I'm Ikhwan!

This video by rappers in Alexandria is actually several months old, but it captures all the suspicion and cynicism surrounding the Brotherhood's rise to power. The song — supposedly from the point of view of an opportunistic new member — makes fun of the organization's hypocrisy, double-talk and greed for power. This sarcasm is more pointed (and probably more damaging to the MB in the long run) than the hysteria issuing from some quarters these days. 

The refrain uses one of my favourite Arabized English verbs: بيتنرفز (biyitnirfiz, from "nervous", meaning to get irritated or angry) and goes: Don't get pissed at me, man, 'cause I became Ikhwan! I've got the power with me now, everyone say after me: I'm I'm I'm Ikhwan! 

And the video — which has all the lyrics in Arabic — would be a great classsrom tool for teaching Egyptian Colloquial. 

For more conventional criticism of the Brotherhood, see these two recent posts posts by blogger Karim Shafei. 

(And thanks to Matt!)

Ikhwan rap?

This You Tube video of what appears to be a rap song for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party has been making the rounds. The song's lyrics don't seem to be satyrical at all: "We hope you'll hear from us just as you've heard about us. We've suffered 80 years of defamation. I'm from Freedom and Justice. We'll protect freedom and we'll build justice." But many commenters nonetheless are convinced that it's all a mockery. They either think this is hilarious or they think it's very haram. Oh, and the creator of the video explains in the comments that the picture of Eminem "got in by mistake." Don't know what to think myself. 

There's a small but burgeoning rap scene in Egypt these days. I haven't heard anything I'm crazy about yet -- nothing as good as North African rap -- but I'm intrigued by labels like Revolution Records.

The refrain of this song, "Down with Military Rule," goes: "It looks like you forgot who we are/You think we're still scared/We saw death and just smiled and stood there/Let me remind you since you've forgotten/We're the revolutionary generation."

Moroccan rap: Fez City Clan

Fez City Clan — check out the kid's solo at around 1:56.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.