In anticipation of the on-air date for my radio documentary “Rhymes to Revolution: A Soundtrack to the Arab Awakenings,” Beats and Breath will release articles in the next two days to preview some of the amazing material that will be covered during the 30-min feature. In the days following the July 4 air date, Beats and Breath will feature transcriptions of the longer format interviews conducted with members of the Arab hip-hop community, some not included in the documentary, as well as analysis by scholars and analysts on the political implications of the latest developments in the region.
The documentary which is a Free Speech Radio News production with editor Shannon Young and technical producer Rose Ketabchi, will be aired on more than 150 stations in the United States and worldwide. The documentary was funded through the community media fundraising site Spot.us. Thanks to David Cohn at Spot.us for his continued support. And Beats and Breath particularly wants to thank all the friends and supporters who donated their time and money to help fund and promote this documentary, and the valuable work being done by all the members of this burgeoning artistic movement. A longer list of credits will follow the actual posting of the documentary on this site.
The so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have been driven by a largely disaffected youth demographic aged 18 to 30 that dominates the populations of every affected country. In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the youth have demanded an end to the rampant corruption, unemployment, lack of democratic rights, and government policies that stifle freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Echoing these demands have been the representatives of the Arabic hip-hop movement living in both the Arab world and in the Diaspora.
This documentary will examine the rise of Arab hip-hop as a soundtrack to the revolution from its beginnings with Tunisian El General’s song “Rayess La Bled (Head of State)” until today. It will include the voices of rappers in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Diaspora including the creators (Omar Offendum/The Narcycist) of the YouTube viral video #jan25 (pictured above) and the creators of the Egyptian rap video “Rebel” (Arabian Knightz)
Interviews will be balanced with testimony from relevant political commentators, photographers, producers and voices from the Arab street in order to discuss how Arab hip-hop contributed to revolution and how it is still inspiring artists and protest movements in the US, and demonstrators in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Lebanon – who are still blasting Arab hip-hop anthems from their boomboxes as they fight Gadhafi’s forces in Libya, the security forces in Bahrain and Yemen and the Sectarian state in Lebanon.