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Saturday, March 9, 2013

In Context: Mic Check:
Hip-Hop from North Africa and the Middle East


Mic Check: Hip-Hop from North Afrcia and the Middle East comes to BAM this Saturday, March 9. Context is everything, so get even closer to Deeb, Amkoullel, Shadia Mansour, and El Général with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. After you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

On the Blog

El Général vs. El General 
The BAM Blog clears up any confusion between El Général, the Tunisian rapper, and El General, the Panamanian reggeton legend.

Five Questions for Deeb
The Egyptian rapper talks about performing in Tahrir Square, listening to Nas, and visiting the birthplace of hip-hop.

Amkoullel: A Hip-Hop SOS for Mali
Sophie Shackleton puts the Malian rapper in the context of Mali's rich musical tradition and current political strife.


“Despite Censorship, Mali’s Musicians Play On” (NPR)
"They just ask me to do a video with flowers and butterflies,” says rapper Amkoullel. “But we are not living with butterflies."

Amkoullel, Deeb, and Shadia Mansour on The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC)
Three Mic Check MCs discuss revolutionary rhymes with Brian Lehrer.

Amkoullel: Select Songs (SoundCloud)
Visit Amkoullel on SoundCloud, and purchase his music on iTunes.

Deeb: The Cold Peace (Bandcamp)
Listen to and download Deeb's most recent album.

El Général: Select Songs (ReverbNation)
The benchmark of Tunisian rap—stream and download music by El Général.

Shadia Mansour on MySpace
Sample songs by the Palestinian MC, and purchase her music on iTunes.

Articles, Interviews & More

Mic Check lyrics (
Lyrics to the Mic Check artists' songs, translated into English.

Interview with Deeb (
“Deep down, says Egyptian rapper Deeb, “you believe that what you are demanding is a human necessity.”

“The Mixtape of the Revolution” (The New York Times)
Rappers like El Général “are hoping to inaugurate a different kind of politics,” writes sociologist Sujatha Fernandes.

"Inside Tunisia's Hip-Hop Revolution" (Spin)
Spin rubs shoulders with "the most dangerous rapper in the world" and others.

“The Passion, Politics and Power of Shadia Monsour” (Rolling Stone)
Read more about the First Lady of Arab Hip-Hop, who’ll soon be bringing her “musical intifada” to Chuck D’s label.

“Troubadours of the Revolution” (Guernica)
The magazine profiles the rappers, beats, and lyrics that have been making waves in the Middle East.

"Rap Comes Home" (
What exactly are we celebrating when rappers like Deeb and Amkoullel come to BAM? A writer muses.

"Speaking Rap’s Universal Language in the Ferment of the Arab Spring" (The New York Times)
"The concert ... celebrated a courageous new forthrightness from Middle Eastern rappers."


Deeb’s rap was chanted by protesters in Tahrir Square during the recent Egyptian Revolution.

The “anthem of the Jasmine Revolution” addresses now-deposed Tunisian president Ben Ali.

Dead Prez’s M1 joins the “First Lady of Arabic Hip-Hop” to reclaim a piece of contested clothing.

Mali’s volatile political situation informs this anthem from the country’s torchbearing MC.

Worthwhile Words

"I was out on the streets [of Cairo] protesting since day one, January 25th. I heard about the protests from a Facebook event invitation, which was scheduled to be held on ‘Police Day’, a national holiday. I went down to Tahrir Square with no expectations; it was my first time demonstrating. I must say it was a scary scene seeing lines of police cued up to prevent the protesters from marching into Tahrir and ready to attack at any time. That fear disappears when you see the numbers of protesters increase and when deep down you believe that what you are demanding is a human necessity." —Egyptian rapper Deeb

Now Your Turn...

If you saw the show, what did you think? Keep the conversation going by commenting below.


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