Arab rappers you should hear

The Fareeq el Atrash band performing in Beirut. (Courtesy: Facebook)
Updated 12 August 2018

Arab rappers you should hear

While the Arab world’s music scene is dominated by traditional oud-led music and mainstream pop, the region is also home to a number of talented hip-hop acts who have broken from tradition to forge their own style.

El Général

The Tunisian MC, whose real name is Hamada Ben Amor, was born and raised in Sfax. The rapper focuses mainly on politically charged lyrics — his song “Rais Lebled” has been described as the “anthem of the Jasmine Revolution.”

Shadia Mansour

Known as the first lady of Arabic hip-hop, Mansour, who’s been active on the scene since 2003, is a Palestinian-British MC who lyrics are fuelled by Middle Eastern politics. Rolling Stone Middle East recognized her for her “hardcore stance on Palestinian nationalism.”

Salah Edin

Dutch-Moroccan rapper Salah Edin, real name Abid Tounssi, is among the more seasoned artists on this list, with three studio albums, a demo, and a mixtape to his name. The 38-year-old, who is also an actor, is signed to Dutch label TopNotch.


Iraqi-Canadian MC Yassin Alsalman’s family originally hail from Basra, but he grew up in Abu Dhabi and is now based in Canada. Narcy is something of a polymath — he’s an actor, a published author, and also taught a class at Concordia University: “Hip Hop: Past, Present, and Future.”


Lebanese street art and rap duo Mohammed and Omar Kabbani, known collectively as Ashekman, have taken the country’s capital Beirut by storm since the release of their debut album, “Ashekmanphobia” in 2011.

FareeQ el Atrash

Translating from Arabic to “The Deaf Team,” this Lebanese boasts three accomplished MCs — Edd Abbas, Nasser ‘Chyno’ Shorbaji, and Qarar, along with beatboxer Fayez ‘FZ’ Zouheiry and live accompaniment from John Nasr on bass and Fouad Afra on drums. Renowned for their high-energy live shows.

House of Khan: Pakistani finds fame as ‘Game of Thrones’ doppelganger

Updated 14 sec ago

House of Khan: Pakistani finds fame as ‘Game of Thrones’ doppelganger

  • The 25-year-old so resembles actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in TV hit ‘Game of Thrones’
  • Not only are Khan and Dinklage’s faces strikingly similar, they are also the same height

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistani waiter Rozi Khan had never heard of the Game of Thrones — or its hugely popular character Tyrion Lannister — until his striking resemblance to the dwarf anti-hero got heads turning at home.
The 25-year-old so resembles actor Peter Dinklage — who has played the witty and wily nobleman since the hit series’ first season in 2010 — that he gets regularly stopped by strangers desperate for a picture.
“I don’t mind. A lot of my pictures have been taken, that’s why I have become very famous everywhere,” he said.
Not only are Khan and Dinklage’s faces strikingly similar, they are also the same height at around 135 cms (4 ft 5in).
Photographs of the pair have unsurprisingly made their way onto social media showing the doppelgangers side-by-side.
“Wherever I go, someone says to me: ‘Sir, who is this man with you on Facebook’, I say that he is my friend. ‘He looks like you’. I tell them he is my brother. It’s not a bad thing,” said Khan.

Khan and Dinklage. (AFP)

The television series has won 47 Emmys — more than any other fictional show in history — along with a Golden Globe for Dinklage, 49, for best supporting actor in 2012.
A much anticipated final series is set to premiere on April 17.
Khan works at a small Kashmiri restaurant down a narrow line in Rawalpindi, serving customers hearty dishes such as mutton and spinach curries.
Owner Malik Aslam Pervez described him as a hard-worker — and also a drawcard for the eatery.
“When he takes a day off or gets sick, people look for him and ask where did he go? They get upset. They love him. There is always a crowd here but it has boomed because of him,” he said.
Born in Mansehra in northern Pakistan, Khan says he would love to meet Dinklage, describing him as a friend and brother.
“I love him very much, he is my friend... he is my height so I like him a lot,” said Khan.
For customers, seeing Tyrion Lannister in the flesh is also a thrill.
“When I saw him, I’m happy, I feel that I met with Lannister in real [life],” said Zain Hadri, 20.
“Game of Thrones” tells the story of noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne, all the while keeping one eye on the “White Walkers” leading hordes of the undead toward an invasion from the North.