Hip-Hopistan:Inside Greater Kurdistan’s Nascent Hip Hop Scene

in parentheses

The bass pounded from the speakers, but the crowd sat idly by.  Amir, an amateur Kurdish rapper, struggled to beat out his raps, completely failing to move the crowd.  He left the stage in Azadi Park frustrated.  Amir saw many challenges facing the hip-hop scene in Sleimiani, quoting Tupac, his foremost  hip-hop influence: “I see no changes.”  The crowd did not respond positively to this “stigmatized art form” as Amir put it before walking away.

At a refugee camp just a few hours away, Swedish born rapper Serhado, a Turkish Kurd, performed for Syrian Kurds.  At the height of his concert, the crowd chanted and swayed along to his popular anthem Ez Kurdistan Im (I am Kurdistan).

The changing dynamics in the Middle East have  placed Kurds onto the regional stage.  The Kurds are the largest ethnic group without a country of their own who are currently divided between…

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