Alternative Music , Alternative Society
- Writing about alternative music, was not a choice to me as I live with this music on a daily basis, with all its genres & Sub-genres (From Rap to Folk & from Rock/Metal to Political …). I was rather confused in which language do I write? English or Arabic.Despite that I’m fluent in Arabic & all my articles & poems were written in Arabic, I choose to write in English because it is hard to translate some musical terms to Arabic (As some of the Wahhabi Sheikhs in KSA did, he translated heavy metal by: المعدن الصلب & Hard Rock by : الحجر القاسي ) & Also because some of my fiends requested from me to write about two basic genres in the alternative music : Rap & Metal in Lebanon & the Arab World .
- Those 2 genres are related in a manner or another.why? Due to their origins. both thypes emerged as a way to express multiple values that are contrary to the values of the existing society : Anger, Hate , Poverty , Resistance, Patriarchism , Atheism , Anarchism , Sex , Drugs , Minorities Rights , etc….
- Rap originated in the African- American community as a way to express the values of this community, but we can say now that the Rap/Hip-Hop deviated from its goal.It moved from being a Political & Social music with Early rappers: 2Pac, Public Enemy,etc.. It became more commercial & it merged with the Dominant Pop culture. The only exception are some Underground rappers: Dead Prez, Immortal thecnique, Dilated Peoples, etc.we can also add some artists in the french rap scene (Kenny Arkana, La Brigade) & other representatives in Spanish or other languages.
- Rock/Metal music emerged in th 1960s & it was related to the Hippies movement , May 1968 revolution , Anti-War Movement .it kept evolving into multiple sub-genres & gain a world wide reputation but it mainly remained an Undergreound music & it didn’t get contaminted by the Pop culture as the Rap music did.
- In the Arab world those 2 genres of music are still classified as Underground music. Why? Due to the difficulty to penetrate into the existing Arabic culture that is still resisting any un-acceptable change by its represntatives (Politics, Religion, Capitalism).We won’t Imagine that Rotana or other Production Company are going to produce any Album that they won’t benefit from it in terms of money & or Any music that in its essence is contracy to the Pop culture.
So, those “Politically Incorrect“ Artists have to produce their music by their own created companies or some ally companies.
- There was some Early tentatives in the Rock/Metal music arabic scene . I can say that Ghassan Rahbany tried to incorporate some Rock songs in his albums (sometimes with Arabic lyrics) but this trial failed again for the known reasons stated above.
The current Lebanese/Arab Metal Bands are still suffering from the same problems. There is some notable bands like Nervecell (UAE) ,Bi-Locate (Jordan) along with some Lebanese bands : Weeping willow, Kimaera, Kaoteon , Blaakyum,Oath to Vaquish .. But all those bands are struggling both on the national & intenational domains.
One important note is why not to incorporate oriental tunes in this kind of music. Sepultura used Brazilian beats in their songs, Pain of salvation used a Swedish old musical instrument & the Israeli band melechesh that are classified as oriental metal are widely using oriental melodies (In one of their songs they’re imitating Nazim El Ghazali’s “Foug El Nakhal”…). I think some lebanes bands are trying to do this (Myrath for example & Kords previously).
Anyway, it is still hard for the metal music to make some influence due to the lyrics & aggresive musical styles. It remains a big question on how to solve this problem?
- For Rap let us say it is easier to realize some good popularity for multiple reasons: the poetic arabic language, the melodies & the beats that can be used ..
Rap has started also in the early 90s in North African countries it was back then related to the french rap scene .Currently it is present in most of the arab world .The most influential rap scene is the palestinian one with bands like : DAM , Ramalla Underground , Abnaa el ghadab , Arapiat, Toyour El zalam ..
In lebanon the first album was produced by Aks’Sir & it left a good impact .Currently , A lot of bands or individuals are present : Aks’Sir , Fareeq Al atrash ,Katibe 5 , Touffar , I-voice , Bil Amalyie, Ashekman,..
One of the important issues is the usage of Arabic beats & melodies. Why not also use some Folk elements like Touffar Did by incorporating the “Ataba” in their songs. It is quite amazing.
Also,It is important not to deviate from the main goal of this music. I heard some band from Mount-Lebanon & they are really disgusting.they think that by talking about drugs or cursing, they can make a rap song. Note that I’m not against that, but Rap song is constituted from different components: Lyrics, Beat, Melody, Performance…
I think Rap has a big chance to develop hopefully.
- Finally I want to thank all the bands & individuals who are working to change the current situation so we can build our new world on the ruins of the existing one. I wish them all the good luck in their projects, not only for Rap & Metal, but also for other genres: Jazz, Folk, Fusion…
- All kind of art : Music , Cinema , Poetry , Painting … should cooperate in building the alternative society.