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Hip-Hop comes to the Middle East

For whatever reason, the Chinese joint where I go to cop chicken wings and fied lice keeps issues of magazines like Business Week and the Economist in the area where you sit while they’re out back butchering the cat or whatever.

Why they would assume people who cop Chinese take-out would be interesting in reading about complex business issues is beyond me. But my guess is that maybe one of the Chinamen who works there gets them to his house and then brings them to work when he’s done with them. As stingy as those mofos are with soy sauce and what have you, I’m sure he figures that’s a lot cheaper than actually getting subscriptions to People and Highlights for Children (not to be confused with XXL), like you might see in a dentist’s office.

Oddly enough, I see stories all the time in Business Week and even the Economist that I think might be interesting to discuss on this site. But then I get home, and that MSG-induced -itis kicks in, and I forget all about it. The other day though, I read a story I couldn’t possibly forget. It involved what could very well be the most contentious issue in hip-hop other than a black woman’s personal appearance: terrorism. Er, I mean Islam.

According to a story in a few weeks-old issue of Business Week, MTV recently launched a station in the Middle East called MTV Arabia. And wouldn’t you know, the flagship show on this station is a hip-hop show, hosted by some guy I’ve never heard of and also Fredwreck, this Palestinian guy out of California who’s produced records for Snoop Dogg and all sorts of people.

Apparently, hip-hop is remarkably popular amongst the youth in the Middle East. Probably about as popular as it is anywhere. To date, there’s yet to be a rapper out of the Middle East that’s become very popular here in the West, but I’m assuming that’s because – as is the case with hip-hop from pretty much anywhere other than New York – the quality’s just not that good.

In something like four years covering hip-hop and also terrorism on the Internets, the only Middle Eastern hip-hop I’ve ever heard of is the infamous “Dirty Kuffar” and the damn near as funny “Small Deeds” by Native Deen (peep the bit where they all pick up trash in unison – that’s hot!). In terms of general amusement, I guess you could say they’re two for two.

The thing is, the Middle East is fucking awash with the arm and a leg we pay for gasoline. I don’t doubt for a minute that some of these Arab mofos can make a killing (no pun intended) without actually coming up with anything worthwhile.

And you can see why MTV would be looking to get a piece of that. Supposedly, the MTV here in the states is dead as fucking doornails. Half of the time you turn on MTV these days, they’re just showing re-runs of America’s Next Top Model. Which has basically nothing to do with music. (That’s some ol’ BET shit!) So they’re counting on the Middle East and other unfortunate areas as one of their main engines of growth.

However, you have to wonder if MTV isn’t gonna run into any number of issues trying to separate an A-rab from his money – besides an Arab’s world renowned money changing craftiness. I mean, what would MTV even show in an area where women are still walking around in beekeeper suits? According to the article, programs will be heavily edited for content, and every Friday morning there’s an animated call to prayer. Hmm…

And if this shit does become successful, I wonder with this is all gonna lead to. After all, a case could be made that, as far as media entities are concerned, it was MTV who was responsible for turning MTV into the global phenomenon it is today more so than anyone else. It’s what I watched when I was a kid here in the Midwest. Could hip-hop be the force that brings the Arab world into the modern age, or is it just gonna make them hate us that much more? What do you fruits think?

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