Archive of posts tagged with "arab"

December 2nd, 2008

A3rab Money Refix?

would you prefer to listen while looking at an img of what may or may not be a swank Dubai livingroom?

You may have heard — or at least heard about — the above, a remix of Busta’s infamous “Arab Money,” featuring Lil Wayne, Akon, Diddy, Swizz Beatz, T-Pain, & of course, Ron Browz. There are some significant, remarkable differences between this version and the original, leading me to wonder — via Marisol LeBron, who alerted me to the diffs — whether this is as much a “refix” as a remix.

As Marisol noted, the offensive / willfully ignant pronunciation, “A-rab,” has been replaced — at least in the chorus (Weezy brings out the hard A at the end of his verse) — by a more accurate “A3rab” (if slightly caricatured with an extra roll of the r). Moreover, you might notice that Ron Browz’s faux-Arabic hook has been upgraded from pure gibberish to quasi-Arabic, employing syllabic strings that at least resemble certain Arabic words (e.g., “hamdulilla,” “bismillah” [pronounced “bishmillah”]).

Marisol wonders (via email) “whether Busta is responding to pressure from the Arab community or whether someone just corrected him and told him that A-rab is typically considered derogatory.” I’m quite curious myself. Maybe Diddly will vlog it?

If someone gets a chance to ask Busta about it, could they also find out why he thanks Spielberg-Lucas in the intro for “directing this movie”? I didn’t catch any references to Tatooine, d’you?


Marisol, who sez she’ll be posting about this tomorrow, writes —

There is totally arabic in the song BISMILLAH AL-RAHMAN AL-RAHEEM which is at the beginning of every verse. The phrase signifies “in the name of Allah, the most gracious, most merciful” it is the first verse of almost every chapter of the Qur’an and is typically associated with daily prayers. A few of the artists are Muslim and would know the significance of the phrase, so why include it in a song about stacking chips and getting ass? It’s kinda crazy! I’m actually posting on it tomorrow.

Interestingly, when I asked some of my Arabic fluent students about the song, they disagreed that it was actual Arabic, though they also agreed that the conflation between “Arab” and “Muslim” in the song is an unfortunate and all-too-typical one —


There may be some words in the “Arabic verse” that might come from Arabic, but its definitely not Arabic. i’d say they recite words that are directly taken from Islam (or Christianity, for the Arabic speaking Christians) like hamdulilla – thank god, or bismillah-(pronounced bishmililah in the song) in the name of god. So i’d say these words might be taken from Arabic, but they r not pronounced in an Arabic accent… it sounds much more like something of indian music to me.


I join what Lisa wrote, and I’ll just add the word ignorance….because the “Arabic” (dangerous, terrorist) stereotype goes together with Islam, but the truth is, and most people are not aware of the fact that most Muslims in the world are NOT EVEN ARABS! and thanks to Busta now, no one will go search and find this out so the Muslim Arab stereotype is here to stay along with “Arab Money”


i definitely agree with you guys. its a very sad example of how brainwashed a lot of artists are by the media, and then brainwash the people. they can’t really tell the different between Muslims vs Muslim Arabs vs Christian Arabs Muslims etc.. so we hear the terms “hamdulila’ ‘bismila’ ‘habibi’ i have to say that i have met a lot of people that associated me with this words.. so its very common stereotype..

And it’s important to remember, as Marisol notes, that guys like Busta, Akon, etc., are well acquainted with various Arabic words and phrases for various reasons: whether from their own participation in or acquaintance with (African-)American Islam (or Senegalese Islam in Akon’s case) — notably a lot of the comments on the YouTube videos debate which of these artists is actually Muslim — or the longstanding colloquial use among African-Americans of greetings like “salaam alaikum” (which Busta throws into the mix here).

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November 18th, 2008

Delayed Linkdump #2429

Changed my wordpress password over the weekend, which threw off my semi-automatic delicious blogging (aka, linkthink). So here’s a semi-manual collection of yesterday’s links —

  • LRB · Slavoj Žižek: Use Your Illusions
    looks like zizek caught the hope (kinda); here is a sneeze: “Nothing was decided with Obama’s victory, but it widens our freedom and thereby the scope of our decisions. No matter what happens, it will remain a sign of hope in our otherwise dark times, a sign that the last word does not belong to realistic cynics, from the left or the right.”
  • McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Noted Post-Marxist Sociologist, Philosopher, and Cultural Critic Slavoj Žižek Welcomes You to the Gym.

    ‘ Exercise allows us to engage in these repetitive motions without having to question why. The superego asks the id, “What are you doing? Don’t make me look stupid,” and then the ego and id respond, “Go to bed, old man. I am working out like Olivia Newton-John!” ‘

  • Soul Jazz Records — Dancehall – Album — The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture

    this looks great, as does the beth lesser book it accompanies — can’t wait to page through that with these chunes banging in the background

  • hawgblawg: kufiya note #7078 (plus turban and hijab chic)

    ted swedenburg stays on his kufiya-spotting grind, here noting a profusion of related fashion trends, including the rise/return of the turban, hijab, and pashmina

  • Twankle & Glisten: Slap

    kid slizzard rounds up a few bmore/youtube edits :: these are really quite entertaining, definitely some next level remixing :: i like what he sez — “these straight-chop video interpretations of Baltimore club tracks are the only way I’ve seen an unadulterated sample being ..uh.. sampled. Such great rap synthesthesia …” :: and, oh yeah, that chappelle shit is hilarious

  • The Elephants Child: When theres Arab Money……

    rachel runs down some riffs around “arab money,” from the narcicyst’s biting response to busta’s own defense (i hate that talk of different “cultures” — isn’t the point that this all falls under global capitalism?!), to an ‘unrelated’ video featuring “al qaeda jada”?!?! weirdnessesesses

  • MUSIC WORLD – BUCHAMAN – Part 1 of 5 – VBS.TV

    VBS.TV does it again, this time with a fascinating look at a dancehall crew in uganda, dabbling in local governance?!

  • T-Pain and the Rise of the Singing Robots – AOL Music Canada

    nice lil piece on the rise of autotune as the new reverb, w/ a kicker quotation from sñr /rupture: ‘But in Rupture’s view, autotuning is a means of augmenting, not stealing soul. “There’s something very humanizing about Auto-Tune. I see it as a duet between the electronics and the personal. It’s not like it’s making a voice sound computer-y, it’s a third, more interesting cyborg possibility—a reconciliation with technology. It’s a duet. I live in a world saturated by electronics and we’re finding a way to make that sing.” ‘

videyoga ::

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November 13th, 2008

Halal Beats

videyoga :: (via illuminarcy)

Sundance – Waahli aka Wyzah from Noé Sardet on Vimeo.

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September 29th, 2008

Cogito Ergo Cogito Sum

videyoga :: (via ghis@/jace)


July 28th, 2008

Linkthink #0443: New American Menschery

videyoga ::

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July 2nd, 2008

Sticky! Sha3kira Ma3shup & “Arab Face”

Really enjoying the discussion on that sha3bi post — please help keep it going if ur so inclined. This post is mainly a way of bringing that discussion “to the top” but I might as well share a related find…

It’s not embeddable, but this video mashup of a sha3bi song and a Shakira/Beyonce vid is pretty awesome in its way. Serves the girls right for putting on “Arab Face” (pdfs are [still] the new mp3s) and busting some “bellydance” moves (see, e.g., 2:50 — are those hieroglyphics?).

I wonder, tho, whether this is an ironic appropriation? I guess I’ll ask fantomme.

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June 27th, 2008

8 Mile on the Nile

In my sha3bi searches last night I came across all kinds of odd & awesome stuff. And I don’t say ‘odd’ as an uninformed outsider (though I am one, relatively speaking), but b/c some of the cha3bi vids one finds are truly bizarre mashups of footage ranging from what looks like a Francophone African music video (Reunion? really?) to clips from Tom&Jerry —

But one of the best things I came across is a video of a more traditional — indeed, acoustic — mulid street performance than the soundsystem-propelled events portrayed in Jennifer Peterson’s article. According to the uploader, this depicts “men whoop[ing] it up on the streets of Al Hussein [Cairo]” in a post-mulid mood. One can certainly see connections to the recent/remix version of mulid/inshad/sha3bi, though one also gets to see/hear the improvised poetry a bit more, which inspires one commenter to call it “8 Mile on the Nile ;)” — watch the MC with the frame drum step up around 1:12:

The other thing I find uncanny about this clip — given the way that “ghettotech” has emerged in “nu-world” discourse — is how the call-response chants from 0:47 to 1:07 sound pretty much exactly like several ghetto-tech/-house/juke tracks. I don’t know what they’re saying (sounds like “yeah yeah”), but it would mix very well with any number of tracks that anchor themselves with a repeated “uh oh!” or “hold up!”
Hold up wait a minute – DJ Chip

I know I’ve used it before, but, that said, I can’t resist ending with this gif —

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June 26th, 2008

Not Too Sha3bi?

Thx to my man Motaz, an Egyptian/Cairovian musician and activist currently residing in Cambridge, for pointing me to Jennifer Peterson’s excellent article —

     Sampling Folklore: The re-popularization of Sufi inshad in Egyptian dance music

— which not only, beyond some linkthink, merits a post of its own here (for a few reasons), but inspires some further thinking re: the whole whirled debate we’ve been having (which I’ll get to in a moment).

First, what I like about the article: the content. Peterson offers a richly contextualized (if awkwardly “scare-quoted”) portrait of the mulid remix scene — a Cairo-based circuit of bedroom production and street/soundsystem dance which reanimates the Sufi inshad tradition for an urban youth audience. I confess to knowing relatively little about sha’bi (alt., sha3bi / shaabi / shabbi / cha3bi / etc.) or baladi, though I’ve always got my ears perked & eyes peeled for any kind of musical-cultural phenom that brings together computers, giant stacks of speakers, time-honored traditions, and street dance.

Not only does Peterson offer a fascinating history and contemporary account of mulid/inshad and its relationship to pop/dance music in Egypt, she bolsters her account with some great audio and video examples — something that music journals are pretty (remarkably) slow to do in their migration online. Props to Arab Media & Society for supporting such a multimedia, widely accessible form of publication. They will be a better read and referenced and respected journal for doing so. (Though, I have to confess that my own jury’s out on whether their “peer-reviewed” commitment is retrograde or not — I understand what they mean, and I’m sure it’s useful for certain academics competing for status and resources, but I’d argue that “peer-review” on the internet is another thing entirely.)

Check the article for the examples, which are better encountered in the context of Peterson’s narrative. But do permit me to embed a couple awesome clips of mulid-related dancing —

What strikes my admittedly outsider eyes most about these is the presence of familiar figures — dance moves that would look more recognizable if the guy in the green were wielding a glowstick rather than a knife: sufi trance meets psy-trance…

This mulid remix scene is undeniably, as the practitioners themselves dub it, “haaaaaardcooooore” (gaaaaaaaaaaamid) and would hence seem to fit rather well into the global g-tech constellation, the ruffneck “nu world” music that constitutes a recurring concern on this here blog and others on the ‘osphere. And yet, I’ll be surprised to see mulid remixes, or sha3bi more generally, start to turn up with any frequency on hipster muxtapes.

I’m not sure exactly why that is, though I have a nagging feeling it has to do with race. It’s conspicuous that so many of the genres that have found favor among the bloggers and DJs and tastemakers and downloaders associated with this nu-whirl biz — funk carioca, kuduro, cumbia, reggaeton, dancehall, kwaito, coupe decale — are marked, implicitly or explicitly, as black. They’re either Afrodiasporic (“New World” innit) or straight-up African (of course, extricating the two is downright impossible at this point — see, e.g., kwaito). And this is something I was trying to get at with my “coinage” of “global ghettotech” — i.e., that race as much as class is a prevailing dimension of our engagement with these genres.

That’s not problematic in itself, I hasten to add, for aligning oneself / identifying with the struggles and triumphs of the black poor of the world is an obvious thing to do. But all this talk of “global,” of “world,” starts to seem like a crock when we look at the actual genres that accrue cachet. Where are the Asian, Middle Eastern, or even European standard bearers for the global proles, if that’s what we’re repping? (Or are we repping something else?) Sure, we may talk from time to time of Belgian jumpstyle or Malaysian shuffle, but when we look at the mp3s we share and play in our DJ sets and radio shows, the skewed representation is clear. So what’s the deal? Is it merely a matter of New World blackness retaining a certain resonance (for a variety of reasons, some more insidious)? Or is there a special sort of xenophobia operating here? Or both or neither? I’m more curious than rhetorical on this point.

After reading Peterson’s article I wrote to Jace/Rupture, who offers one of the more longstanding examples — among the usual suspects — of a DJ/blogger/middlemang based in the US/Europe digging for and sharing and grappling with and spinning/mixing/mashing Arab music. Considering the uptake that his cumbia blogging has received, I wondered how his forays into Maghrebi territory compared, online or in da club. His reply —

i would love it if when i
blog/play maghrebi + berber stuff it rcvd a similar blogospherical
echo as w/ the cumbia/etc … but it simply hasnt happened

Which is basically what I expected him to say.

I’m not sure quite what to make of it, but as someone who likes to make a lot — perhaps even make a living — on making mountains of meaning from molehills of music, I wonder what the world would be like (sound like?) if we could embrace the sha3bi remix scene like we embrace lots of other remix scenes. Could we, in doing so, remix our ideas about Muslim societies and cultural practices? Remix our foreign policy? Remix ourselves?

If it would prove persuasive, I’d say that Muslim is the new black, but I’d hardly be the first.

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June 26th, 2008

linkthink #813: Travel Agency

videyoga ::

Bees In The Key of A from brynmore on Vimeo.

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I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com


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