Two of the Middle East’s known hip hop, rap, and trap musicians — Felukah and The Synaptik — team up to present two singles commissioned by the Shubbak Festival, London’s biennial multi-disciplinary event dedicated to showcasing Arab creativity.
Their first single, titled ‘Nefsi’, in the series of two was released on YouTube on 10 June 2021. The track is a collaboration between Palestinian-Jordanian rapper The Synaptik and New-York-based Egyptian musician Felukah.
“This project is about polarities, identity, and just about being raw,” reads the press release. It also quotes Feluka saying that “the project showcases Arab identity, talking about cherishing ourselves in a world that is constantly trying to categorise and classify us.”
Meaning both ‘I wish’ and ‘myself’, Nefsi is about acceptance, an issue that has become vital in past years, when — despite many challenges — artists make sure to remain truthful to their own beliefs.
The two singles were commissioned by Marsm, a London-based event producer, and the Shubbak Festival.
Both artists’ collaboration will culminate with a joint concert at London’s jazz cafe in late October, hosted by Marsm and Shubbak.
Born and raised in Cairo, Felukah is an artist who moved to New York in 2017 to study creative writing. In parallel, she also discovered a passion for hip hop music that led to a creative expression where Egyptian heritage is combined with a New York neo-soul edge. As the musician clarifies, she blends English and Arabic prose in order to create a sound that ‘brings the Nile to New York.’
The Synaptik, a Palestinian-Jordanian rapper at the forefront of the Arabic rap and trap scene, was drawn to rap as a teenager. He started making his own tracks at the age of 17, and soon after he began dedicating himself fully to building a career in music. While exploring keystone issues like migration and social inequality, over the past years he also collaborated with some of the region’s hip hop heavyweights.
Shubbak, the multi-disciplinary festival showcases theatre, dance, music, visual art, film screenings, literature, talks, and workshops on hybrid platforms. This year, the events will showcase virtual activities as well as digital screenings of outdoor physical activities.
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