Drake raps in Arabic in new song ‘Only You Freestyle’

Canadian rapper Drake released a new song on Monday. Instagram
Short Url
Updated 23 July 2020

Drake raps in Arabic in new song ‘Only You Freestyle’

DUBAI: It seems that Canadian rapper Drake has added Arabic to his ever-growing linguistic repertoire.

After joining forces with DJ Khaled this week on a pair of new songs, one in which he raps in French, the “Hotline Bling” hitmaker has just released a new song with British rapper Headie One. The drill song, titled “Only You Freestyle,” dropped on Monday alongside an accompanying visual. 




A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

In the new track, Drake raps a couple of his lines in Arabic, that allude to his Middle Eastern features. 

“Arabic ting tells me I look like Youssef, look like Hamza/ Habibti please, ana akeed, inti wa ana ahla”  he raps in the new song.

The Grammy award-winning artist has previously recognized his Arab features in a 2015 Instagram post from his visit to Dubai, where he admitted to looking like Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, jokingly stating that he was his “long lost brother.”



Finally found my long lost brother @mansoorbinmohammed #M8

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Meanwhile, “ana akeed, inti wa ana ahla” translates to “I’m certain you and I look better together.”

Arab social media users picked up on his use of the Arabic language and some took to Twitter to celebrate while others teased his pronunciation.

“I just know that DJ Khaled was the one that taught Drake Arabic,” wrote one user alongside a crying emoji.

“Drake adding Arabic to his accent collection,” joked another user alongside a GIF of Thanos acquiring his final Infinity Stone.

“Everybody is bashing Drake for not speaking proper Arabic... (to be honest) he did better than some arabs I (know),” another user wrote defending the star.

Meanwhile, some got down to celebrating Drake’s use of the words.

American-Iraqi YouTube star FaZeRug wrote: “Drake speaking Arabic in his latest freestyle tho.” 

Another user shared a video of Arab men dancing and joked: “Me listening to Drake’s Arabic verse…”

Another Twitter user wanted to know, “Which one of y’all keep teaching drake Arabic???”

Indeed, it’s not the first time that the hitmaker has used Arabic phrases in his music. 

Fans will remember when the 33-year-old rapped “This is a blessing mashallah wallahi,” in the remix of “Sweeterman,” a song originally produced by Canadian-Egyptian Ramriddlz.

Drake previously used Arabic terms on his 2017 song “Portland” where he says “Habibi” and on the 2018 song “Diplomatic Immunity” where he says “InshAllah.”

UK-based Arab film festival to go digital due to COVID-19 pandemic

Updated 13 August 2020

UK-based Arab film festival to go digital due to COVID-19 pandemic

  • ‘SAFAR From Home’ to feature films from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia

LONDON: The SAFAR Film Festival, the only dedicated biennial pan-Arab film festival in the UK, is to take place digitally in September, the Arab British Centre has announced.

The changes come in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which has forced multiple cultural events in the UK and elsewhere to be cancelled or postponed.

Scheduled to take place from Sept. 13-20, this year’s edition, titled “SAFAR From Home,” will be the fifth edition of the festival and will offer five free screenings, available to UK viewers, and five live events, available worldwide, featuring leading figures from the filmmaking industry across the Arab world.

The move to take the festival digital was funded in part by the Council of Arab Ambassadors and the British Film Institute’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Curated by Rabih El-Khoury, the festival will explore Arab cinema through the theme of journeys (‘Safar’ is the word for journey in Arabic).

It will feature films from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, with additional panel discussions on topics such as migration and life in the Arab diaspora.

On Sept. 20, the Arab British Centre will also host a panel of festival guests to discuss the growth of SAFAR since 2012 and the evolution of Arab cinema over the past eight years. 

El-Khoury said: “In a year when travel became impossible, we wanted to offer viewers the chance to travel to the Arab world and beyond through their screens at home. And while this program is an invitation to imaginary journeys, the truth around the protagonists of these films is far from being a fictitious one.

“They defy their harsh realities. They question bewildering surroundings. They face unconceivable challenges. They lead quite impossible journeys. Yet through courage, resilience, but also a lot of inspiration, they give a sense of meaning to their journeys,” he added.

Amani Hassan, the program director and also the acting executive director of the Arab British Centre, said: “We are very happy to announce the ‘SAFAR From Home’ initiative today. Following the difficult decision to postpone the in-person festival until 2021, we’re marking what would have been the landmark fifth edition with this alternative, virtual edition as a way to bring our audiences together and support the industry during this unprecedented time. 

“Since quickly pivoting our programs online in March, we’ve seen the thirst of people to connect with their culture, and with culture in general, and we hope that despite the physical distance, this program will offer SAFAR’s usual, unique space to appreciate, reflect upon, and celebrate the cinema and filmmakers of the Arab world.” 

The film and events program will be announced shortly alongside the festival’s new website. Information about the program can be found by emailing the organizers at www.safarfilmfestival.co.uk.