Recently we posted an interview with UK-based Palestinian hip-hop artist, Shadia Mansour.
What made the piece particularly interesting was its exploration of hip-hop from a Palestinian cultural perspective. There’s a really mixed reaction here to Western or American styles of music - if you missed it and you’d like to learn more, you can catch the interview here.
Since then, we met a local 18 year old who not only is a massive fan of hip hop but a burgeoning artist himself.
Athal Azza got the details.
Photo: Mohammad Qassim
Suhaib Omar Mislat is 18 years old and lives in Beit Jala. His family are Palestinian refugees from Beit Natef village. When Suhaib was just 11 years old he started listening to hip hop and writing some rhymes.
“Hip hop is a great way to express yourself, and communicate the truth about what’s happening here in Palestine.” He explained.
“I’ve always loved the music - especially from the legendary 2Pac.”
Now, just seven years later, Radio Lajee has helped Suhaib AKA Black Shot’s Band For Change to record his first track. We think it’s pretty awesome - let us know what you think!
A big thanks to Radio Lajee’s Layan Azza, Hesham Zakai and Asmah Abdul-Hamid for translating the lyrics into English (click ’show transcript’ below to check them out for yourself.)
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Palestine, Palestine, Palestine, Palestine
As my love you will remain
The most beautiful of all beauty
Oh our blossoming flower
Beautiful in shape
Love during your life has become routine.
A year and this life is still prolonged
They questioned me, ‘What have you done?’
From the answer I fled
I could find no answer void of reproach
About the time that past, the time that left.
Every day the wounds are the same
In my life as I trudge the railroad track
And if the number of days differed
A number of dreams died, the dreams that
I dreamt have become imprisoned
Oppressed in an issue I carry on my back
But fatigued I am not, nor am I bored.
Alone I suffer the years in my prison
Alone I cry, but no one hears my pain
No one cares, no one tries to stand beside me.
Broken lines, paralleling with my life
Horizontal on the wall
With the bitter years that are passing before my eyes
They are like long lines of loneliness.
I did not open, I am not moving, standing, standing,
In a space not escaping, I don’t have a trick up my sleeve
Other than submitting to the shouting of a voice that can be heard
In the shadow of all our politics
Life is like a coffin
A sector of fragmentation,
In Beit Jala, my place and address is known
Opposing politics is what I’m accused of
Yet regretfully they’ve incarcerated me in a huge prison,
Where ‘til now I’m suffering
The most severe type of suffering, where most of the laws are illegal.
A lively word sparks from my average tongue:
“The man from whom you stole land has become a prisoner.”
My name is Sohaib Maslat
My blood is in Palestine mixed between the refugee camps
Inside there is no safe-haven from the Zionists surrounding us.
Deprivation has come to tell you about the wall
That demolished my land and disabled my freedom
Was I asleep because I never asked: does the world know?
Have you seen everything that you bring?
That you place?
That you build?
And do you think that we never knew a thing?
On the contrary, you are mistaken and you have not asked the people
You are green with greed over our Palestine
My country and the country of the martyrs and prisoners who are not free
Mothers are scared - chased by their younger siblings
But I’m Palestinian I will stay no matter what happens,
My country and the innocent martyrs are in my heart
PLO, Israel - No
Those words are from yesteryear, but now
They have bowed …
PLO has become in the know
No to speculations,
No to agreements,
No to ‘negotiations’,
Now we’re afflicted with hunger, forced submission, and degradation
Starving everyone from old to young
The terrifying woe
Submission is a word that includes everyone, from it our dignity is being lost and Israel is rising.
Degrading us to sell our country:
We have heroes in our country but don’t have a country.
It has been 62 years and till now we haven’t experienced happiness
and Peace be upon those who follow true guidance