Palestine was late to hip-hop—not getting on the bandwagon until 1998—but has been making up for lost time ever since. The country's rappers have fully embraced the spirit of the genre, using the power of their music to protest, fight for social change, and challenge stereotypes about Arabs. As to be expected, the Palestinian hip-hop sound is primarily influenced by American rappers, even though the lyrics are often delivered in Arabic or Hebrew. But that's not to say that the scene completely ignores its Middle Eastern roots, as Arabic tracks are frequently sampled and used to build songs.
Palestine's brand of rap is naturally more political than most, with the Palestine-Israel conflict being a constant source of inspiration; many artists use the art to solely talk about the multitude of social issues that affect the small Middle Eastern nation. Following the lead of American acts such as Public Enemy, KRS-One and Tupac, Palestinian rappers battle for social change, with themes such as poverty, terrorism, and violence being frequently explored.
Despite hip-hop in Palestine only being 17 years old, it has quickly risen to be a dominant form of music in the country and surrounding area. Here are some of the main rappers you should know.
Sam Moore is a writer living in London. Follow him @Sam_Moore95.