Dembow, 랩 , راب , Kurap, ראפ and le rap are all various takes on one of the most passionate art forms this world has ever known. Experts on this unique way of expressing oneself argue whether rap came from African tribesmen or if it was conjured up in the streets of the United States of America. Though the roots are unsure, rap music is an exponentially growing industry all over the world. From the Dominican Republic to Korea, Morocco to Tanzania and Palestine to France, the infamous music genre is continually becoming more popular. Whether they are rapping about the history of their country or simply about the struggles of life, these rappers’ music plays a huge role in people’s lives all over the world.
Dominican rapper Black Jonas Point, known by family and friends as Jonás Joaquín Ortiz Alberto, was born in the chaotic city of Santo Domingo in 1989. Alberto started rapping at the age of eight and by the age of 11 he had already recorded his first album. His obsession with Tupac was what first truly motivated him to making rapping more than just a hobby. Now at the age of 23, Alberto has released countless songs and has climbed to the top of the Latin American charts. His music falls under the genre of Dembow, which is identical to rap but often has more repetitive verses and faster beats. In his most popular song to date, Lo Que Quieras (Whatever You Want), Alberto addresses the growing drug problem his native country suffers from. In a country with very few role models, Alberto’s positive music is playing an influential part helping many young boys stay out of the “gangster” life it is easy to become a part of. Many other of his popular songs such as Solo Grita (Just Call) and Yo Tengo Sed (I’m Thirsty) provide relevant and often comical songs that are loved by the youth of the Dominican Republic. On September 5th, 2012 Alberto was in an automobile accident that caused tears all through Latin America. Something like this would likely end most artists’ careers but his colossal fan base hopes to see him back soon.
Park Jae-Sang, better known as Psy, is the mastermind behind the explosively popular song 강남스타 강남스타ראפ “Gangnam Style”. Psy was born in South Korea on December 31, 1977 and after graduating high school there, he moved to the United States, where he attended both Boston University and the Berklee College of Music in New York. Psy struggled to be successful under the somewhat strict social lifestyle of South Korea; many of his songs and albums have been deemed “inappropriate” by the Korean Government and television corporations and they did not allow it to be sold to minors of 19. With the help of Yang Hyun-suk, the owner of YG Entertainment, Psy’s music has become popular despite people attempting to bring him down. A loud techno beat accompanies his nasal Korean rapping and singing in almost every one of his songs. On July 15, Psy released the track and music video to the track Gangnam Style. The video since has accumulated over 221 million views and that number is escalating by the minute. Psy is considered to be the first bona fide famous rapper to gain respect outside of South Korea. He plans to continue making music and representing his country.
The streets of the ghettos of Tanzania are extremely dangerous. It was from here that Tanzanian rap group X Plastaz come from. Maasai chants Swahili rhymes, and angry rhymes flow together to create this group’s music. Created by Faza Nelly and X Plastaz in 1998, this revolutionary group raps about everything from the AIDS epidemic to the Tanzanian justice system. Incredibly successful up through the 2000’s, X Plastaz had a downfall in their career in the year 2006. The social hero, Nelly, was stabbed while attempting to resolve an argument between two of his neighbors. X Plastaz suffered greatly but they got back on their feet and continued to make music addressing the issues of their nation and continent. Nini Dhambi Kwa Mwenye Dhiki (What Is the Sin of the Poor), is the most popular song released by the group to date. Filled with chants and exotic beats, the crew raps about what they find to be the most relevant issues in their country such as corruption and violence.
The feud between Israel and Palestine has been ongoing for decades now. The youth of these countries have been raised in a situation of constant tension and often times fear. DAM, a group of Palestinian males who were born and raised in Israel, created a whole new era of political rap in the Middle East. The group not only addresses the issue and states their feelings on it, they also tell the story of what it was like being raised in a country as an outcast. DAM means eternity in Arabic but translates to blood in Hebrew, which is where the group got their name. The group first started recording their controversial songs in 1979, and continue promoting peace and ideas such as anti racism and women’s rights to this day. The group records songs in both Arabic and Hebrew so they can appeal to as large of an audience as possible and they are currently planning their first American tour.
Claude M’Barali was born in Senegal but moved to France before he was even one year old. Now at 43 he is the most critically acclaimed French rapper in the world. In his teenage years M’Barali spent much of his time tagging, or painting walls with a trademark picture or word. His tag of choice happened to be SOLAAR, and from there his stage name MC Solaar was born. Growing up in France, M’Barali felt discriminated due to his skin color, and much of his music presents the ideology that everyone should have equal rights and opportunities. MC Solaar learned bits of English and Spanish just to be able to spread his ideas to a broader audience. La Belle Et Le Bad Boy (The Beauty and the Bad Boy) is one of M’Barali’s most popular tracks that has been recognized internationally. The song is in French but the fluidness of M’Barali’s voice is enough to make the song loved by people all over the world. In the recent past M’Barali has been making appearances on various TV shows and movies all while working on new music which he has been releasing periodically.