Libyan Revolution Through Rap


Hip-hop and rap exploded in Libya during the 2011 revolution. Under Gaddafi, local rap was banned from government radio stations and musicians were very wary of criticizing the regime. Libya’s revolutionary music marked the beginning of a new era for Libyan cultural production.  

In a similar fashion to other music from the Arab Spring, Libyan rap intends to inspire those fighting for liberation but, in the case of rap, there is usually a harder edge of anger and resistance to authority that is palpable in this subgenre.  

“Rap became an anthem for revolutionaries, it was fuel for them as they went into battle, and from it they drew strength.” + “We as rappers are not the leaders of the revolution, we are voices, and we are a reflection of the conversations and dialogue going on within our societies. We put into rhymes what our people are thinking, but are often too afraid to speak.” – Rapping against Gaddafi: how hip-hop became new Libya’s soundtrack 

“In 2011, Youssef Ramadan Said, aka MC Swat, rapped his way through the uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. When anti-regime protests erupted in his hometown of Benghazi, the rapper, who was 23 at the time, captured the moment in a track called Hadhee Thowra (This is Revolution). “It feels like we’re touching freedom,” he told CNN at the time.” – ‘It shows how desperate the situation has become’: the rapper who fled Libya 

Some example tracks include:  

Music Masters – “Youth of the Revolution” 

Revolution Beat – “17 February” 

Big Well and Nazi – “Rebel Anthem” 

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