This post was written by documentary photographer and filmmaker Laith Majali – a partner in the Amman-based production company – Immortal Entertainment. This story took place during a visit he paid to the Burj al Barajneh Palestinian Refugee camp South of Beirut to the homes of Yassin Qasem and Mohammad Turk – aka YaSeen and TNT of the rap group I-Voice (Invincible Voice). Editor’s note: In the years since this article was published the group has dispersed with YaSeen and TNT leaving Lebanon and their camp life there. They still love “the cause” and they LOVE hip-hop – producing music individually with an ocean and several countries in between. Enjoy Laith’s write-up as it really does touch something special in this culture of hip-hop.
By Laith Majali
This must have been my sixth visit to the Burj al Barajneh. Over the past couple of years i’ve come to this camp to document the life and art of two young Arab hip hop artists, Yaseen and TNT of I-Voice. (Invincible Voice)
I’ve felt that they represent one of the most important story lines in my visual documentation of the Arab hip hop movement. They were inspired by Palestinian hip hop groups at a young age and took to the mic to voice their opinions and thoughts on how it is to be living as a refugee.
Over the past two years I’ve seen them grow, I’ve seen their work improve while still working under the toughest conditions. I can’t remember a time where I visited their home studio in the camp and not had the electricity cut off on us.
This time around I wasn’t alone in my visit. Shadia Mansour , Lowkey and Dj The Last Skeptik were visiting I-Voice to collaborate on a track together. I made sure I got some portraits on the roof of Yaseen’s house as the sun was starting to set. Pigeons were flying all over the place and the view was beautiful as you can see.
For the next three days we were in the studio working on a track produced by I-Voice, all the artists were inspired by these birds that took to flight but always returned to their homes. I have to say, the beat that Yaseen produced is beautiful, i’m glad I was there to document some of the writing and recording process.
Very soon a part of their story is going to get seen at one of the world’s biggest music festivals, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. “Life from the BBC” a short documentary directed by Jackson Allers about their search for a power generator will be screened at the festival . Too bad they won’t be with us there.
Hopefully I’ll be posting some videos soon from this trip, once i get a chance to edit something together.
Thanks y’all for a great experience.
Peep the original post on Immortal Entertainment’s blog