Sometime ago, I wrote an article on how Hip Hop was the new Empire on which the Sun never sets. Now, the Hip Hop bug paid a visit to Afghanistan. A land torn apart by generations of turmoil, a land witha rich culture and history, and a land which is no stranger to the art of poetry. Afghans have used poetry to express themselves for generations. For centuries, Pashtun women have traded stories, feelings and life wisdom in the form of two-line oral poems called ‘landays’. Other famous poets include Rumi whose poems still get quoted all over world. They also have numerous female poets, such as Rabia Balkhi (17th century), Nazo Tokhi, and others. But, due to political unrest and wars in the country, many female poets have remained hidden – but not this one.
Afghan Rap Music
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Soosan Firooz is an Afghan female rapper, and she does not fit into any of the stereotypes the world puts on her. As an Afghan lady, the world ‘outside’ expects a quiet, covered up lady who has no say in her family or life. And, as a rapper, the world expects her to have a bad mouth, and use anger and rage to express herself. And on top of that, as a female rapper, rap fans assume she’s “wack”. All wrong. Yeap. She’s none of that! Soosan is an empowered, young adult, who expresses her self eloquently and intelligently. She expresses the problems they face in their daily lives, the struggles, the hard work and effort. She uses her rap skills to paint a picture for her fellow Afghans and for the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, however, Soosan Firooz receives death threats for her skills. Some say she’s bringing in “Western” ideologies and culture into their “untainted” Afghan society. But, it doesn’t make any sense to me considering Afghanistan’s rich history of poets. Poets have used poetry to express themselves since man could first talk! Now, in this generation, the difference is that poets use Rap to express themselves, and then these poets go ahead and record their poetry on a beat, and that’s it! Rapping is basically reciting poetry, on a beat. And that is real Hip Hop.
In today’s world, people all over the world use Hip Hop and rap to express themselves. This has been a norm for humanity for generations, decades, and lifetimes, as people used poetry to express themselves. Poetry has a way of living forever, and likewise, the human experience expressed through rap music will continue to live forever. I’m proud to see Afghanistan continue their tradition of expressive poetry, and its an added bonus that someone decided to record the Afghan experience on a beat! This is Hip Hop – Poetry & real expressions on a beat with, hopefully, a good bass-line.