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Palestinian Rappers Spark Debate With New Album

Janne Louise Andersen talks to the band about the controversy over a song about honor crimes, their new sound and a decade of "hip hop Arabi.”

From Haifa to Ramallah, New York to San Francisco, the three Palestinian rappers from DAM have been busy promoting their new album Dabke on the Moon. But this time, more than a decade after first mesmerizing young Palestinians with political rhymes against Israeli oppression, the musicians have sparked criticism from an unlikely group — liberal Palestinian academics.

Their fans have been waiting six years for the release of their new album, which is full of danceable messages from the three wise men of Arabic hip hop. But the emcees have directed some of their new lyrical criticism to oppression in Palestinian society. The song “If I Could Go Back in Time” condemns forced marriages and killing of girls, causing some to say DAM (which means blood in Arabic and doubles as an acronym for Da Arabian MCs) has been seduced by “honor crime.

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