ), I feel very affected by the role of women in society. Today, as an artist I would like to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence, that is unfortunately still taboo. I wrote a song ( La Valse Marylore) and director Marco Conti Sikic was inspired to write a film. We wanted to create an elegant artistic project, hybrid and committed. With the help of producer Julien Seul, we made this film. We then sought the support of our friends to join us in the photographic project “Dans la peau de Marylore” which is complementary to the film. To express our utter commitment, each of us took the time to take a photo, in the skin of a person being abused. Thanks to talented makeup artist Laura Ozier, wounds and bruises marked each face so realistically. It was only makeup that we could wipe at the end of shooting. Unfortunately for victims of physical and psychological violence/abuse, pain is real, marked in their flesh and soul... A human adventure that touched us all. We humbly hope that this project can touch you as much as us. Our unwavering support goes to all “Marylores” who will recognize themselves in these stories. I can not end without also thinking of men who are victims of violence. Being a minority should never mean that they don’t exist.

[FOLLOW INNA MODJA] www.innamodja.com Instagram @innamodjaofficiel www.facebook.com/innamodjaofficiel Twitter @innamodja WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE

Many thanks to Cyril Paglino, the Ministry of Law for Women, UN Women France, CGR, CASDEN, TFS, DIGIMAGE, AUTRECHOSE , AMS , AXA, Ludovic Messier Champagne, and all our friends and partners who helped make this project possible. Sincerely, Inna


LOCAL FLAVA’ | SOUP FOR SYRIA

PHOTO CREDIT BARBARA MASSAAD

“SOUP FOR SYRIA” | A book dedicated to help Syrian refugees Barbara Abdeni Massaad, a serious cook since the age of 15, has decided to publish and sell a cookbook aimed at helping the Syrian refugees. After the success of three books, she still lacks that subtle sense of fulfilment in her life. Every Tuesday, at the farmers market in Hamra, Beirut (Lebanon) - where she also runs the Slow Food Foundation (which aims to promote wholesome and traditional food) - Barbara sells her cookbooks to raise money and collects clothing donations to later distribute to the refugees. Her mission is to raise money to build a temporary pop-up kitchen in the Bekaa town of Zahle, where a lot of Syrian Refugees currently reside. The book is called “Soup For Syria” and will contain recipes for soups that consist of local ingredients that can be made by the Syrian families, themselves. Are you currently catering regularly to the needs of the Syrian refugees residing in Zahle? If yes, what are your activities? The word catering is a big word… I wish that I could do so much more. They are living in such poor conditions that my heart goes out to them, especially when I see so many children. Luckily, UNICEF and BEYOND and other associations are helping with matters such as schooling for children, basic needs, hygiene issues, etc… But it’s not

enough. The weather in the Bekaa does not help either. Luckily, we have had a mild winter except for the harsh week in December. I was freezing in my apartment in Beirut and could not sleep because I was thinking of all those children refugees. This is where I decided to do something about it in my own way. What ignited the idea of “Soup For Syria”? And why a cookbook for soup recipes? I always explain to the refugees that if I was a barber I would give them free haircuts but the fact that I am a food writer and photographer, I will use my talent to portray their pain, to photograph them and to write a cookbook which all publisher’s proceeds will go to them to help build a communal kitchen so they can feed their children healthy meals. Why soup you may ask? I have a friend whose name is Cristina Ghafari who thinks like me and called me one day to announce that she wanted to do soups to feed the refugees. Initially, I wanted to do a recipe book with Syrian recipes but found that it would be impossible to cook and work with what is available in the camps. Cristina started bringing her soup every week at the Slow Food Earth market to feed the refugees down there. This is where I got the calling for a Soup Cookbook! It made sense. We both go to the Bekaa every week and feed the children soup.


Can you describe your concept for the cookbook “Soup for Syria” - in terms of design and content? The book will be a coffee-table cookbook that includes beautiful photography to portray the refugees. Soup recipes and pack shots will follow with minute details on how to make these recipes. Testimonial, captions and thoughts will be written. I have it all in my head and with the help of Pascale Hares I know we will do a great job. The printing process is of no worry to me because I have the experience to work with DOTS and have had good results every time. I want people to want to buy the book both for its meaning and because they appreciate the work behind it. Do you think it is permissible that in 2014 such unfortunate living circumstances still exist? I DON’T!!!! It’s not fair and I want to be able to do something to help, no matter how small. You are undertaking an emotionally hard endeavor. How do you deal with these emotions? I sometimes cry when I see all this misery. I think of certain persons who have touched me, mostly old or young ones. Children affect me the most: they hug and kiss me when I come. They hold my hand. That is my biggest reward. I hope to make some kind of difference in their lives. How has been the public response to your project? The response is amazing! People react positively, especially people living abroad. A few Lebanese have asked me, “Why don’t you help Lebanese people?”. I answer them that I don’t see these refugees as Syrians, but as humans who are in deep need and suffering. There is no nationality for that. Having empathy for other humans, regardless of their nation is important, that is how I was brought up. Any influential or high-status personalities helping you with your mission? Not yet, but you never know in the future. I am grateful for my friends who have shared soup recipes, my printer Wael Jamaledine who gave me the green light no matter what. Pascale Hares my graphic designer who is not taking a dime for this project and to my friend Cristina Ghafari who is living through this adventure together. You have a booth at the Farmers Market in Hamra - every Tuesday. How supportive are your fellow providers of local produce? Are there any collaborations? The Slow Food Earth Market has showed support: the producers give free food to the refugees whenever they can especially Imm Ali who makes the bread on the saj. I think all other producers will follow. They have given me soup recipes too.

Would you agree if I said that photography has helped you capture these emotions, framed them in a moment but will continue living? Yes definitely. Does photography help you deal with the pain and harshness of the refugee’s situation? Yes, because I photograph them showing a positive aspect, not showing misery only. I put them on a pedestal, as opposed to anything else. I want to portray that in the midst of misery, there is a light of hope always. This is my vision.


LOCAL FLAVA’ | SOUP FOR SYRIA

How can we create more awareness to encourage the future generation to be more proactive and to follow footsteps similar to yours? We have to teach the children in all of the schools the meaning of the word EMPATHY. I learned that in school early. Empathy means to walk in someone’s shoes and to really feel his condition. When will the book be released? I hope at the end of 2014. We feature many influential young artists in re-volt magazine, who tackle politics, humanitarian and social issues. Do you think music - and especially Hip Hop/Rap nowadays - can make a difference in captivating the Youth’s attention and creating awareness about important issues? Yes definitely. I want the refugees to enjoy life, listen to music, be part of the scene. I met a Syrian family who work now with children, teaching them drama and music. It is so important that arts become part of their lives. I believe that we can conquer any pain by expressing oneself with the arts. I am a living example.

Any last words? #foodforthought Food can make a difference in everyone’s life… It can be used a cultural and political act. It should be positive, never negative. Interview by Hanane Fathallah [FOLLOW Barbara Abdeni Massaad] @BarbaraMassaad Author / Photographer / Food Consultant / TV Host [Her Books] Man’oushé: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery Mouneh: Preserving Food for the Lebanese Pantry Mezze: A Labor of Love www.barbaramassaad.com [FOLLOW SOUP FOR SYRIA] [FOLLOW SLOW FOOD BEIRUT]

In the meantime, check out her book MEZZE: A Labor of Love ORDER A COPY HERE


ON THE GO | Q&A with ‘Haram’ Producers

Q&A|The Producers of ‘HARAM’ - a play based on Dr. Maher Hathout’s poetry Wesam Nassar, Samira Idroos, Omar Offendum & Susu Attar

Four Los Angeles-based American Muslim artists Wesam Nassar, Omar Offendum, Susu Attar & Samira Idroos collaborated on a project to adapt Dr. Hathout’s poetry into an abstract drama, “Haram”, that tells the tale of the universal struggle of love and war; the love of a couple, of a people, of an ideal world in the face of tyranny and oppression. The dream of bringing his poetry to a live audience and to demonstrate the essentiality of beauty & creativity in Islam, was soon coming to life. As the 10th of January got closer, anticipation grew stronger. It was almost showtime at the Odyssey Theater! On the 12th January, as the last session was coming to an end, the cast received a standing ovation, just as powerful and lasting as the two previous nights. The feedback was incredible! So, after three consecutive nights sold out and upon popular demand, the producers

eventually announced that they would hold an encore run of the play on January 25 & 26. Here is what the producers had to say about this historic moment in the American Muslim community. re-volt mag: As you starred the play, who was the character you played? What was most captivating to the audience about this role? Omar Offendum: I played the role of “The Poet”, which was an abstract representation of Dr. Maher Hathout himself. I had initially translated his work from classical Arabic into English, and my voice could be heard reciting these poems through the speakers as I sat at a desk in the “Poet’s corner” of the stage. Throughout the course of the play, I’d interact with different cast members from time to time as they physically expressed the words I was writing.

Yet it was only at the very end that I actually began to recite some of his verses live, taken from a poem titled “The Language of Silence (‫”)لغة الصمت‬ I can’t really say what was most captivating to the audience, but it was a huge honor being able to bring his beautiful words to life. re-volt mag: Why was the set design in B&W and what imprint did it leave on the play - as a whole - in terms of its abstract quality? Susu Attar: The idea to have the characters in B&W was part of Wesam’s vision for the overall story, as the playwright. As production designers, Samira and I wanted to carry the abstract nature of the play into the visual story. The visual effect of B&W is dramatic and polarizing. The setting is all about contrasts and how they create the whole picture. Conceptually, B&W represent opposing


ends of the value spectrum. I think that idea can apply in color theory and in moral understandings. But life isn’t b&w. I agree with Dr. Hathout that it’s mostly grey. In art, sometimes using b&w forces the viewer to confront their imagination. re-volt mag:Your enthusiasm in promoting the event was undeniable. What had the ‘encore run’ added to the first three nights, in terms of feedback? How does it feel to see your poster design represent a play that is now iconic in the American Muslim community? Samira Idroos: The encore run was decided after a few days of the first run’s closing night. The four of us (producers) felt as though 300 people seeing this play just wasn’t enough. The first run sold out and we were actually invited back by the theatre to do another run. The first 3 shows were filled with so many members of the Islamic Center of Southern California community, so it was great to see that the show stood on it’s own for the encore run. We actually had a few people who just happened to find out about the play on a 3rd party website. A project that was almost 60 years in the making, it felt as though we weren’t doing justice to the work to only

have it run once.By the end of the two weeks, we felt as though Los Angeles had a proper chance to see this work come to life. I’ve been designing for about 6 years now and this may have been one of the quickest designs I’ve ever done. Ha! What should have taken a good 10-12 months to produce, we did in a little over 2 months. So we were limited on time...for everything! But I knew that I wanted the artwork to be something

that deserved attention. I don’t think many people knew what to expect, let alone with a play called “Haram”! It was a group decision to have the flyer turn into somewhat of a collectors item. I also wanted to make sure that the artwork encompassed what many of Dr. Hathout’s pieces are about - struggle. A battle between two sides, whether in the sense of war or one’s own struggle. It’s a blessing to have been a part of what Dr. Hathout called “a historical moment”.


ON THE GO | Q&A with ‘Haram’ Producers

in the most honest way I can imagine and I’m grateful that Omar was able to capture it’s essence and bring it to the English language.

re-volt mag: In honor of your mentor Dr. Maher Hathout, kindly say a few words about him. Omar Offendum: I remember being taught about Renaissance Men from Ibn Rushd to Leonardo Da Vinci when I was in school, and thinking to myself ‘surely these types of people don’t exist anymore. Getting to know Dr. Hathout has proven to me that they certainly do. He’s a modern-day polymath in every sense of the word - a public intellectual, youth advocate, interfaith leader, community organizer, published author, political activist, and (as if that weren’t enough) a cardiologist, poet, philosopher & family man. Yet, spending hours translating and discussing his poetry with him did humanize this Arab Superhero for me. The 45+ years between us began to vanish and I found myself sitting next to one of the illest MCs I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. In 1955, he was writing rhymes that were the equivalent of “don’t play yourself homey / I do not tire ... I am a poet of truth / I spit hot fire” in classical Arabic - and hoping to one day recite it over loops of his Mozart records. We affectionately refer to him as “Dr. H”, and to me that “H” could just as easily stand for Hip-Hop.

Susu Attar: Maher Hathout has built his life in the service of what he believes in. To me, anyone who spends their time on earth living, heart open, and full of integrity is an invaluable teacher. I’ve had the honor of working with him, studying with him, and hanging out on his couch talking about art and imagination. His work inspires leaders- people who do and think and my time with this visionary continuously inspires my work. His poetry reflects the person I know

Samira Idroos: I don’t know my life without Dr. Maher Hathout. I’ve been blessed to have him as a mentor and spiritual leader my whole life. Second to my parents, he has had a strong hand in shaping me into who I am today. Though most people had never heard his poetry, let alone know he was a poet, Dr. Hathout has been one of my most influential artists. I believe his medium has always been his words. He’s always been able to know how to speak to hearts. He’s always been concise and poetic about his message, even if in just casual conversation. And while “Haram” was the first time he had an audience to witness his artistry, the fact that he never stopped writing over the years is inspiring. Dr. Maher Hathout is the best friend I’ve ever had. ‘Haram’ Play | Teaser (put together by the producers) http://vimeo.com/84669789 Interview by Hanane Fathallah revoltmag1@gmail.com


JEDDAH GHER | Young Entrepreneurs


CARTOONS

Shopping by Khalid Albaih www.facebook.com/KhalidAlbaih

Discuss this cartoon on Twitter #revoltmag_cartoon #khalidalbaih


ALBUM RELEASE | NEOSPECTIVE GLITCH


ALBUM RELEASE | NEOSPECTIVE GLITCH

QUICK//Q?

What can people expect from the album? Specifically for this EP, i wanted to explore a different vibe, a more spacey feel, the whole concept was created from scratch to give the listener the full experience of what a Neospective Glitch is. Listeners can expect some mind-altering-thought-provoking lyrics that describe my personality and day to day life with its highs and lows, as far as the beats are concerned its definitely hard crunching hip hop...but we made sure experimental elements are infused, trying to put Sudan, the Arab world and Africa on the hip hop front.

Artist: Toofless & SufYan EP: Neospective Glitch Track Names / Downloads: 1. Introspective Glitch 2. L.O.V.E. 3. Celestial Navigation 4. Relevant ft. Hamdan Al Abri 5. Unaligned 6. Black Hole (Afirca) ft. Idreesy 7. Star Formation 8. Shifts Release Date: 10/03/14 Label/Sl No: Another Music/AM011 http://anothermusic.net/

Neospective Glitch is a short-lived burst of energy in one’s consciousness caused by a sudden change, creating a point of internal visual perception. The EP is a collaboration between two Sudanese artists who have never met in person, sharing a common home yet dealing with the internal conflicts there and in their personal lives, each describing mind-altering experiences through their individual musical expression. The eight track release is a journey through Sharjah-based Toofless’ psyche, opening with ‘Introspective Glitch’ where he discusses consciousness and invites us to look through a window into his introverted mind. This is accompanied by the bone-crunching spaced-out production of Khartoum- based SufYan, whose influences range from the work of Alan Hawkshaw to 80’s R’n’B. The theme of connectivity is prevalent in the lead track ‘L.O.V.E.’, and ‘Relevant’ featuring vocalist Hamdan Al Abri (U.A.E.) where SufYan provides a more soulful sonic backdrop, before we are hit again with the harder tracks ‘Black Hole (Africa)’ featuring Idreesy (Sudan) and ‘Shifts’. Although around the scene for a while, this is Toofless’ first fully-fledged and most complete release to date. The EP borders on being experimental & unconventional while remaining true to the hip hop he grew up listening to, and even though they have never met their affinity for good music is obvious. The full EP can be purchased here For more information, please contact info@anothermusic.net


s p o t f . y . i .

Artwork|Ahmad Sami Angawi


s p o t f . y . i .

Artwork|Ahmad Sami Angawi


ALBUM RELEASE | MANPHIBIAN MUSIC

CHALI 2NA | MANPHIBIAN MUSIC Jurassic 5 co-founder Charli 2na is back with Manphibian Music (Against the Current EP.2), the second musical instalment in his Against The Current multimedia project. Featuring eight tracks, the tape sees guest appearances from the likes of Akil the MC, CX, Delly Ranx, Garfield, Jack Spade, Laid Law, Nigel Hall, Ozomatli and Charliâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son, Jeru-Salaam, with beats by Adam Deitch (for Fyre Dept.), Bionik, DJ Dez Andres, Emile, Eric Krasno (for Fyre Dept.), I Am Nobody and Vitamin D. Available to stream via DJ Booth, you can also purchase it on the site via the link below: www.djbooth.net/index/albums/review/chali-2na-manphibian-music-atc-ep2


R E V O LT / R E P O R T

Q&A

URBAN-FLAVORED DISTORTED REALISM HIP-HOP ART

Justin BUA


[FOLLOW JUSTIN BUA] Twitter @JustinBUA

R E V O LT / R E P O R T

cohesion between punk rock movement and hip-hop movement because they are very anti-establishment, there are counter cultural, they are actually against the grain counter cultural movements. One can even argue that Hip-Hop is the status quo, there’s nothing more status quo of than Hip-Hop, when Eminem gets on the radio and sings with Rihanna , he is the status quo, he is what’s popular, he is obviously generating a tremendous amount of revenue and income from his music and he is being played on the top. But, would you consider Eminem Hip-Hop? I talked to ICE-T, Run DMC & Melle Mel and they’ve said that he’s a legitimate hip-hop pioneer. It’s a very hard line to walk and one can not define it ; but what you can say though is that the manufacturing of Hip-Hop (Eminem on a Rihanna song, etc..) and you are creating it for the purpose of making money, so it’s not originating with the social and meaningful origins. It’s just kind of coming from an origin of capitalist with an intention to make money. When I was growing, we couldn’t do that because there was no money to be made!...(Laughs) and that’s why break-dancing is part of hip-hop. Dancing because you’re not making as much money is always going to be more underground , it will always be raw, you can not monetize it that easily.

What got you into Hip-Hop culture? Nothing really got me into it because I was kind of there. It was the consequence of my surroundings, Just growing up in NY city being from the upper west side, I started a block away from Rock Steady Park, which is where some of the best and first BBOYS were dancing. I was by default in the game, whatever was going on, I was a part of it. What’s your view on Underground and Commercial Hip-Hop? That’s a hard thing. It’s always changing. Take LORD , she was an indie start, the radio got a hold of her, she is now a Pop Star. The same thing can be said about the Rolling Stones and the Beatles . The fault is not really on the groups that are going for mainstream. That is not an indicator of what hip-hop is and hip-hop is not; but I think the real energetic spirit of hip-hop is a very subversive, irreverent movement that is rebelling against the status quo, so in a lot of ways there is a fundamental

Your style is distorted urban realism. What does that mean? Distorted realism changed to urban realism and keeps going back and forth. My work is so stylized: a stylized interpretation of the world. It’s a predecimal lense that I see the world through it. It is stylized, it is enhanced and exagerated and I think that’s a direct result of the world I am from. Tell us about your book “The Beat of Urban Art”? The Beat of Urban Art is basically kind of synopsis and story of my life. It takes you on a journey of my turbulent youth through the hip-hop culture before it was called “hip-hop”, when it was just a growing cultural phenomena and how I witnessed it by portraying it in my work, it became part of my world and many people’s worlds.

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


:: BEATS, RHYMES & RELIEF ::

NGO BREAKING BOUNDARIES THROUGH MUSIC & ARTS 1. How does it feel that you guys have an event during the SXSW? Beats, Rhymes & Relief, a US based NGO using music and the arts as a social development tool, is organizing a night of conscious hip-hop to take place parallel to the SXSW festival. Annually, SXSW attracts over 45,000 people from around the country interested in film, music, technology, and innovation for a week of events and showcases. On March 15, 2014, Beats, Rhymes and Relief is hosting We Are Hip Hop, “a night of conscious hip hop,” engaging over 15 artists and performers from around the country. SXSW is a great opportunity for us to engage a larger audience in a fun evening of social consciousness and the arts. This is a great opportunity for us as we founded Beats, Rhymes and Relief with the belief that the arts can be transformative. It can be the force behind uniting peoples across geographic, linguistic, social boundaries for ‘social good’.

When we hear the term hip hop in mainstream, it is a genre that is often associated with vulgarity and socially demeaning language against women and racial monitories, etc. The We Are Hip Hop concert is organized as a showcase to display talents of underground artists from around the US. Lyrics of artists are socially conscious and talk to values of community, diversity, anti-violence, youth

engagement and importance of social development. The event headliner is Talib Kweli, world famous Brooklyn-based rapper who earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to engage in the last 20 years. “My music has been associated with those types of causes, with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such,” says Kweli on his website. As part of the showcase we will have an engaging discussion with industry leaders on ‘The Conscious Mind & Community Engagement’ featuring a Silicon Valley tech app developer, community activist, philanthropist and blogger. The focus of the conversation will be on the intersection of music and social engagement. Our main goal is to engage people in a fun night of entertainment and impact.


[FOLLOW BRR] www.facebook.com/BeatsRhymesRelief www.beatsrhymesandrelief.org Twitter @rhymes4relief

F E A T U R E

There is a saying that I love by Bono: “Music can change the world because it can change people.” As I see it, music is the tool. Transformation happens with your ability to touch lives with messages.

2. How did you manage to get in contact with Talib? My co-founder and I have been in the entertainment industry for a long time, and we have built a great network of people who believe in the work of Beats, Rhymes & Relief. We are firm believers in collaborations and partnerships. One of our flagship programs is Making Beats Count which is a county wide contest engaging local artists in major US cities around the shared vision of the power of music to build societies. The most recent city to enter the contest was NYC, where we partnered with the Universal Zulu Nation during the 40th anniversary of Zulu and the 39th birthday of hip hop to put on an event with Afrika Bambaataa. One of our friends from Zulu Nation, connected us with Talib Kweli’s manager and the rest is history. We confirmed his performance for us within 2 days. We are honored to have him a part of our show. This shows the power of working together—which is at the core of our organizations mission. 3. Can music save souls? I strongly believe that music is medicinal. It can be inspirational, uplifting, relaxing, engaging. On the flip side, it can be destructive, negative

and detrimental to society. That is why we have chosen it as a tool for engagement. I think it has power to transform. We are in the early stages of our programming, however I have seen the music touch the children and youth we have worked with in our community engagement events. Music is something they can relate to. They can feel. They can dance to. It engages them in a deep way that they are seemingly mesmerized by. These very artists that they are engaged with then become powerful instruments to speak to them about constructive things like friendship, community, the importance of education and family. Sadly, messages that a lot of youth do not get often.

4.Your work is inspirational. tell us more about your event “Music for humanity” ? & its importance? Our mission at Beats, Rhymes & Relief is to utilize the arts to raise awareness and support for global humanitarian efforts. We are utilize the arts to inspire action for social change. This event during SXSW will start off with a panel discussion with topics about consciousness in HipHop, philanthropy through the arts, and technology and music. We are bringing in some incredible individual to have a thought provoking conversation that will hopefully inspire many. Throughout the night we will have artists from across the country to entertain us with some amazing underground conscious hiphop. In between performances we will be engaging the audience by speaking about different global issues and the importance of positive messaging in music. It will show people you don’t have to be vulgar to entertain and have a good time.


5. If you would summarize BRR in one word - what would it be? This question is definitely toughest to answer. I am going with “Authentic” 6. How can the community that is outside of the US help out & be involved in your events? There are many ways the international community can help. Beats Rhymes & Relief is here to support causes globally. We are gearing up to begin organizing our first annual celebrity benefit concert for the fall of 2014 in Washington DC. The first year we will be focusing on humanitarian relief in Syria. Since 2011, the humanitarian crisis is Syria has been getting progressively worse. The High Commissioner for Refugees at the United Nations considers Syria the most dangerous conflict since the Cold War, with over 140,000 dead, more than 9 million in need of humanitarian aid (almost have the whole population), 2.4 million refugees, and over 6.5 million internally displaced. Over 50% of the refugees are under the age of 18, woman and children make up over 75% of the refugee population. Syria has also lost over 3 million houses, over 250 hospitals, over 3000 schools, and over 1500 houses of worship. Our goal is to humanize global humanitarian issues. Through celebrity benefit concerts, we invite people to come enjoy their favorite artist, while also supporting a cause. Literally highlighting the “FUN” in FUNdraiser. The idea is to engage wider audiences and spread awareness by ‘preaching beyond the choir’ – no pun intended. Each year the cause will change. We are a volunteer based organization and the success of our work relies on our ability to engage volunteers. We are always looking for creative fundraising ideas, people to join our volunteer team to help organize benefit concerts, and connections to celebrities and artists who can stand behind our brand and behind fundraising for a cause they are passionate about. Even if people cannot

commit to helping, spreading the word is always very appreciated! We live by the motto that no donation is every too small—and none is ever too big! We call out to those who believe in our mission and the power for music to reach out and join us in our efforts. To date, all of our fiscal support comes from my pocket and that of my co-Founder, Rameen. 7. Any last words to all re-volt magazine readers. First, I would like to say that our Team at BRR highly respect and love Re-Volt Magazine. Big Hass has been so supportive, without people like him we could not get very far with our mission. To the incredible readers of Re-Volt I would like to ask you to spread the word and join us on our journey to making change through the arts. We at BRR encourage anybody from anywhere to reach out to us to see how you can be a part of Beats, Rhymes & Relief. Every city we have gone to we have appointed a local ambassador to keep our mission going, but that does not mean places we have not gone to cannot take a head start. We would love to

share our resources and knowledge to help anybody that wants to make a difference. Lastly, on a personal note: believe in yourself. As Eleanor Roosevelt reminds us: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


LOCAL FLAVA’ | BOOK

TASTING THE SKY A Palestinian Childhood

In this groundbreaking memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of life as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home. Transcending the particulars of politics, this illuminating and timely book provides a telling glimpse into a little-known culture that has become an increasingly important part of the puzzle of world peace.

Ibtisam BARAKAT

A Palestinian-American author, poet, translator, artist and educator. Her memoir, (FSG, 2007) won more than 20 awards and honors and is currently available in six languages. Al Ta’ Al-Marbouta Tateer (The Letter Ta Escapes), her book in Arabic about one letter of the Arabic alphabet who refuses to do what it is supposed to do in a word, won the Anna Lindh Foundation prize for best Arabic literature for young readers, 2011. She is the founder of Write Your Life seminars. Ibtisam represented Palestine in the World Poetry Conference in Venezuela, 2009; was the poet of Women Speak International Gathering 2010, and was a delegate to the 3rd UN conference on ending Racism in South Africa. She’s one of the 15 international authors who contributed to Amnesty International’s Young Adult Anthology, FREE?, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For two years, 2010 and 2011, she was also one of the judges in the national finals of Poetry Out Loud, the poetry recitation contest for all of high schools in the US and the Islands, run by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. About 235 thousand students participated in Poetry Out Loud in 2010. A selection of Ibtisam’s poetry has been put to music and has become a permanent addition to the repertoire of the Boston Children’s Chorus. In 2013 she completed the manuscript of Balcony on the Moon, the sequel for Tasting the Sky, and another book in Arabic.

Tasting the Sky, Ibtisam Barakat’s childhood memoir, is winner of more than 20 awards and honors, including the International Reading Association’s Best Non-Fiction for YA (2008), IRA teachers Choice Award, IRA Book for a Global Society; Middle East Council Best Literature Book Award (2007), USBBY Outstanding International Book, Arab-American National Museum Book Award for YA and children; Cybils (Bloggers) Best Non-Ficiton for YA and Children Book Award,and it is an American Library Association Notable Book and New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Tasting the Sky is now available in several languages. Currently, Ibtisam is working on a sequel for Tasting the Sky, to continue the story through the years of adolescence. In progress also is a book of poems.


s p o t f . y . i .

Photo credit | Fawaz Munchi Instagram @foza817


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[FOLLOW ASHEKMAN]

www.facebook.com/ASHEKMANstreetart Twitter @ASHEKMANstreet

ASHEKMAN \\ LEBANESE GRAFFITI WIZARDS


LOCAL FLAVA’ | ASHEKMAN // STREET ART

ASHEKMAN | Photo credit Karim SAKR

Graffiti is not only a beautiful drawings on a wall. It reflects a message. As Ashekman crew, what are the message you try to portray in your work? ASHEKMAN twins were born in the early 80’s in Beirut, a city torn by civil war, riots, terrorist bombings, revolutions and several invasions by Israel, our existence as street artists started as an normal response to all whats happening and to make the morally destroyed city a better looking place. Our main message is freedom of speech, we convey social and political messages in an intellectual way, we are nicknamed the underground intellect for this reason, where we tackle differnt topics in a witty way to surpass censorship and limitations... Are you getting support from the local community? We are getting tons of support from the local community since we are making their neighborhood a better place to live in without asking anything in return, plus our messages on the walls are making beirut an outdoor art gallery, reviving Beirut cultural and historical hertitage in a modern and creative style.

Who do you guys listen to while drawing? Most of the time, we don’t listen or put any music on, we need to keep our ears and focus on the surroundings, since when we re doing a graffiti we know that its not a fun party but its an act that you may get punished by the police, political parties or even the militias... Any new projects you would like to announce? Besides releasing Ashekman/DjLethal Skillz newest videoclip this month, we are working on a huge project this summer, it will showcase Ashekman creativity in Arabic street art, Our slogan is the street is ours, and this is what we are going to achieve through our art, no need for guns and bombs just ideas and spray cans... Stay tuned! Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


F E A T U R E

ARABIAN KNIGHTZ | Egypt’s most prominent hip-hop group 1. Give us a quick background on Arabian Knightz? Long story short, we’re 3 guys that met in Cairo through the love we had for hip hop. Summer of 2005 we started a cypher that led to recording a few tracks and the rest is history. We were blessed enough to be pat of the pioneering forces of hip hop in the region and watch it grow into what it is today. 2. How is the Hip-Hop scene in Egypt? The scene is doing okay.. There a lot of new rappers getting some light at the moment and the music itself has become some what accepted and a normal part of the youth culture. And from where we started that’s a really long way. But at the same time there’s a lack of support for each other. A lot of jealousy and hate for no reason. We addressed a few issues recently and the next move inshallah is to unite more of the positive forces in the movement and start working together with them and take this music to another level.

3. What made you guys decide to choose the “political” path especially that its the “ unpopular” path? Well, we don’t like putting certain titles to the type of music we do. We usually rap how we feel and reflect what is happening around us and in the region. And it just so happens that the major issues around us all is a political one. So we express or opinions honestly about the situation through our music and hope to make a positive change in the ideas of the people or as far as our music can reach. But at the same time, we have fun with our music, and just as all poets do we enjoy a little battle here and there to sharpen the skills a bit. 4.Your sounds & vibes were very active during the upraising in Egypt. Would you say that the people of Egypt now have a better understanding of Hip-Hop than before? Of course, they understand it more and they respect it more and they appreciate it more and they see that it talks about them and represents them more than any other music ... They are not naive or new to this , they have a good enough taste to realise who is real and who is fake..


[FOLLOW ARABIAN KNIGHTZ] TWITTER @ARABIANKNIGHTZ

5. Do you think music can change someone’s life? I definitely believe that it can spark or inspire a change, as it did to myself as well as most of the people that I know , they have all been affected by a song they hear or a lyric. So yes I can agree with that. Music has changed our lives as a group and it has helped change and form many peoples opinions about politics , race and other issues around the world Even the past 3 years hiphop has helped keep the youth and our generation away from falling into the media lies about what was going on. We were the real reporters of our generation 6. What would you say is the highlight of your career as a group? Therese quite a few, for example being blessed enough to travel to many places around the world to share our music. Representing Egyptian hip hop with names like Paul McCartney and Damon Alburn with Rush in the UK, but I (Sphinx) still think the best is yet to come inshallah. We got a few i guess at least to me so its safe to have each of us answer this one Karim Rush: working with fredwreck from the get go ; without that non of this would have taken part as well as it did. 7.You get booked to perform in Europe a lot. When is the last time you actually got booked to perform in Arabia? A few months ago we had a show on Ratata show(Lebanese Entertainment Show) which was shot in Beirut and we really loved and enjoyed the stay there but we didn’t get a concert there. 2012 we had some shows in Qatar and inshalah next April we will be doing more shows in Qatar and hopefully Dubai with Eslam Jawaad as well and we hope to go to Tunis and Morocco this summer as well 8. What is Arab League Records? What Does it represent? & What is it going to give the Arab World? Arab League Records is a movement not a record label. Its an idea of unity throughout the region with our music and being able to share ideas and stories with rappers from other countries & get people more aware of what’s happening right next door. So I hope the Idea can inspire the youth to follow in those footsteps and really get to know our brothers sisters next door. It is our circle of talents. We have rappers/producers/film-makers,Graphic Designers, etc..Stay tuned to Arab League!

F E A T U R E

9. What is your message to the Egyptian people now? The same it has been. To wake up!! After all we have been through in the past 3 years they still haven’t realized what they need from a government. We have been divided in so many ways as people and it saddens me. But I pray and stay optimistic and say its part of the course we need to take to finally reach where we need to be as a people. By making these mistakes now and being able to figure out these problems early on. We can fix them and really get to where we need to go as a nation. 10. Who are you guys listening to at the moment? A lot of different stuff, it ranges from local rappers like MC.Amin to groups like slaughterhouse and other genres like nirvana and sublime. Most recently I have been introduced to some of the rock coming out of Jordan and the music is really good. And hopefully we can fuse more of these underground genres together and hear some nice collabos in the near future. Rush: Follow my online radio show “Rush Hour” on Radio16bar.com (Every 2 weeks) 11.You have released the Uknighted State of Arabia. How has the feedback been? The feedback has been great. We had a really great time making that song and getting know all of these really great rappers from the region. Seeing many tracks come after with the same idea so its a great feeling to see so many others artist sharing this idea ofunity around the middle east and I am looking forward to the sounds that come out next. 12. Do you feel rappers in the Arab World understand The Hip-Hop as a culture & not only a music genre? A lot of them do, but at the same time many don’t. But its all good that should change soon as more people with the right idea of showing the rest. We have started doing workshops with a lot of the young MC’s in Egypt to help enhance the local sounds. 13. Tell Re-Volt Magazine something not a lot of people know of you. Personally I want to say thank you to all the people that have supported what we do for so long. Its there support that helped us get as far as we have. And another thank you to all the haters that keep us on our toes. We love you all.


s p o t f . y . i .

[FOLLOW GHOFRAN] instagram.com/ghofransh twitter.com/itzFrannyy

Artwork: The Heart|Ghofran SHAKER


Artwork: The Lizard|Ghofran SHAKER


SINGLE RELEASE | CHECKPOINT

JASIRI X | CHECKPOINT Up-and-coming Pittsburgh Emcee Jasiri X releases ‘Checkpoint,’ a chilling music video documenting his experience visiting Palestine in 2014. The video features footage Jasiri himself captured of Israeli soldiers, as well as newsreel clips of IDF brutality against Palestinians and internationals. Buy the track here \\\ http://jasirix.bandcamp.com/releases


ON THE GO | Q&A Maurice DANIEL

How did you get into Hip-Hop? I got into hip-hop being around my older brother, my older sister and some of their friends. And from there, it was just everywhere I seemed to go. My entire neighborhood was rocking to hip-hop, you go to the park, cars blasting hip-hop rolling by. It just seemed to be everywhere for me so it was inescapable. As far as me rhyming, I wrote my first rhyme when I was ten. I guess my cousin and I were just bored at the time so we decided to write some raps, and we recorded it on a cassette tape. We went in on Da Brat’s So Funkdafied. I got some good reactions from it then but I didn’t think much of it at the time. But I never stopped writing. As I got older and developed my craft, I got a lot of reactions that made me think this is real, this could potentially be something.

Is Radio play as important as before? It is somewhat but it isn’t any more if that makes sense. It depends on what your goals are as an artist. I think we all want to reach as many people as possible and being on the radio is a great way to expose your music to a lot of people. But for me, the feeling of my music is extremely important. I would rather people know that my soul went into a project and for people to get goose bumps when they hear something that they relate to. Until I can come up with that magical song that does just that but still has radio potential, I would just rather do what means the most to me. But the beautiful thing for artist like me is that the internet has given us access to a lot of listeners and connected people far apart. There seems to be no limit to who you can reach and where now. This interview is a perfect example of that.

What are your thoughts on Hip-Hop culture nowadays? I feel like hip-hop is in a beautiful space. You can be exactly who you are and make a brand of just doing you. I’m not a fan of the politics that go into becoming a well-known and widely accepted artist, or the feeling that you have to appeal to a certain type of listener to get radio play, but with the internet I find the type of music that I want to listen to in a wide variety. So, hiphop is alive and well to me. I love seeing hip-hop being represented in a so many different ways and being able to have choices in what I listen to. Plus it’s just a lot of dope music out right now. I think we’re in the midst of another golden era of hip-hop.

Your flow is soulful & smooth.What inspires you? Soulful music and music that has feeling, more than just nodding your head, more than just a catchy hook, this has always been what moves and inspires me. So it’s only natural for me to want to make what moves me, and create the same feeling that I felt the first time I heard Kanye’s College Dropout, or the first time I heard Nas’s Second Childhood or Stay, Tribe Called Quest Electric Relaxation, I could go on for days. Those types of projects, songs, they meant the world to me. I’m just trying to give the same thing back to anyone who listens to my music. Other than that, beautiful women, dope visuals (photos, videos, etc.), artwork, good books, those are the types of things that inspire me.


[FOLLOW MAURICE] Twitter @myshoesreece

Q&A

New School Philosopher

MAURICE DANIEL Is it important to get signed under a label to get noticed? It helps but it’s not the end all be all. I think hard work and music that people can really connect to is just as important. There so many different ways to get noticed in today’s game, the trick is timing, the right product, and the right team behind you. Tell us more about “From the very bottom of my soul” and “Here I go.” How was the writing process? “From The Very Bottom Of My Soul” is quite possibly my favorite song that I’ve made. I actually wrote that song on New Year’s Eve going into 2013. The process for most of my songs usually just begins with a thought that crosses my mind as I’m writing or something that I may have been thinking about earlier in the day, or something or someone who crossed my path and said something inspiring. But it’s usually always an organic process. I write to the beat on the spot and let it pull whatever I am thinking or feeling out of me. Same with “Here I Go”. I think that was birthed out of frustration a little bit though. Tell Re-Volt Magazine something not a lot of people know about you. I worked at a women’s clothing store once as a stocker, receiving shipments of clothes and putting them away. I was in between jobs and my cousin was a manager there so she hooked me up. It was weird at first, but then I realized I was surrounded by beautiful women all day long. You can’t complain about that, and I was getting paid so…

Who are you listening to at the moment? Funny that you asked that. When I’m getting to know someone I always ask this same question. I think the answer says a lot about who a person is. I’m listening to Skyzoo really heavy. Ode To Reasonable Doubt is dope. I’m also listening to Action Bronson and Jamla Is The Squad. Oddisee from out of D.C is dope too, I listened to Tangible Dreams a couple times a day from beginning to end when I first got it. Joey Bada$$ as well, too much for me to name it all but those are some of the regulars on repeat for the moment. Would you collaborate with an Arabic Hip-Hop Artist? Absolutely. Anyone who is serious about this I’m down to work with. What does Hip-Hop mean to you? Life. Hip-hop is the language of my soul…

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


ON THE GO

Q&A

‘LUCIFER EFFECT’ - COLLABORATION TRACK

Edd ABBAS & Jibberish Listen to ‘LUCIFER EFFECT’

Edd: The inspiration for the production and lyrics came when Jibberish mentioned the Lucifer effect Theory: the most exposed individuals to this theory usually are the people whom are put on top of the pyramid or handed Power over a certain community and tend to use it negatively and sometimes destructively toward others. Ironically couple of months ago, I’d released a track titled “Hazzoura”*(Riddle), where I played the role of those devilish thoughts that come to any human’s mind every now and then. So, on the track, I was trying to pull the rest of the believers in this world - which are very few - towards the dark side, and I ended the song with a question: ‘Who am I?’... Hence comes the title “Hazzoura”(Riddle). So, you can say I was still in devil mode and Jibb’s idea attracted me straight up: I started with a draft of the beat and then wrote a verse while tackling a religious angle. When Jibb sent me his verse and I heard it, the subject was tackled differently and took more of a political approach and how the theory affects Dictators.

So, I had to write another verse where I took Jibb’s direction and I picked another Dictator to expose. The president of the United States was the victim in my text: not only the current president, but the position itself which makes people believe that they live under a democracy when they’re actually living under a dictatorship. So, I got on it and tried to finish it as soon as possible because I had other tracks lined up, some future collabos and a PS3 game to finish which was “Batman: Arkham Origins” (recommended for all the gammers) re-volt mag: Jibb, what are the messages discussed in your tracks in general? Jibb: My stuff are mostly reflections on self or personal views. I’ve experimented with pure creative writing and storytelling pieces here and there. I like the idea of keeping things grounded and making a connection with people through the rhymes - as in building kinship with people. I used to do a lot of braggadocio rhyme type stuff but I’m moving away from that. I think as I get older I find that kind of thing is not in alignment with who I want to be as a person. When I do get into just spitting straight

Photo credit Nadim Kamel

Photo credit Nadim Kamel

re-volt mag: Edd, what inspired to produce and rap on this track “Lucifer”?


Edd was quick on the beat, I got the rough draft within a few days. I did a bit more reading in the meantime, to get my head in the right place. I think Edd had already done his verse as well and he said we needed to be quick on it because there was this game he was trying to finish - I think it was Red Dead Redemption? Anyway, I wrote and recorded it and sent it over. I chose a more prose based format for the verse and kept the voice calm since I was approaching the topic as someone asking a question rather than accusing. Edd had to re-write his verse because the content wasn’t quite matching with his, and then he sent it back with the hook and the bass line and all the good stuff. Then it was a matter of doing the artwork and mixing down and Edd got that sorted really quickly. Feedback has been extremely positive Hamdulillah. I think the collaboration was unexpected by those that follow both of our work. All the more reason for it to have happened in my opinion. The Middle East’s Hip-Hop artists are separated by borders, but it’s all one movement. I’ve been flying solo out here for long time, only messing with a few close people here and there. I forgot that music is a social thing too, and that collaboration can take you further both physically and in spirit.

bars though, I prefer to focus on the melodic & rhythmic aspects rather than punchlines. My philosophy is that the best lines come when you just focus on writing well. re-volt mag: Edd & Jibb: Tell us how did this project came together? Who approached who first? And how has the feedback been? Jibb: I was chatting with a friend of mine Khaled and somehow the topic of doing collaborations with other artists came up. I think he was showing me some of the Fareeq Al Atrash material. I remembered I had Edd on twitter or facebook and he had met my other friend Wriggly Scott. So I hit him up on the FB and we got to talking. The process was interesting because we scratched off the idea of just going in on bars immediately - boring, same old same old. I recall asking him what had been on his mind recently that I could perhaps relate to. He first mentioned Syria and Bashar Al Aassad. It tied in with recent thoughts I had been having about what it must feel like to have the blood of so many people on your hands, and at what point power corrupts your basic humanity. I told him about ‘the Stanford experiment’ by Phillip Zimbardo and the subsequent book titled ‘The Lucifer Effect’. This then became our angle of approach for the subject matter and the title of the track.

Shout out to Lebanon by the way. Toofless was down there for a show recently and said you guys are hype! Edd: As mentioned previously by Jibb, the process was quick and fun although it was a serious track. When I had a first draft, I sent it to Lebanese producer/ designer Omar el Feel aka Elepheel and asked him to do the artwork. He agreed and delivered the artwork two days later: me and Jibb fell in love with it at first sight! It reflected properly what the track was all about. As soon as I finished mixing it, I sent it to the studio to get it finalized and make it loud. Here I would like to give a shoutout to Sam Mukka who did a great job mastering the track, courtesy of Oneeleven Studios in Beirut, plus we got a new joint which is coming out real soon titled “Souad” (on a side note) produced by myself & Sam Mukka, so stay tuned. I’d like to thank the internet as well because it made collaborations easier and brought similar minds from all over the world closer to each other. *link to “Hazzoura” on Soundcloud Featuring one of the underground musicians in Lebanon Mahmoud Ramadan (Bass & Electric Guitar) Produced by Edd ABBAS https://soundcloud.com/user4061729/hazzoura

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


WE KEEP OUR ENVIRONMENT CLEAN & HEALTHY

Excursion adventures all around the Arabian Peninsula according to the seasons (daytrip & multi-day trip) Entertainment Activities Off-roading | Scuba-Diving Geocaching | Historical site seeing and more... www.nomadarabia.com


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Young Artist :: Salwa ALI ::

“For someone who can express a flood of emotions in just an artwork, I seem to be at loss for words when it comes to talking about myself. So, allow me to talk about myself, using art as my crutches. I like to shatter the walls of banality to pull out my raw perspective for everyone to see. To me, art is a way of survival, for without it, I don’t know where I’d be.To me, art is an identity.” Instagram: ali_salwa Flickr.com/ali_salwa www.alisalwa.wordpress.com


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Salwa Ali ©


F E A T U R E

[FOLLOW ETERNIA] Twitter @therealEternia

ETERNIA | The cutting-edge female MC Two time Juno-nominated and widely considered one of Canada’s foremost lyricists, Eternia continues to knock down barriers & trail-blaze across the globe for Canadian Hip Hop music. Eternia has toured extensively in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia, & Europe; those that are lucky enough to catch her on stage credit her as one of the best live performers they have witnessed. She has been billed with superstars such as Nas, Damian Marley,Wu-tang Clan, Missy, Snoop Dogg, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, EPMD, KRS One, Common, Joell Ortiz, Blackthought, Pharoahe Monch, Black Sheep, Immortal Technique, MC Lyte, Ras Kass, Ice-T, Jay Electronica, Bahamadia, Roxanne Shante, Necro, Saukrates, Jully Black & many more. In 2010, Eternia released her 5th full-length recording on Fat Beats Records with “DJ Premier affiliated Canadian super-producer MoSS” (NOW Magazine).The Juno-nominated “AT LAST” was met with critical acclaim, featured guest appearances by some of Hip Hop’s elite - Ras Kass, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage, Jean Grae, Joell Ortiz,Termanology, Reef the Lost Cauze & more – and was named one of the Top 25 Albums of 2010 by the legendary DJ Premier. From The Source Magazine to Hot 97, from the NY Daily News to NPR, from Toronto to Berlin, from NXNW to SXSW, from the Juno Awards to Paid Dues: 2011 is undeniably the year of Eternia... AT LAST. 2010:The Year of “AT LAST”


What inspired you to get into Hip-Hop at such an early age? It was just a natural progression, no decision. But inspiration? My brother is 2 years older, so when I was around 8, he was listening to NWA, 2 Live Crew, PE, LL Cool J, Run DMC, stuff that a white kid in Canada could get his hands on at the time. That was how the seed was planted. I was rapping since around then, but started writing my own lyrics and coppin’ my own music around 4 years later; the Native Tongues era… The rest is history. I believe there are a lot of female Hip-Hop artists in the scene; but no much coverage? Do you agree and if so why? Yes to both points. It’s hard to say why but we can theorize, which I hesitate to do. It’s likely due to a complex intersection of a bunch of different factors, from the boys club mentality, to the professionalism of the artists, to the quality of the music, to what people find ‘newsworthy’ and to what audience the media is catering to... The list goes on and on. I mean, it’s never just one thing you know? I think what is important to note is female emcees are not rare. We are and have been...EVERYWHERE! At every rap show. Honest. It’s the case at least in North America, now. What happens after that is your guess as good as mine. Take us through your writing process? Especially that the topics you write about that are important to Humanity, women’s rights? My writing process has changed a lot over the years. I used to hide myself up in a bathroom to write, if I was in a room full of folks in a studio session. I hated writing around people. Now I love movement (trains, buses, planes, walking) and activity around me when I write. The movement around me I find helps move my thoughts. I used to write in a rhyme book, I still have those, but I also love writing in my droid cell now. I find my rhyme patterns totally changes depending on the medium I’m using to write. About the content, well, my ‘rough drafts’ of concepts are actually conversations I have with friends, ideas from books I’ve read, wisdom I’ve heard, universal spiritual truths that make sense of life experiences. I’ll chop it up with my friends, have clarifying conversations, and then, once I think I’ve wrapped my head around an idea, I would write it all down in a verse or song in one take, no edits. It marinates in my head and convo for weeks or months, than when it’s ripe the fruit is ready and I finally write it down.

Your thoughts on Hip-Hop now-a-days? I don’t listen to much hip-hop. Straight up. I’m out of the loop on purpose. However, I am around friends that listen to a lot: djs, collectors, aficionados, so I’m kinda blessed and lazy when it comes to music hunting.They will all play me stuff that’s dope, and if I really really like it I’ll make sure I get my own copy. Why do you think there’s no balance on radio/tv especially when it comes to music? Aw man. Lots of reasons. People that run commercial tv/ radio are really caring more about quarterly returns, not quality of music they play. It’s a business, not art. Also a lot of PD’s lack courage, they’re followers and think they know what people wanna hear. They do have good taste themselves, but feel pressure to play what they think they’re expected to play. I dunno man. It’s one of those things where once a dope artist proves that music that is reflective, intelligent, has depth can still be mass consumed (ie. Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, back in the day, most recently Shad in Canada...) Then all the PD’s jump on board u know?

Photo credit Joscelyn Tarbox


Photo credit Jason Rodriguez

formed and people come together. At least, I do my best to make music that way. I think music is more powerful when there’s organic friendship and history to a song.

Is Radio Play as important as before? Not traditional commercial radio play, but definitely how people listen to music - whether that be satellite radio, or a pandora, or youtube, or another source. I notice a lot of mainstream major label artists investing in a lot of advertising and promo on online music sites, you know even Vevo. There’s promotions for Twitter feeds, etc... It’s happening just in a different way than before. The market is being monetized and quantified. If it’s not a number of spins, its a number of youtube views. Your intensity & passion on stage is inspirational. Where do you get it from? That’s God given :) I like a good show to meditation. I’m completely at peace, in the present and there is not a thought in my head beyond what I am doing in that second: mic and audience. it’s an amazing feeling.

What is your message to the female artists getting into the music industry? Know yourself. Know your boundaries. Know what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable, what you will and won’t do and be, before someone else comes along and tries to define it for you. I don’t think I reached the highest height of success musically there is, but I did reach all of my personal goals. That’s success to me, and a big part of that was knowing when to take advice, and when to stand my ground. knowing myself basically. Do you remember the first Hip-Hop track you heard? Hmm... I don’t know which was the very very first. But Full Force/UTFO - Roxanne Roxanne is an early early memory. A message to Re-Volt Magazine readers? Thank you for walking with me on my journey. And if this is your first time hearing of me, thank you for taking the time to get to know me in this article. TheRealEternia.com is a great place to get to know me more...

What are you currently working on? A life outside of the music industry *smiles* Nah but f ’real, that’s true! I have other callings, interests and passions and talents that I’m nurturing right now. I need a new challenge and so I challenged myself outside of the music industry. I think I will always make music when the Spirit moves me, but I’m not interested in releasing projects in order to scramble to get my bills paid, anymore - if that makes sense. It’s complimentary or supplementary to other things I am doing in my life. I still come when called, like Superwoman ;-) Ha When are we going to see you collaborate with an Arabic Hip-Hop Artist? I’m pretty sure I have! I’ve done so many collabs, I can’t even honestly keep track of them all, there’s no way I haven’t! But that being said, being that I’ve taken more of a relaxed approach to music making these days, my answer is: when they ask :) My approach to music making is very organic. I don’t go looking for this or that puzzle piece, things just happen as naturally as friendships are

Photo by Jason Rodriguez | Artwork by Chikolaev


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JAMEEL by Abdulrahman Nugamshi ‫ | عبدالرحمن النغيمشي‬Saudi Graphic Designer // Arabic Calligraffiti Artist // Painter Instagram/Twitter @nugamshi http://nugamshi.com/


LOCAL FLAVA’

[FOLLOW SAID DURRAH] Twitter @SaidsWorld

‫ة‬SAID‫در‬ ‫سعيد‬ ّ DURRAH COMEDIAN “Arab is Me”

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS AN ACTIVIST THROUGH COMEDY? Activism & Comedy - I honestly believe that anyone with a microphone and an audience has a duty to tell their story but also the stories of people who are not as fortunate to have that platform. I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t represent my people on the stage. I’ve had people tell me after a show that they may not have heard of me prior to that moment but they won’t forget me after they leave because true stories of culture and heritage are impossible to fabricate. You can feel it in my words and just before your laugh is over you realize the comedian in front of you just made the funniest point you have ever heard and it was definitely well taken. That is power. IS COMEDY A MEANS TO HELP BRIDGE CULTURES? Comedy & Cultures - I performed with the ‘Allah Made Me’ funny tour once and I found it incredible that half the

audience were non muslims. After the event they ran to us for pictures telling us how much they could relate. I looked at their faces realizing they looked nothing like me and they were from places like South America, Europe, and even Israel of all places. Who knew bridges could be built from a joke about my dad’s favorite restaurant or my mom’s favorite movie. AS COMEDIAN, WHO ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS? Inspirations - I consider myself a fast thinker, voice master, and story teller. That naturally makes me a fan of George Carlin, Robin Williams, and Bill Cosby. I am weird though because I get inspired by people in places that have nothing to do with comedy. I tend to step my game up when I perform with other big name comedians and I especially step my game up when I know a crowd may not appear open to listening to what I have to say. Even hecklers inspire me. I’m weird.


WHERE IS YOUR DREAM PERFORMING STAGE? My dream is to perform in Gaza Palestine. There is no 2nd place.

2010 - FIRST TIME I SAW YOU PERFORM WAS DURING A CHARITY EVENT IN WASHINGTON DC. OMAR OFFENDUM WAS PERFORMING THAT DAY TOO. IT WAS AUTHENTIC AND REAL! HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE CHARITY EVENTS? AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ARABIC HIP-HOP? I live for charity events. I hardly watch videos of that day or any of my youtube videos because I get sick and can’t watch because I’ve grown so much since 2011, 2012, or even last year. It’s not just for fun anymore. I feel it’s my job as a comedian to tell jokes but it’s my duty as an Arab or Muslim to go out there and help the people who can’t help themselves. If you call yourself ‘famous’ and you refuse to do a charity show then you are famous for nothing. My comedy is authentic and real because I’m not making fun of people based on a stereotype I read on the internet. I am not researching a joke but asking real Arabs or muslims what it means to be like them. My parents sit in the front row and tell people that the stories are real. Real hip hop is the same way. If you want to lie about what you did, what you have, and where you been, the listener will notice. Suddenly, you’ll notice that the audience hears you but they are not listening. Authentic rappers tell a true story and take you on a ride with their lyrics. Nobody wants to hear a commercial rapper just like nobody wants to hear a commercial comedian. If I wanted to hear random noise I could just clap my hands together and save the cost of that ticket or album.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR COMEDY CAREER? I have 3 major highlights in my career. Allowing my niece, Ayah, to perform a couple jokes on stage during her fight with cancer was number 1. The second was performing on Broadway in New York City and getting to wear my Palestinian Kuffiyeh on stage. I always perform with it. I never forget where I am from. Lastly is performing at all the events that raise money for our brothers and sisters in need all around the world. Always a highlight.

TELL RE-VOLT MAGAZINE SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU. Re-volt Mag readers may not know that comedians study. I study all the time. I don’t want to end up being the best Muslim comedian or the best Arab comedian. I want to be the best comedian I can... PERIOD. Too many people try to be the best of something that won’t change the world at all. Muhammad Ali didnt want to be the best Muslim boxer. Kareem didn’t want to be the best Muslim ball player. You can’t change anything by being the best singer in your own choir. If you want to change something then go out and crush every performance you can until people have no choice but to respect you. I bet people never thought so much goes into a joke.

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com


TALAL HASSAN FOUNDER / CREATIVE HEAD www.fn-k.com


ALBUM RELEASE | BLACK BANNERZ

BLACK BANNERZ | ‫ثورة موسيقية‬ {FOLLOW BLACK BANNERZ} www.facebook.com/BlackBannerz Listen here soundcloud.com/blackbannerz/sets/thawra-musiqia-the-album


COVER ARTWORK BY FNK ‫فنّك‬ Talal HASSANE Founder of FNK ‫فنّك‬ http://www.fn-k.com www.facebook.com/FNKart


LOCAL FLAVA’

‫م‬al‫دإ‬ed‫خال‬M

h tist K r A p o A H Q& -American Hip Libyan

What was your first interaction with Hip-Hop? Hip Hop has been a part of my life for as far back as my memory takes me. My uncles and others in my community used to put me on to music and lyrics that were probably advanced for my age. I was the only kid in elementary school looking up old Tupac lyrics and poems or listening to Nas. What inspired Khaled M? I’m inspired by struggle. I’m inspired by people who sacrifice worldly success and risk everything to stand by principle and fight for something they believe in. My father escaped jail in Libya in 1977, after 5 years of torture. He left the only family he ever knew and started a new life in another world. But the whole time he lived meagerly, dedicating himself to the fight for freedom back home and never truly settling in and focusing on getting money abroad.

Tell us about your collaboration with Iraqi/British MC Lowkey on the track “Cant Take Our Freedom”. How did that see the light? and what was the process like? This song came about during the early stages of Libya’s revolution. This was before media was allowed in the country, before NATO was involved, before people’s lives were political pawns. Gaddafi was literally slaughtering people with no end in site. I wanted to inform the world. I couldn’t wait for the media. We compiled footage of events there, much of it sent to us by Libyans from their cellphones. I approached Lowkey with the track, knowing he’d empathize with the humanitarian crisis and offer the song a wider audience. He was going through legal troubles at the time, and didn’t want to record anything controversial. He kept saying “I wish I could bruv”. I made him promise to just listen to the production (by Bliz Beats from Chicago). As soon as I turned on the instrumental, his eyes lit up, and I could see him immediately start mouthing words. The music was captivating, the message was necessary. We were on tour at the time. We wrote the song in Detroit, recorded it in Miami, and mixed it in Chicago. The rest is history!


some dark places together, but in the end we’ll come out better because of it. How much of your art is influenced by your Muslim Faith? Is Hip-Hop & Islam related? Islam has been the biggest influence on my life, by an infinite margin. However, I like to consider myself a recording artist who happens to be Muslim, not a “Muslim Recording Artist”. I don’t make nasheed or Islamic gospel music. I dont intend to shove anything down anyone’s throat. I just love sharing my perspectives on life, and I’m thrilled if it can create dialogue or spark interest in someone. With that said, I am conscious of my position and potential as a role model when making music. Islam has undoubtedly had an impact on hiphop, all the way back to its inception. I’m not going to list the dozens of MCs who are Muslim or rapped about Islamic ideology, but the info is out there for anyone who’s curious. What do you hope the youth understands from your music? Always be true to yourself and never feel pressure to follow the herd. Treat life as a constant journey of self improvement and reflection. The best ths aren’t always the easiest. Your dream performance stage is..? All my fans from around the world gathered in one place for a private concert. Do you think that its possible for a song to change someone’s life? People are influenced by all types of media they soak in on a daily basis. I once heard film producer Jerry Bruckheimer say something along the lines of “If I can just offer an escape for people to forget about all of their problems for two hours, I’ve achieved my goal”. I aim to do the exact opposite. I want to inspire people to face their issues head on. It can get uncomfortable, we may go to

Tell Re-Volt Magazine something that not a lot of people know about you. I’m a huge foodie. I love experiencing other cultures through food. When I reminisce about my travels the first thing I associate every city with is where the best food is there. I also love to get into the kitchen and throw down. I’m very conscious of what I put into my body.

Interview by Hassane DENNAOUI a.k.a. BIG HASS revoltmag1@gmail.com

[FOLLOW KHALED M] Twitter @thisisKhaledM


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R E V O LT / R E P O R T

‫َحرا َقة‬ َّ 7araga MODERN DAY NOMADS Written by Karmel [FOLLOW KARMEL] Twitter @KarmelPal paldiary.tumblr.com

A notion of “modern day” nomads/outlandish has been mutating among the youth of the Arab/Muslim world. It is a notion that leaves you wondering about your identity or how you would define yourself. Being from the east and the west of the Arab/ Muslim world, this matter of identifying oneself made me relate to a song recently released by The Narcicyst & Meryem Saci, called “7araga”. This song was like a projection of how I feel, think, and talk. Narcy, being originally from Iraq, and Meryem, being originally from Algeria, were like a representation of the west (North Africa) and the east (Middle East) of the Arab/Muslim world. The use of Arabic and English felt like how the youth are talking nowadays, foreign words here and there. This reflects how lost you might be if you are thinking with two languages. The lyrics were proudly identifying the artists with their origins. You can hear it in Meryem’s first line: “Who is she? /She is from the country of Sidi Abderrahman/an Algerian girl,” and even how they conclude their verses with “Assalamu 3alaykum, wa 3alaykum assalam.” To go back to the “modern day nomads” notion, this song can be seen straightforwardly from the perspective of the “Arab Youth Dream,” which is summed up in the idea of immigrating to the “West” for better life opportunities. In both countries of origin and of residence, these immigrants face the question “Are you one of them or one of us?” Even before immigration, the question of “How am I going to raise my children there?” rises. It is something that I have been increasingly noticing among my peers. This notion is reflected in the title as well, where

“7araga” are the people that immigrated to Europe (usually) illegally in what is called “boats of death” or by hiding in trucks and cars. It is a condescending term, so Meryem, who is Algerian-Canadian, is using it in her verse to express how her peeps back home see her. Therefore, the song reflects confusion, anger, and loss. However, it reflects also pride and decisiveness for taking their matters with their own hands, which are expressed through the medium of Hip Hop. You can notice it in the attitude felt in the flow of both artists. It is a type of classic, timeless 90’s Hip Hop flow, but in Arabic. It got these elements of Hip Hop battles: you identify yourself and where you are coming from, and then you go back to the facts to undermine how the other perceives you. They both go hard at it and prove that rapping and Arabic coincide perfectly. The beat is simple and conveys the aforementioned feelings with uncomplicated piano sound that repeats tirelessly. What grabbed my attention in the instrumental are actually the ‘woohs’ and ‘Ahs’ of a female vocal, I believe it is Meryem’s, and it was able to convey the mixture of feelings: loss on one hand, and hope on the other hand.


ALBUM RELEASE |Indigenous Soundwaves

NATIVE SUN | INDIGENOUS SOUNDWAVES http://nativesunofficial.bandcamp.com/album/indigenous-soundwaves http://nativesunmuzik.com/ http://www.facebook.com/NativeSunMuzik http://www.nativesunmuzik.tumblr.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/NativeSunTV Twitter @NativeSunMuzik


LOCAL FLAVA’ | Q&A Ahmad BUGHSHAN (a.k.a BUGSY)

Ahmad BUGHSHAN a.k.a. BUGSY |The Beat Sampler 1. Tell us about your first instrumental production? First of all “ ‫”بسم ااهلل الرحمن الرحيم‬ My first instrumental production was back in 2005/06: a track for Jeddah Legends Records where Qusai co­-produced the beat by the name of JL Anthem (Jeddah Legends Anthem). ­That’s not counting all production made before since they were all jingles, musicals and Jamming sessions back in 1998, and The Triple Beez in 2001 (alongside Bone and Benjamin) a collabo of guitarists with a mix of Rock, RnB and Flamenco music, based in Al-­Khobar. 2. You are famous for sampling Arabic tracks. What makes you want to do that? And how has the feedback been? The reason why I sample Arabic oldies is because I am really in love with OUR roots in music history and I am amazed how old tracks were so authentic and very educational to learn from, as a producer, since back then, most of the tracks were played live. The first feedback

was from Muna Amrasha and Abdulfatah elGrini, as Qusai collaborated in the song “Any Given Day”, which was produced in 2006-2007 and sampled from the (“Star of the East”) Om Kulthoum. 3. Who are the artists you would like to collaborate with? I would love to work with anyone who is into music so we can share each other’s knowledge and experiences in building that powerful product. 4. Where can people reach you? You reach me on Soundcloud, Facebook,Twitter and Instagram under @asbugsy 5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ‘N sha’ Allah, running one of the Major Records in Saudi Arabia, and hopefully teaching both Audio engineering and Music Business.


[FOLLOW MAJEED] Twitter @majeedsuave Instagram @majeedsuave

Q&A

MAJEED Saudi Hip-Hop Artist

1. What made you get into Hip-Hop? Hip-Hop made me get into hip hop, I fell in love with the music the first time I heard Kriss Kross when I was 5 years old. Eventually I gravitated towards what hip-hop actually stood for and how it can influence generations the same way the great emcees inspired me. It’s powerful and I just had to do it; it wasn’t a choice at that point. 2. How do you see the Hip-Hop scene in Saudi Arabia? The scene is growing and could only go up from here, we have a great amount of talent that are ready to take the scene to greater heights. It’s definitely in the works, but were overlooked for the most part partially because of the society we live in, but I’m sure things will change with time, Im just glad I could be a part of it.

3. Internationally. Name couple of artists you would like to collabo with? Citizen Cope, Nasir Jones and the Roots. 4. What does Hip-Hop mean to you? Hip-hop means everything to me. It’s a good way for me to express myself and introspect to help me cope with everything I go through. I love the art form and how I could really touch the people. It’s a beautiful thing. 5. Where can people reach you? and what’s coming up next for you? Twitter | Instagram @majeedsuave I’m also on YouTube and Soundcloud. My main project is a mixtape named “tomato soup”, but I have a little surprise before I release that.


‫مارك غونزالس‬

BEATING POETRY

<THE WHY> After traveling across fifteen countries, listening to stories of wounds and resiliency, each so painfully beautifully unique, a common request was identified: the need for new language and ways to understand ourselves. This is my offering to them, to you, and to all of us who have grown tired of the boring and bigoted ways people speak about the things we love.

<THE WHO> Mark Gonzales | @WageBeauty {Storytelling & Idea Design} Mohammed Aerosol Ali | @aerosolali {Muralist & Urbanography} Rory Barber | @roryjbarber {Cinematographer}

<THE ALCHEMY OF STORYTELLING > Mark Gonzales and Aerosol Ali A story of medicine for all you who have ever felt abused by discourses so damaging and boring, when what we need is beauty. We invite you to watch. We ask you to share. We love when we grow.


‫مارك غونزالس‬

BEATING POETRY

We live between crosses and crescent moons prayer rugs, cell blocks, and a ballot box prisoners and presidents resistance and resilience hope and a hurricane hope and a hangman hope and a hang noose. When our children are elders their children will call this time we live in “the era of wounded dreams” when systems openly assassinated imaginations. No one tells stories anymore. It›s as if we believe gravity is real & unicorns are not. We›ve swallowed the dust coated cyanide that tells us the narratives of invaders hold more truth than the memories of my grandparents. How damaged our belief systems are. We tell ourselves existence is resistance, not life is affirmation. to fight and write back, but not fight and dream forward to deconstruct empire but rarely blueprint ourselves it is as if we have forgotten that a nation is nothing more than a collection of narratives. A community does not make sense of the world thru statistics but stories and bigots are painfully unimaginative this is why they want to censor our culture they know they cannot compete with our creativity. So this is for you who dance write speak dream love exhale the work anew

who place starlight in the barrel of rifles and march against darkness militant sunflowers holding up your heart up like a hand grenade hummingbird in a hurricane with hope strapped to its core like it was c4. We remember the only reason we are alive is because we had at least one ancestor who refused to die and lived long enough to have children who did the same. This is our genetic inheritance remember this so dance indigo cultivate brilliance speak life name pain grow dreams & in times of terror... Wage Beauty.



RE-VOLT MAGAZINE ISSUE 05