The Revolution Continues. Mubarak may be gone, but for Egyptians who fought for actual change, the revolution is nowhere near done. With the country having fallen into the control of Field Marshal Tantawi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, much of the tactics and policies of the Mubarak era have seen no improvement and Egyptians remain denied their freedoms. Here are a selection of revolutionary songs made since Mubarak’s ouster that speak to the theme of a fight not yet fully won.
This is genuinely one of my favorite songs of all time, revolutionary or no. Essam’s lyrics don’t mention the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but they promote a revolutionary spirit and a hearty dose of Egyptian popular nationalism that clearly implies that the Egyptian activists remain up for the important fight. Essam has proven himself a genuine talent, not just an authentic revolutionary voice, over the past year. Check out his album Manshorat, which is available for free download and is well worth a close listen. (“When you say the word “freedom,” you must raise up your hand”)
- Arabian Knightz (ft. Isam Bachiri and Shadia Mansour): Sisters
The Arabian Knightz are probably Egypt’s most popular rap crew, made up of Rush, E Money and Sphinx. They’ve been around since 2006, making them early voices on the budding and still young Egyptian rap scene. They rap in a mix of both Arabic and English, and gained some international recognition for their “Rebel” song, released during Egypt’s eighteen day uprising against Mubarak. “Sisters” is a tribute to the female activists in Egypt, released following the infamous instance of the female activist who was chased down, stripped and beaten by police on the street. (“But you are the star to the crescent/The heart and the essence of what we are”)
Another Egyptian rapper of growing repute, hailing from Mansoura. MC Amin pulls no punches on this song, which is fairly in-your-face and defiantly vulgar in the face of corrupt power. He very clearly attacks SCAF and the leader Field Marshal Tantawi. (“We said no to the Field Marshal, and said yes to change/ With only one demand from Tahrir Square”)
The Narcicyst isn’t Egyptian. He’s Iraqi in origin, living in Canada and rapping as part of a growing population of Arab diaspora artists. “Fly Over Egypt,” is therefore a solidarity song, a celebratory song, acknowledging the continued fight. It isn’t necessarily a songjust for Egypt; it’s messages apply to an entire region fighting for change. (“More Power to the People/Point out your brothers evils/Give your sister a hand, although she doesn’t need you…”)
Revolution Records is Egypt’s first underground rap label, and like the Arabian Knightz, has been around since 2006. “Kazeboon,” which means liars, is a direct challenge to the rule of SCAF and Field Marshal Tantawi. (Which one of us is the prisoner now?/No one is protecting the revolution… [but] the revolution is stronger than you/You sold it to serve your interest… and sold yourselves.”)