Band of the week: Deeb
Courtesy: Deeb

Deeb is a rapper for the ages, a Generation-Y musician with his frequency tuned to the music of eras past. Known for his euphonious yet socially-conscious lyrics, fluid rap flow, and use of classic Arabic music samples, Deeb continues to successfully merge nostalgia for Egypt’s cultural past with the present. Having begun his rap career in 2005, among some of Egypt’s pioneer crews including Asfalt and Wighit Nazar, 29-year-old Mohamed El Deeb continues to push forward the burgeoning genre of locally made music.

Just one month prior to the start of the January 25 2011 uprisings in Egypt, Deeb announced his solo career with the prolific release of his debut EP, “Cairofornia.” With lyrics like “I’m not a dictator/Deeb’s a doctor, of beats” (“Masrah Deeb”), the three-track compilation is emblematic of the cognitive dissonance felt by an intellectual youth stuck under Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

In his debut LP, “The Cold Peace,” Deeb shines as both an MC and producer with tracks like “Mawood” (Promise) and “Interlude.” In the former, Deeb opens the track with a deconstructed sample of Abdel Halim Hafez’s famed song of the same name, after which he lays down a polyrhythmic beat and loops that keep the listener oscillating between musical time periods. At the same time, his songs almost always evoke a sense of nostalgia with their endless Egyptian pop culture references ranging from the cross-dressing candid-camera comedian Zakaya Zakareya, to super-famous sometimes-experimental pop singer Mohamed Mounir and Nasser-era poet and renaissance man Salah Jahin.

Deeb is currently working on his second EP, which will be his first entirely self-produced album. While the album is still untitled, the artist promises a multitude of Arabic samples and a release date this winter. 

Maha ElNabawi 

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