BEIRUT: Originating in the economically depressed South Bronx section of New York City in the late 1970s, Hip Hop has now become the most consumed genre of music, according to Nielsen’s year-end report, surpassing Rock for the very first time.
Beirut has become home to many local and regional Hip Hop artists, although not many platforms and festivals provide platforms for these talents.
SCUM Week or Street Culture and Urban Music Week is a week-long festival organized by producers and rappers, Mazen El Sayed who is known to the crowd as El Rass, Nasser Shorbaji who is also known as Chyno, and Magali Douiehi.
Starting at Dar el Nimr in Hamra, the week will not only feature album debut and performances, but also panels, cultural talks, acoustic sessions, and several live performances all leading up to the last event of the week “The Arena”, which features the only official rap battle in the Middle East.
“At the beginning of this idea, the fact that Chyno and I have been working on different grounds, but we always had this connection, we even artistically cater to different audiences, but all that was under the larger banner of rap and the culture that we belong to,” El Sayed told Annahar.
“We feel now it’s more mature for where we can call out all the favors that we have, and we are here so we hope it gets to a really big place because it’s risky for us to do this.”
The venue and artists were chosen not by a random selection, each venue hosting the Beirut SCUM Week events has a connection to one of the artists.
“Places like KED, we’ve done Arena events over there, so I have a personal relationship with them also the style of the place is also a little bit more underground, which I think is really cool,” Shorbaji told Annahar
He went on to explain their other selections like Tota, which has signified different things in how they present themselves, which Shorbaji found as “are very understandable connections to us. AHM though, which is very different and very mainstream is also another contact we wanted to get into because the diversity of the venues and all these different types of events will target different audiences as well," he added.
As for the artists, from Morocco to Bahrain, the festival will be hosting both regional and local talent. El Sayed explained how the Arabic rap scene is connected to each other whether by having artists connected to each other, or audiences connected to each other.
“The artists in a lot of ways, they seem to be at this moment the most relevant in very different directions. Some of them are blowing up right now, some of them have been blown up for years, some of them have been blown up years ago, and I think making that first step in this way is a very good way to represent where the scene is right now,” El Sayed said.
The event begins at 6 pm Tuesday, for further information on the week-long schedule of events, see SCUM Week's FB page:
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