Passion of the Weiss Mix Series: Voume XI — Cairo Liberation Front’s “Electro Chaabi for Hip-Hop Lovers”

Peter Holslin built pyramids in a past life. The more I listen to hardcore Egyptian street rap, the more it resembles American hip-hop. The Cairo movement, known as “electro cha3bi” or...
By    October 15, 2014

Cairo Liberation Front cover art

Peter Holslin built pyramids in a past life.

The more I listen to hardcore Egyptian street rap, the more it resembles American hip-hop. The Cairo movement, known as “electro cha3bi” or “mahraganat,” may have a distinctly local flavor, but anybody who’s gotten their pupils dilated to the sounds of Chief Keef or Sicko Mobb would appreciate the pumping computer beats, cosmic Auto-Tune textures and chant-rap vulgarities of the likes of MC Sadat, Alaa Fifty Cent and DJ Amr 7a7a. Can you get molly in the working-class suburb where these guys grew up? I can’t say, but they’ve certainly created a brand of Seratonin-spiking music all their own.

This new mixtape, Electro Cha3bi for Hip-Hop Lovers, was put together for Passion of the Weiss by the Dutch DJ duo Cairo Liberation Front, and it just goes to show that the cha3bi stars have a lot in common with American mainstream rappers. The mix includes some of the movement’s biggest stars (DJ Figo, DJ Ramy, Amr 7a7a), along with some fresher faces in the Egyptian scene, namely a fellow called El-3lamey. But it’s also got some remarkably seamless remixes/mashups made by the CLF’s rap-loving Dutchmen, Yannick Verhoeven and Joost Heijthuijsen. They throw in sampled verses from Wiz Khalifa, Future and Pusha T, and Kanye West, and top things off with a crazy re-imagining of the Beastie Boys’ Hudson-to-Nile vaulting hit “Intergalactic.”

It’s hard to say if a real-deal collaboration between American rappers and Egyptian electro-cha3bi artists will ever be in the offing, but the Cairo scene has been growing both locally and internationally. On this tape you can hear the evolution: the production is glossier, the rhyming bolder, and the songwriting more sophisticated. Whether a pairing happens or not, the parallels between East and West are impossible to ignore. “In the end electro-cha3bi is just hip-hop music,” Verhoeven tells me in an email, “rappers who’re spitting bars about their everyday life on a dope beat.”

Stream/Download:

Tracklist:

  1. المولد اخر كلام
  2. DJ Figo – Elmhdey
  3. Unknown – unknown
  4. CLF – We Dem Egyptian Boyz [Bootleg feat. Wiz Khalifa]
  5. El-3lamey – Luha Wdan
  6. مزيكا فرحة السادت
  7. El-3lamey – Shababray
  8. Amr a7a7 – Untitled [CLF Bootleg feat. Future & Pusha T]
  9. DJ Ramy – Khaled 3agwa Hany Terpo
  10. Untitled – untitled
  11. مزيكا الخلطه السحريه
  12. Al3frit – untitled
  13. El-3lamey – El7uta
  14. Sadat & Alaa Fifty – I Will Not Go [CLF Bootleg feat. Yeezy]
  15. Mc Amin feat. Amr 7a7a – untitled
  16. HamOHussieN – El7kmdaR [CLF bootleg feat. Ad-RockMCAand Mike D
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