The Mixtape of the Revolution

CGSC Faculty Fellow Sujatha Fernandes has published a New York Times Op-Ed piece on rap music and the recent Arab revolutions and African protests.

January 29, 2012

The Mixtape of the Revolution


During the recent wave of revolutions across the Arab world and the protests against illegitimate presidents in African countries like Guinea and Djibouti, rap music has played a critical role in articulating citizen discontent over poverty, rising food prices, blackouts, unemployment, police repression and political corruption. Rap songs in Arabic in particular — the new lingua franca of the hip-hop world — have spread through YouTube, Facebook, mixtapes, ringtones and MP3s from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya and Algeria, helping to disseminate ideas and anthems as the insurrections progressed. El Général, for example, was featured on a mixtape put out by the dissident group Khalas (Enough) in Libya, which also included songs like “Tripoli Is Calling” and “Dirty Colonel.”

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