In June, the first all-Palestinian hip-hop competition was held in Ramallah. called HipHopKom, the event was a battle of the MCs featuring 50 groups and solo rappers from throughout the West Bank and Gaza. But owing to the current geopolitical morass, the Gaza Strip rappers weren’t able to travel to Ramallah in the West Bank. Instead, they connected with their fellows in Ramallah via video conferencing.
The judges of the competition came from throughout the Palestinian & Arab diasporas. They included Palestinian-British rapper Shadia Mansour, Egyptian-Danish beatboxer Zaki and Shuel Nafar of the Palestinian-Israeli rap group DAM. 16 finalists were chosen in the event, which was set up by the Sabreen Association for Artistic Development in association with the Danish government.
The youngest finalist in the copetition was 14-year-old Sarouna Mshashe of Jerusalem. She’s a student at Jerusalem’s Lycee Francaise and stated:
“I started doing it because I started seeing other hip-hop Palestinian bands coming from this area. I really got inspired that wow, hip-hop can be in Arabic – and they used it to express the things that we’re going through here, just like they did in America. There’s one song I sing about Gaza. There’s one I sing about women’s rights: how people view women in the society and in general in the world; how we don’t have as much rights as men do, and in general the whole Palestinian issue. The Palestinian issue is a very complicated issue and I thought that maybe we could explain to the world the other point of view, the other side of it. They don’t see the things that we go through. I thought we could use hip-hop as a tool to actually show them the conditions that are actually going on, the things that we’re actually going through day by day that nobody knows about.”
Video Footage is found at the following LINK