Friday, February 25, 2011
5 Minutes with Rush Saifullah of Arabian Knightz
On January 25, 2011, the nation of Egypt erupted as the peaceful demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak were met with armed resistance from Egypt's army. This was the beginning of Egypt's Revolution.
In the midst of the revolution, Arabian Knightz (comprised Rush, Sphinx and E-Money) released two singles, “Rebel” and “Not Your Prisoner”, that became anthems of resistance, gaining worldwide attention for their powerful lyrics and impassioned spirit against a wicked political system. Rush was in Tahrir Square daily with his people, E-Money held down his city, while Sphinx was forced to leave the country for the safety of his family amidst the gunfire and chaos.
I recently sat down with Rush to discuss Arabian Knightz, Hip-Hop and the revolution in Egypt. Check out our conversation after the jump.
For those not familiar with Arabian Knightz, can you please give us a description or brief overview of who you are and what your music is about?
Arabian Knightz banded together in 2006 through the emcee cipher, Hip-Hop’s most natural way of determining like mindsets on the mic. We feel we bring an original and authentic Arabic perspective to the artform so dominated by Western voices, mixing both English and Arabic raps to exemplify our versatility and universality. We have done collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Steele of Smif-n-Wesson, and the popular Arab singer Khaled Seleem on the hit song “Desert Queen.”
What is the Hip-Hop scene like in Egypt?
The Hip-Hop scene here is somewhat new since its been blown up for only four years after our single FOKKAK made it on heavy rotation on TV channels..ever since a lot of rappers have emerged. Not that were was none before us but since, its been a LOT more common than before and the media is more accepting to it
Egypt has made history with the recent revolution and protests. What was the atmosphere like in the days leading up to Jan 25 and during the duration of the protests against Mubarak?
During the protests it was crazy, it was past the boiling point when the old government used its force fully and violently against its own people just to restrain their rights; and the people for the first time ever felt that they HAD to resist and fight back because its now or never. We were in the demonstrations and also we took part by releasing songs during the revolution that spoke well and represented well the events that were going on. The Power is now really for the people!
In the midst of the Revolution your group, Arabian Knightz, released a song and video entitled "Not Your Prisoner" (Egypt's Revolution Song). How important was it for the group to record this particular song and release it when you did?
It was very important for US to do it because music in the end is a vent and is self expression, we didn’t do it to ride any wave or USE the revolution for our advantage; basically that song came out at a time and stage of the revolt when it wasn’t yet safe to speak your mind. Mad people who were taking part in the revolution were still getting arrested and never seen again, many singers and rappers made songs after it was safe. But we started early during the turmoil and we did it because those songs were already done 2 years ago.
What can we look forward to hearing from Arabian Knightz in the future?
The album, “Uknighted State of Arabia”, is coming soon, available worldwide on iTunes and "Prisoner" is one of fourteen tracks on that album. We might also have a special guest on it from the Hip-Hop scene ... a LEGEND if I may, and his name will be announced soon. All I can use to hint for it though is that he’s INSAAANE IN THE BRAAAIN. We're also working on a fully English album right after that to be launched also here and in the US.
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